The Mining Innovation and Research Battlefield Judges, 2024
The Mining Innovation and Research Battlefield Judges, 2024
News > The Mining Innovation and Research Battlefield Judges, 2024
The Mining Innovation and Research Battlefield Judges, 2024
| T 8 minutes to read

The Development Partner Institute (DPI) is excited to officially announce the judges for Round Two of the 2024 Mining Innovation and Research Battlefield (MIRB). DPI convenes MIRB with Mining Indaba, hosted in Cape Town, South Africa. 

The vision for the Mining Innovation and Research Battlefield is to:

- unearth potential solutions to an intractable issue in mining
- create opportunities for young researchers to connect meaningfully with industry and NGOs
- boost a worthy project to the next level with generous funding.

DPI has attracted an impressive group of finalists, with just five going through to Round Two of the Battlefield for their chance to win a USD$25,000 research grant sponsored by BHP Xplor. Finalists will address the 2024 challenge: 

What are the innovative responsible collaborations between LSM & ASM, and how can these be applied to the just energy transition?

2024 Battlefield Background

The 2024 Battlefield challenge was created with an understanding that the global mining landscape is at a pivotal juncture, grappling with the dual imperatives of meeting the surging demand for critical minerals for renewable energy technologies while ensuring environmental and social sustainability. Amidst this dynamic, the role of artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) has come under scrutiny, often perceived as a peripheral activity compared to large-scale mining (LSM). However, ASM plays an integral role in the mining ecosystem, employing a staggering 90% of the global mining workforce.

Despite its informal nature and limited mechanisation, ASM cannot be overlooked. It is a cornerstone of livelihoods for millions, particularly in developing nations. ASM contributes significantly to the global supply of critical minerals, particularly cobalt, which accounts for 20-30% of global production.

In contrast, LSM is characterised by its industrial-scale operations, extensive geological data, access to capital, and adherence to legal and regulatory frameworks. While LSM offers efficiencies and technological advancements, it has also faced criticism for its environmental impact and potential social disruptions.

To achieve a sustainable and equitable energy transition, ASM and LSM must forge a collaborative path. DPI advocates for a symmetrical relationship between these two sectors, fostering dialogue and innovation across the mining value chain. This collaboration is crucial for several reasons:

- harnessing ASM's community integration
- addressing ASM's informal nature
- leveraging LSM's expertise and resources
- responding to ESG imperatives
- ensuring a just energy transition.

The journey towards a sustainable mining future necessitates a paradigm shift beyond solely extractive models. It demands a collaborative approach that harnesses the strengths of both ASM and LSM, recognising their unique contributions to the mining ecosystem. 

Amid global political tensions, mining supply chain complexities, and rising stakeholder expectations for ESG action, while addressing the energy transition, the 2024 Battlefield brings artisanal mining into the spotlight at Mining Indaba.

The 2024 Battlefield

MIRB is a platform for collaboration between the mining industry, academia, business, NGOs and young people who have a vested interest in sustainable mining for development solutions. It is the place for research innovation to be piloted at speed to build new and workable solutions to some of the industry's toughest sustainable development challenges. 

The Battlefield is judged over two rounds. Round One is hosted virtually with the top ten submissions given the opportunity to present their innovative ideas to a panel of judges. Our Round One judges have selected five finalists who will present their ideas live at Mining Indaba. The MIRB winners will win a USD$25,000 research grant sponsored by BHP Xplor, to help them advance their concept over the next twelve months. They will then present their findings at the 2025 Mining Indaba. 

Bringing together a judging panel of experts in their fields is key to a successful event. With a breadth of experience, entrepreneurship and exposure to the global mining industry over many years, the panel selected is well-qualified to identify viable, innovative solutions that can drive positive impact at speed. 

We have been privileged to have leading voices in the industry join our two judging panels. 

Round One Judging Panel


Battlefield Master of Ceremonies

Former CEO, De Beers

Non-Executive Director, DPI



Co-Founder and Non-Executive Director, DPI

Chairman, Vale Base Metals



Senior Advisor, Anglo American



Director of Sustainable Markets, Pact



Chief Executive Officer, Commodity Monitor



ASM Specialist, School of Mining Engineering, University of the Witwatersrand


Round Two Judging Panel


Head, Zambia EITI Secretariat



Founder & Director, International Women in Mining



Head of Corporate Responsibility, Trafigura



Senior Advisor, Anglo American



Director of the Mineral Resources Governance Research Group, Wits University



Head of Portfolio & Performance, BHP Xplor


It’s not too late to join us at Mining Indaba! 

Don’t miss the opportunity to attend this world-renowned event from February 5-8, 2024. At past events Mining Indaba was attended by 8100+ delegates, 900+ investors, 1200+ executives from major, mid-tier, and junior mining companies, and over 80+ senior government officials. This year, delegates will have the opportunity to hear from 385 speakers, to network with industry leaders from around the world, and, of course, hear our finalists pitch their innovation and research ideas in the final round of the Mining Innovation and Research Battlefield. 

Round 2 Finals of the Battlefield will be held on Tuesday February 6 at 9am, at the Rooftop Terrace of the CTICC in Cape Town.

To secure your place at Mining Indaba, head to