Innovation Challenges & Hackathons




This year’s Newmont Innovation challenge is taking an exciting new turn! Highlights include:

– Join a novel new Design Studio operating like a company
– Get support for your Senior Design project, provided by Newmont Mining
– Access to business training
– Compete for prizes and commercialization opportunities
– Earn Senior Design Credit for EE, ME, CE, EnvE, and others!





The Newmont Mining Innovation Studio (NMIS) will be a new model for senior design, meant to run more like a professional design firm.  Newmont Mining Corp. is the sponsor of the Studio and will provide input on the areas of focus, participating students, and projects accepted into the studio.  Some of the key features that we are developing in the NMIS model are:

The top 30 junior-level students eligible to take their senior design course the following year will be selected to the finals of the Newmont Innovation Challenge each Spring. They immediately participate in a 5 week course in Lean Canvas Business planning (EBGN498C, see below) and join the Studio in the next fall semester for a 2 semester long capstone project (6 credits, meets ABET requirements).  Typical students are enrolled in Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Civil Engineering, and Environmental Engineering, and students from other departments (e.g., Mining Engineering, Geological Engineering, Geophysics, Petroleum Engineering, Chemical Engineering, or Chemistry), may participate with approval of the relevant department’s Department Head.

Teams are flexible, with students moving on and off projects as needed.  This provides real-world experience.  Each student serves as Project Lead on at least one project.  This provides the opportunity for students to get experience in all roles on a team.  Project teams have a combination of 1st and 2nd semester students.  This is an effective solution to the problem of an entire class graduating at the same time, and taking all of the project knowledge with them. Students develop an entrepreneurial mindset and spend much more time understanding the problem addressed.  At the end of next year, all participating teams will be eligible for participation in the Newmont Studio Innovation Competition, which will take place in the Capstone Design Showcase.  Stay tuned for further announcements!



New for 2019, the Newmont Innovation Challenge is a non-traditional collegiate innovation competition designed to bring together problem-solving minds from a variety of backgrounds (from engineering and hard sciences to economics, business, and policy) to address pressing needs within the mineral resources eco system. No mining or oil and gas expertise or knowledge is required. The competition will kick off with a half-day Entrepreneurship and Innovation Event (Newmont Challenge).  In this introduction, you will learn about the mineral resources and several areas that are opportunities for innovation.  You will have the chance to brainstorm innovation ideas, discuss them with sponsors and mentors, formulate and iterate low-resolution prototypes.  Roughly one week later, interested teams will submit a 1-page executive summary to enter the competition.  A final competition will be held at the end of the semester to pick finalist teams (see below).  Teams selected will take a short course on Lean Canvas Business Plan Development as part of their Capstone experience (EBGN 498D, see below).

A final Proof of Concept Day will be held at the end of the semester and teams will have the opportunity to show their prototypes and pitch their well-developed ideas for consideration for up to $30,000 worth of prizes and funding.  Winners will receive prizes and the teams with the best ideas will each have the opportunity to continue to work on their ideas in the Newmont Mining Innovation Studio the following semester with $5,000 in financial support.  Newmont Mining Corp. is the Sponsor for this event, while the Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Colorado School of Mines is hosting and running the Competition. Student teams will have the opportunity to learn about the unique challenges testing your engineering skills in seven areas of focus, engage with mentors with deep industry experience, and pitch your ideas in a tournament format for a shot at cash and prizes.



Sustainability & External RelationsNewmont is committed to avoid, minimize, mitigate, and/or remediate our impacts on the environment and proactively manage risks. We use fact- and science-based methodologies and leading best practices to demonstrate our environmental stewardship. Our guiding principles commit us to:

  1. Operate our facilities at all times in compliance with applicable laws and regulations and Newmont Standards.
  2. Adhere to and update environmental standards that are protective of both human health and the environment at the facilities we build and operate.
  3. Develop closure and reclamation plans during the design phase, and implement those plans during operations to provide for long-term environmental stability and suitable post-mining beneficial land uses.

Beyond the Mine, Newmont’s Social and Environmental Performance Report ( ), outlines our approach to sustainability, performance for 2017 and future focus areas.  Our purpose is to create value and improve lives through sustainable and responsible mining.

Some challenge areas that we are currently focusing on for improvement include:

  • Tailings Aspirational Goal (with ICMM) involves three objectives
  • Investigate and identify alternative methods of mineral recovery. Supports a long-term (>15 years) aspiration to significantly reduce and/or eliminate the generation of tailings waste.
  • Promote development of technologies to remove moisture from tailings and strengthen tailings. Supports a medium term (10 – 15 years) aspiration to eliminate the need for most new wet tailings dams by removing moisture prior to disposal.
  • Strengthen critical controls for the design, operation and closure of tailings storage facilities. Supports a short-term (<10 years) goal to significantly improve management of tailings storage facilities and enhance implementation of the position statement.
  • Acid Rock Drainage – Evaluating methods to reduce source loading (coating and cover systems), minimize impact (management techniques) and treatment.
  • Water Quality Improving Concentrations of Dissolved metals in water ways – Identifying methods to precipitate or flocculate dissolved metals.
  • External/Social – The perceived and actual environmental impacts of both legal and illegal mining have led many regulatory environments to consider bans on cyanide. This challenge would be to identify alternative reagents to cyanide and/or mercury that could be used to limit environmental impact and maintain gold recovery.
  • Roaster sulfur system – replace natural gas/propane fuel with a liquid sulfur system on refractory ore roaster. Sulfur may be elemental or sulfur compound. Roaster has a sulfuric acid plant on back end to remove SO2.
  • Develop large scale storage system capable of storing daily solar power produced from a 100 MW solar plant in Nevada.
  • Develop/conduct testing plan to burn 100 tons per day of biochar (heat content = 22.5 MMBtu/ton) in a coal plant that burns 2000 tons per day of Powder River Basin coal (heat content = 17.8 MMBtu/ton) to ensure that the biochar does not plug up the boiler.
  • Leach Pad Closure – heap leach processing places ore onto a lined facility, and applies chemicals via drip systems to the ore, resulting in the minerals being leached from the rock by the fluids. When a mining operation goes into final reclamation, one of the activities is to remove the residual chemicals from the leach pad.  Find possible ways to effectively remove these chemicals in a cost effective and timely fashion to allow for final closure.


Health Safety & Wellness – Effectively managing the safety risks inherent in our business is essential to protecting our workforce and the communities in which we operate. We are focused on identifying, understanding and controlling the risks associated with hazards in the workplace because we believe that everyone has the right to return home safe at the end of the day.

From exploration through closure, there are health risks associated with exposures to chemicals, dust and noise; repetitive, forceful or vibrating motion; and infectious diseases. Fatigue, stress, obesity and depression are also health risks all employers face. With the right to life and right to healthy working conditions among our highest human rights risk areas, we work to effectively assess and manage our health risks and promote and support the wellbeing of the people who work at and live near our operations.

Additional areas of focus include:

  • Removing people from harm’s way – currently some activities require operations in areas of potential risk, so how can we redesign the work to minimize exposure to harm. Examples of this include; drill & blast operations along the toe of highwalls, operators getting out of running equipment and eliminating other work around live equipment.
  • How do we make the work environment more comfortable and safe? Typically miners work 12 hour shifts often in conditions that can include high temperatures, or dusty conditions.  What can be done to reduce fatigue and improve the working conditions for our most valuable resources?


With more than 95 years of history in the mining industry, Newmont is one of the world’s largest gold producers. Through responsible mining, we believe we can create a stronger business and value for all our stakeholders.