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Meet the four winners of $300,000 who seek to reduce the impacts of artisanal and small-scale gold mining
December 28, 2022

The deputy director of USAID in Peru, Elizabeth Bosman, awarded the four winners of “The Great Challenge of Artisanal Mining: The Amazon”, who received a $300,000 fund to finish to implement their innovations that will help transform artisanal and small-scale gold mining (MAPE for its acronyms in English) into an environmentally responsible and socially equitable practice.

This global competition supported 12 finalists from different parts of the world to refine their ideas, projects and turn them into reality. Each one received $50,000 which allowed them to develop and test their innovations in various countries in the Amazon region such as Peru, Ecuador and Colombia and, for the past six months, they have worked alongside organizations and various local communities to demonstrate their potential in the field. Their proposals range from microorganisms that capture pollutants produced by mining operations, jewelry made of ‘clean’ gold, an approach that promotes the spread of bamboo to recover degraded areas, mobile monitoring applications, others that allow knowing the origin of gold and calculate the economic value of the impacts of mining activities, among others.

The four winners are as follows and the $300,000 fund will be awarded as follows:

1. “DRAM Technology,” by SEM Energy, $100,000 winner. It is a patented filtration system designed to remove contaminants such as heavy metals, organic, inorganic, and biological compounds from various types of wastewaters.

2. “Porous Polymer Adsorbents,” by ChemFinity Technologies $100,000 winner. It is a chemically selective membrane material to replace mercury in the gold extraction process and decontaminate tailings from artisanal gold mining.

3. “Copper Plates” by Pure Earth, $50,000 winner. It is a technique that uses silver-coated copper plates to decontaminate gold-bearing MAPE (for its acronyms in Spanish) tailings.

4. “MAPE Progress App”, from the Alliance for Responsible Mining, winner of $50,000. It is a digital tool to automate the collection, analysis and measurement of compliance and risk management indicators and good practices of MAPE using international standards such as CRAFT and Fairmined.

The deputy director of USAID in Peru, Elizabeth Bosman, indicated that “the Amazon is not only the lungs of the world but the heart of the planet. Its conservation is critical to curb climate change. The United States government, together with allies in the region, work for the well-being of the populations that depend on the Amazon ecosystem. Artisanal mining is an activity that generates economic benefits, but at the same time, it generates environmental and social conflicts. With Conservation X Labs, Microsoft and Esri we identify innovative solutions that prevent and mitigate the negative impacts of artisanal mining. The innovators found sustainable solutions”.

“The Grand Artisanal Mining Challenge: The Amazon” was made possible thanks to a joint effort between the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Microsoft, Esri, and Conservation X Labs. It was launched in 2021 and its objective was to find solutions to safeguard ecosystems, protect human health, optimize responsible supply chains, and promote the formalization of miners to achieve social and environmental safeguards.

For more information visit: www.retomineriaartesanal.com