Please note that the details of this Challenge are no longer open. This challenge is awarded and is no longer accepting new submissions. You can:
Challenge Metal Removal from Mine Drainage Water
Metal Removal from Mine Drainage Water
STATUS: Awarded
Active Solvers: 343
Posted: Feb 06 2014
Challenge ID: 9933520
Team Project Rooms are available on this Challenge. Team Share Challenge Share

We are seeking new or improved treatment methods to significantly reduce overall costs of removing metals from water draining from active and abandoned mines. Current lime treatment methods are expensive, produce large amounts of sludge and can take up lots of space. Any improvements to current lime systems or other treatment methods that will produce similar results are welcome. 

This is an Ideation Challenge with a guaranteed award for at least one submitted solution.



Mine drainages often contain high concentrations of metals and acid. Neutralization and subsequent precipitation and sludge removal is the most common treatment method utilized to meet acceptable Clean Water Act Standards.  Variations of this treatment method are expensive to operate, utilize a lot of space, and often generate a large waste stream with high disposal costs. The mines of interest are at high altitudes with harsh conditions which complicate the problem. Our ideal solution will remove the metals, neutralize the acid and remove any waste at considerably lower cost than today‚Äôs acceptable methods. 

About the Seeker:

The mission of the Animas River Stakeholders Group (ARSG) is to improve water quality and habitats in the Animas River through a collaborative process designed to encourage participation from all interested parties. Participants include mining companies, environmental organizations, land owners, local governmental entities, and state and federal regulatory and land management agencies. This innovative process holds open meetings allowing all parties to participate at a level suited to their interest and need. 

This area has many abandoned draining mines, usually acid mine drainage, from sulfide ore deposits.  Most mine sites are above 3030 meters (10,000 feet) elevation in mountains with severe weather conditions.  However, if the solution is designed to work under these conditions, it should be applicable to thousands of other draining mines in less severe conditions.  Abandoned mine drainage treatment is a worldwide problem.  In the US there are tens of thousands of draining abandoned mines.  Since these sites generally have no viable responsible party and no existing profitable operation in which to offset costs, it is very desirable to find more cost effective methods of treatment.  Ultimately this will lead to improved water quality conditions in receiving water bodies as well as cost savings for the public who generally pays for abandoned mine treatment. 

This is an Ideation Challenge, which has the following unique features:

  • There is a guaranteed award.  The awards will be paid to the best submission(s) as solely determined by the Seeker. The total payout will be $12,000, with at least one award being no smaller than $5,000 and no award being smaller than $2,000. 
  • The Solvers are not required to transfer exclusive intellectual property rights to the Seeker.  Rather, by submitting a proposal, the Solvers grants to the Seeker a royalty-free, perpetual, and non-exclusive license to use any information included in this proposal.

After the Challenge deadline, the Seeker will complete the review process and make a decision with regards to the Winning Solution(s). All Solvers that submitted a proposal will be notified on the status of their submissions; however, no detailed evaluation of individual submissions will be provided.

What is InnoCentive?
InnoCentive is the global innovation marketplace where creative minds solve some of the world's most important problems for cash awards up to $1 million. Commercial, governmental and humanitarian organizations engage with InnoCentive to solve problems that can impact humankind in areas ranging from the environment to medical advancements.

What is an InnoCentive Ideation™ Challenge?

An InnoCentive Ideation™ Challenge is a broad question formulated to obtain access to new ideas, similar to a global brainstorm for producing a breakthrough idea or market survey which may include ideas for a new product line, a new commercial application for a current product, or even a viral marketing idea to recruit new customers. Ideation™ Challenge submissions are typically about two written pages, and Seekers receive a non-exclusive, perpetual license to use all submissions.

In an Ideation™ Challenge, Solvers may:

  • Submit ideas of their own
  • Submit third party information that they have the right to use and further the authority to convey that right and the right to use and develop derivative works to Seekers
  • Submit information considered in the public domain without any limitations on use

Solvers should not reveal any confidential information in their submissions. Often the Ideation™ Challenge will be followed by one or more of the other three Challenge types to further develop the ideas and gain Intellectual Property protection when the concept has been well-defined.

Share This Challenge
InnoCentive Trust Partners