The Artisanal Mining Grand Challenge: the Amazon is a global call for solutions awarding more than $1 million in prizes and support for innovations to make artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) in the Amazon more environmentally responsible and socially equitable.
Conservation X Labs (CXL) is administering the Challenge, with funding from the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Microsoft, and ESRI, and technical input from the Center for Amazonian Scientific Innovation (CINCIA) and strategic implementation from the USAID/Peru Prevent project – Combating Environmental Crimes (Prevent).
We are seeking innovations at the prototype or piloting stage that:
- Safeguard ecosystems and prevent, remediate, and restore impacts from ASGM at mining sites on biodiversity, water resources, and human health;
- Optimize responsible supply chains to increase transparency and traceability and enable gold purchasing that is environmentally responsible and socially equitable from the point of origin to its final sale;
- Promote and sustain formalization of miners in the ASGM sector to achieve environmental and social safeguards and regulatory compliance.
The goal of the Challenge is to provide promising innovators with funding and support to help innovations achieve environmental and social impact, become financially sustainable, and scale. Participating in this Challenge offers a number of benefits beyond just funding and monetary prizes, including access to a network of experts and leaders in the space; the opportunity to meet and learn from peers working on cutting-edge products and tools; mentorship on business and product development; opportunities to conduct field-testing and receive feedback from users and customers; and recognition and validation from our world-class evaluation panel.
The USD $1,150,000 prize purse will be distributed accordingly:
- $600,000 made in grants to Challenge finalists to support field-testing and innovation development (including the financing of equipment, travel, and labor) in March 2022. Grants will be a minimum of $30,000 and Challenge administrators anticipate making approximately 10 to 20 awards contingent on applicant’s eligibility and compliance with USAID and CXL and the Prevent projects’ rules, regulations, and policies;
- $350,000 provided in technical assistance and in-kind services through the acceleration program (March thru August 2022); and
- $200,000 in the form of two $100,000 no-strings attached prizes to the highest performing finalists at the end of the acceleration program in October 2022.
Challenge administrators have allocated 50% of the grants for Challenge finalists for applicants from partner countries in the USAID Amazon Regional Environment Program (Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname) though field-testing may only occur in Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, and/or Suriname.