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Mines Innovation Challenge

Grand Prize Winners


Michelle Pedrezas, Arjumand Alvi, Micaela Pedrezas, Daniela Machnik

Airband is a wearable air-quality monitor that utilizes special sensors to detect the levels and presence of hazardous air pollutants. The sensors record the levels of Carbon Dioxide, Sulfur Dioxide, and tentatively, Mercury Gas concentration in the air. Airband synthesizes this data and uploads it in real time through an effective GPS sensor. The team’s Environmental Information System (EIS) will display air quality levels at a given location over the course of an Airband’s recorded time span. If the pollutant concentration reaches a concerning threshold for the wearer, Airband will alert the user of the threat to health. Airband’s mobility and real-time data collection focus sets it apart from other immobile air quality measurement devices. The applications of Airband are limitless – ranging from remote rural landscapes to mineral extraction sites to sprawling urban cityscapes.

Most Innovative


Luke Brown, Zachary Doom, John Kater, Kenneth Graff

Our team project deals with a problem faced by mining companies in the exploration phase. When drilling for core samples, Newmont is often unable to know the exact geographical coordinates where a sample came from due to small uncertainties in pipe location compounding over two thousand feet of depth, resulting in much larger errors. Our team's proposition is to fix this problem using a program that operates similar to GPS, but unlike the satellite-based positioning system, functions underground by using Ultra-Low Frequency (ULF) electromagnetic transmissions that can travel through rock. These ULF transmissions broadcast between 300-3000 Hertz, and by reading timestamps off of a grid of ground-based ULF sensors, we could effectively triangulate the position of the drill head to give a much more accurate description of its position in 3D space.

Most Market Ready


Zachary Brand, John Meyer, Robert Jones, Michael Bowman

Mentor: John Steele, Elizabeth Holley

Project description pending..

Other Round 1 Winners


Michael Burkhardt, Ryan Simms, Adam Chapman, Christopher Overley

Our group is working on a project involving insulation in deep mines. In deep mines, heat becomes a problem. This is often solved using air conditioning. Our idea is to develop a product that can cover the walls of a mine to reduce the heat transferred into the air. This will allow mines to dig deeper at lower operating costs.

Miner Monitor

Clay Kramp, Ben Jasinski, Curtiss Spivey, Travis Nordstrom, Jesse Baxter

Our project, the Miner Monitor, is a wrist mounted bracelet designed specifically for improving safety protocols in cases of emergency inside of a mine. Looking to improve upon technology already being used in mines, our project aims to serve two purposes. First, we aim to use a form of triangulation with the Miner Monitor in order to transmit an accurate reading of an individual's location. Second, the monitor tracks and transmits the heart rate of the wearer to a server. In the case of a disaster, the heart rate system allows for the prioritization of rescue efforts based on the vitals of the victims.


Alexander Peretiatko, Bryce Wilcox, Dylan Therry

We plan to repurpose the open pit mine in a way that revolutionizes the field. After adding frame work and re-sloping the pit, mirrors will be placed along the edge of the pit to accurately face a central solar tower. The power generated will go towards those in need in nearby vicinity, the company or other sources. Excess energy could be used to pump pooled water out of the pit allowing the water to fall back into the pit. Hydroelectric generators would use this water circulation to create electricity at night. Filtration of the acidic water is a possibility.


Vinay Duddempudi, Sam Lolon, Ben Goertz

As a step to achieving Zero Harm in the mining industry, research into remote operated and autonomously controlled equipment is key. After looking at the breadth of new technology that has become available in the public sector, our team conceived the idea of designing and prototyping a drone mounted air monitoring system that could replace the traditional ventilation measurement techniques used in underground and surface mines today. In designing this prototype, our team will work to create a product that incorporates the essential air quality and quantity measurement devices in a compact package that provides accurate and convenient real-time, loggable data collection. Our goal is to develop a system that will integrate into the Mine of the Future as seamlessly as possible while being viable to go to market with today's standards and practices.

Balrog Innovations

Marc Valdez, Jenna Lucas, Jordy Lee, John Oldland, Jacob Maes

Mentor: Masami Nakagawa

The primary objectives of the Cascaded Geothermal Power Plant are to:

  • Couple electricity directly to mine from an associated geothermal water source
  • Utilize residual heat of cooled brine for heating of on-site buildings
  • Further utilization of cooled brine for community use

Remedy Tech

Kayla White, Shao Liu, Rannen Worsley, Jayce Stricherz, Jake Engman

The primary objectives of the Aquatic Data Acquisition (ADA) project are to:

  • Collect, analyze, and store water quality data
    • Alkalinity, temperature, pH, hardness, dissolved oxygen levels
  • Construct an autonomous underwater vehicle
  • Develop sensory systems
  • Track GPS location of the vehicle

Mine Disaster Prevention System

Cody William, Ross Philipp, Makkawi Makkawi [photo to be provided]

The Mine Disaster Prevention System is designed to make mines safer and more equipped to predict and prevent disasters from occurring. The system has three main components to it: Seismic sensors, air toxicity/oxygen level sensors and a data hub. The seismic sensors will be strategically drilled into the mine’s walls at x depth, depending on the location of the site and needs of the consumer. They will have varying sensitivities to detect minute seismic activity generated from the mine as well as to detect much larger seismic activity, such as the shifting of rock mass. The air sensors will read oxygen and air toxicity levels, and will also be placed at incremental distances all over the mine. Both systems will be connected to a data base with fixed wired connections to provide real time data of all sensor activities. If in the instance there is a toxic section of the mine or unnatural seismic movement, the alarm system (which is mine wide) will sound, alerting all the personnel of the danger occurring and the recommended response procedure.

Newmont Mines Innovation Challenge

The Mines Innovation Challenge is a Mines student venture contest organized by Colorado School of Mines and sponsored by Newmont Mining Corporation. As part of the Challenge, university students at Mines generate ideas for innovative products and ventures that respond to a social, safety, environmental, exploration, development, production or closure mining issue of their choice, and compete for seed funding to launch or expand their ventures.

All degree-seeking university students at Colorado School of Mines, graduate and undergraduate, are encouraged to participate in the Mines Innovation Challenge. In order to enter, students create a profile and submit their project for Round 1 Judging during the January 23, 2016 Innovation Weekend.

Challenge Sponsor - Newmont Mining

Newmont is one of the world’s leading gold producers, and an industry leader in safety and sustainability. The Company was founded in 1921 and has been publicly traded since 1925. Headquartered in Colorado, Newmont has approximately 28,000 employees and contractors, the majority of whom work at operations in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Peru, Indonesia and Ghana.