• “The Artisanal Mining Grand Challenge: The Amazon” seeks solutions to transform artisanal and small-scale gold mining into a more environmentally responsible and socially equitable practice.

  • In total, 121 applications from 22 countries around the world were submitted, with more than 50% from countries in the Amazon region.
  • The selected projects were from Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia.

Peru –  13 finalist solutions were selected to advance “The Artisanal Mining Grand Challenge: The Amazon,” a global call for solutions to transform artisanal and small-scale gold mining into a more environmentally friendly practice responsible and socially equitable, and ASM Progress App was chosen as a finalist from Colombia with its initiative based on the creation of a technological platform for artisanal miners, which initially allows knowing the legitimacy of the groups of miners, as well as the conditions in which they work, relevant aspects in environmental conditions and compliance with due diligence criteria from the OECD.

“ASM ProgresApp is a bid to sustain a formal value chain in artisanal and small-scale mining in different parts of the world. It has a global and formal aspiration for artisanal miners and gold buyers to interact in a flexible way and in real time,” said Victor Hugo Pachas, Peru – Bolivia Manager of the Alliance for Responsible Mining.

This solution was rated by panels of evaluators with backgrounds in mining, conservation science, and entrepreneurship, and was selected based on criteria including value proposition, sustainability, impact, and feasibility.


Peruvian scientist Marino Morikawa, a specialist in sciences of natural resources, industries, water treatment, decontamination, and environmental recovery, joined this group of experts to officially announce the 13 finalists of the Challenge, developing promising innovations that include tools for cleaner mining, restoration and remediation innovations, monitoring and actionable data tools, and supply chain solutions.

About ASM Progress App

This is a development in partnership with BetterChain and inspired by the need to find solutions to the problems identified in the artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) sector for miners to access formal markets.

The solution seeks to carry out the application of this tool by marketers to ensure the information of the miners who supply the mineral, generating positive impacts on the commercialization of gold, and other benefits such as the application or compliance with due diligence criteria in terms of environmental requirements, as well as the criteria of the “Forest Smart Mining” standard, which aims to demonstrate that artisanal mining can be carried out in forests without violating environmental conditions. 

The ASM Progress App and the use of the platform seek fair access to the market, greater opportunities for miners, connection with actors with the possibility of financing improvements in their operations, and equal conditions for miners, among others.

There were 121 applicants from 122 países around the world, with more than 50% from nations of the Amazon region.

“The goal was to find effective solutions for artisanal and small-scale mining in the Amazon – home to the largest tropical forest in the world, with some of the greatest biodiversity on the planet, and where many indigenous communities live,” noted Alex Dehgan, CEO and Co-Founder of Conservation X Labs.

“We are excited to support innovators, researchers, and entrepreneurs in developing and implementing their innovations and technology for conservation.”

Finalists will receive seed funding to field test and develop their innovations alongside local partners and organizations working in the Amazon region through the Amazon CoLab, a 6-month acceleration program. The Challenge administrators will announce the winners and award additional cash prizes to the highest performing solutions in late 2022.

To learn more about the Challenge and Challenge finalists, here

About the Artisanal Mining Grand Challenge: The Amazon

The first round of the Artisanal Mining Grand Challenge took place between 2019 and 2020, and awarded solutions that could be applied to any metal or mineral, anywhere in the world. Prize winners received a total of $750,000 USD in funding, and six teams were selected to develop and test their innovations with partners in the Amazon region through the Amazon CoLab.

Open to a global community of innovators, “The Artisanal Mining Grand Challenge: The Amazon” launched in 2021 and solicited solutions to safeguard ecosystems, protect human health, optimize responsible supply chains, and promote the formalization of miners to achieve social and environmental safeguards. “The Artisanal Mining Grand Challenge: The Amazon” is implemented by Conservation X Labs in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Microsoft, and Esri. 

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