Tech startup platform for mining industry
Prospect Mining Studio supports mine technology pioneers Metal Tech News Weekly Edition – April 29, 2020
Last updated 6/27/2020 at 5:54am
Newlab LLC, in collaboration with the Vimson Group, presented their Transformative Technology Applied to Mining event during an April 28 webinar showcasing Prospect Mining Studio.
This partnership represents a cohort of startup companies that leverages the power of frontier technology to help the mining industry become safer and more sustainable through innovations across multiple fields of study.
Founded in 2006, Newlab serves as a hardware-focused shared workspace, research lab, and hatchery for socially-oriented tech manufacturing with an impetus of providing space and services to new enterprises.
Vimson Group, an India-based conglomerate, has successful ventures grounded in mining, trading, finance and several other industries.
Prospect Mining Studio has been designed as a platform to support startup companies of all stages, from forward-thinking innovators to prominent researchers, as they build, pilot and scale frontier technologies that will advance the mining industry.
With a focus on sustainable and socially responsible solutions, these innovations range from chemical processing and waste remediation, predictive analytics, robotics, and automation.
Seeking to be a catalyst for change in the mining sector, the studio was formed to bring together startups, entrepreneurs, mining industry experts, venture partners and leading academics across the globe to define challenges, as well as prototype and implement pilots at mining sites.
Applications for this collective have been received from across six continents with their 2020 program cycle having selected 15 innovation companies from India, Switzerland, Netherlands, Brazil, Canada and the U.S.
An hour-long webinar hosted by Newlab on April 28 aimed toward identifying some of the present issues with technology being adopted into the mining sector and the challenges startup tech companies are facing breaking into this legacy industry.
Newlab Chief Product Officer Satish Rao, along with Vivek Salgaocar, director and representative for Vimson, held a discussion on new approaches to innovation in the mining industry.
Keynote speakers included Roby Stancel, program advisor, and partner at Virtual Consulting International Ltd., as well as Lesley Warren, director at Lassonde Institute of Mining.
They were also accompanied by two members of the 2020 Prospect Mining Studio program, Nick Myers, CEO and co-founder of Phoenix Tailings, a company focused on leveraging untapped value within mining and refining waste, and Francis Bitonti, CEO and co-founder of LexSet, an artificial intelligence data technology company.
Discussion covered several topics on the issues both startups and the industry as a whole are facing. But what stood out the most was the mindset that the industry has regarding the risks in investing in possible new technologies.
During the talk, a point regarding the millions of dollars companies are willing to invest towards exploration has now become a detriment to future growth with the almost intrinsic technophobia in the mining sector.
On this topic, Warren had this to say, "Global mining initiatives need champions and early adopters and right-minded academics willing to think outside the classic mindset."
When asked about the challenges as a startup Myers of Phoenix Tailings said that he and his partner had no previous mining background but was seeking to tackle the issue of mining tailings.
He described that he was able to get in contact with a proper investor due to his personal connections and from there was able to begin his startup, however this scenario is in the vast minority.
With this initiative targeted at providing a space for technology to grow in the mining field, Prospect Mining Studio hopes to give the opportunity to those startups wishing to expand in the mining sector.
The talk ended with highlighting some of the prospective technologies being introduced through this new platform.
In addition to Phoenix Tailings and LexSet, the current Prospect Mining Studio cohorts include 13 companies that are providing unique and specialized innovations. With this group seeking sustainable solutions to mining challenges, the future of the sector looks to be on the edge of something that could be a real revolution.