The Artisanal Mining Grand Challenge

A global competition with $750,000 in prizes to create innovative solutions

Application period is open until March 1, 2020.


River of Gold documentary 24-hour screening

November 6-7, 2019

Join Conservation X Labs and the Amazon Aid Foundation for a FREE 24-hour online screening of the “River of Gold”, followed by a panel discussion with experts

Planet Labs, 2017


What is artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM)?

While defined differently across countries, ASM generally refers to mining operations with predominantly simplified forms of exploration, extraction, processing, and transportation.  These operations are often labor intensive, low-tech, receive limited investment, and require less expertise than medium and large-scale mining operations.  ASM operations can be formal or informal, legal or illegal.  

Have a brilliant solution for an environmentally and socially responsible ASM sector? Apply to the Grand Challenge!

The Artisanal Mining Grand Challenge


Prevent, Remediate, Restore

ASM on-site solutions. The Prevent, Remediate, Restore Sub-Challenge seeks breakthrough innovations that are implemented at ASM sites to prevent, remediate, or restore impacts from ASM on water, hydrology, land, biodiversity, human health, and/or ecosystems.


Reform Supply Chains

Solutions downstream from ASM sites. The Reform Supply Chains Sub-Challenge seeks innovations that significantly reduce the social and environmental costs of commodities sourced through ASM, downstream from the ASM sites.


The Global Data

Solutions on-site and downstream from ASM sites. The Global Data Sub-Challenge seeks solutions that measure the environmental and social impacts of ASM and equip people with tools to improve the environmental and social outcomes of ASM practices.

The Microsoft Artisanal Mining AI For Earth Award: $100,000

As part of the Grand Challenge, Microsoft’s AI for Earth initiative is awarding $100,000 for solutions that utilize or deploy artificial intelligence (AI), including machine learning, to address ASM in any of the Sub-Challenge categories.

Global Coalition

Upcoming Key Dates

December 9-13, 2019

AGU Meeting

The Conservation X Labs team will be hosting a Artisanal Mining Challenge town hall during the AGU fall meeting.

Moscone Center
747 Howard St
San Francisco, CA 94103

See Info

November 6-7, 2019

River of Gold documentary 24-hour screening

Join Conservation X Labs and the Amazon Aid Foundation for a FREE 24-hour online screening of the “River of Gold”, followed by a panel discussion with experts

Sign up here

March 1, 2020

Application Period Closes

Submit your application to the Grand Challenge before March 1st, 2020. We can’t wait to see your solutions!

Apply here


Innovations to Improve the ASM Sector Mean:


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Conservation X Labs is a technology and innovation company that works in the field of conservation. We spur innovative solutions to stop the extinction crisis.

The planet is in the middle of a period of extraordinary change: a sixth mass extinction, the first in Earth’s history driven by the actions of a single species — humans. Conservation is not succeeding fast enough. Extinction and habitat destruction are increasing exponentially, while our solutions increase incrementally. By focusing on drivers—not symptoms—of extinction, we can eliminate threats to species and dramatically improve the protection and health of ecosystems.

Conservation X Labs applies technology, entrepreneurship, and open innovation to source, develop, and scale critical solutions to the underlying drivers of human-induced extinction, whether in conservation or other fields.