The MinerALL challenge produced business proposals based on the use of mining waste



A business solution that proposes the use of iron ore tailings in low-cost paving applications was the winner of the MinerALL Challenge, an initiative that focuses on finding uses for Samarco’s tailings in other industrial sectors. The first edition of the program, which is led by Neo Ventures – a start-up accelerator – and Samarco, had its closing event last night at the Convention Center of the Federal University of Ouro Preto (UFOP).

Over 400 students from technical, undergraduate, master’s and doctoral courses from various universities in Belo Horizonte and from the region of Ouro Preto and Mariana – including UFMG and UFOP – had signed up for the challenge. The 84 selected applicants developed, based on the pre-acceleration of technologies, solutions focused on the use of tailings. Technical, socio-environmental and economic feasibility studies were carried out, with the support of methodology, mentoring, training and interaction activities provided by renowned professionals and professors.

“We do not just want to win the Challenge, we want to bring benefit to society,” said Vitor Hugo, a student of Industrial Chemistry at UFOP and a member of the winning team, MineraAção.

“The technology developed by our team proposes the use of sandy tailings in the cement, mortar and concrete chain, replacing natural sand. I had dreamt of  getting a master’s and PhD technology degree, but now after the challenge I realize that my profile is business-oriented”, emphasized the student of Chemical Engineering of UniBH, Athos Silva Lima, of the GMTech team, one of the finalists.

Other finalist solutions include the use of slimes in the production of red ceramics such as bricks and tiles and the use of sandy tailings as foundry sand.

Samarco CEO Rodrigo Vilela spoke about the positive effects of the initiative for mining territories. “Solutions for managing the impacts of the mining sector need to be built as a joint effort. It is with a great sense of commitment that we celebrate the first cycle of the MinerALL Challenge, which will certainly have other editions, “said Vilela.

“The teams have worked hard these past few months. We are sure that the participants of the MinerALL Challenge absorbed a lot of learning and knowledge from this project that we do not yet perceive in the daily life of academia, such as entrepreneurism and feasibility studies “, said Vinícius Roman, founder and technical director of Neo Ventures.

For the finalist teams, there will be the possibility of participation in the acceleration phase of the technologies, in addition to traineeship at Samarco for the winning team.

The program has the support of the Federal University of Ouro Preto (UFOP), Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG), National Institute of Science and Technology (INCT MIDAS) and Center for the Development of Nuclear Technology (CDTN).

Click here to watch the video about the MinerALL Challenge.