Nexa Resources, one of the five largest zinc mining companies in the world and part of Brazilian conglomerate Votorantim S.A., is expanding its operations in entrepreneurship and innovation through an international partnership with the Israeli company IBI-Tech.
Coupled with a model to foster open innovation, the partnership will allow the exchange of Israeli technologies, solutions, products and services capable of responding to the main challenges of Nexa’s operations in Brazil and Peru. Furthermore, it will connect Israeli startups and entrepreneurs to the mining industry in these two countries.
According to Tito Martins, CEO of Nexa Resources, the idea is to further develop Nexa’s global innovation network, with the opportunity to access the renowned Israeli innovation ecosystem. “Israel is a benchmark in innovation and has built one of the most important hubs in the world by investing in technology and generating new businesses. With this partnership, we will identify solutions that help us building the mining of the future, based on ESG aspects,” he says.
Another positive factor regarding the partnership is that Nexa’s open innovation platform, Mining Lab, is now more visible. Since 2016, the platform aims to foster the development of new technologies for the challenges of the mining industry, in conjunction with startups from several other industries. In these six years, over 1,400 entrepreneurs enrolled, with 47 selected projects and 26 contracts signed with entrepreneurs interested in accelerating and implementing their projects.
The platform currently continues developing and testing several projects. A good example is that of the Brazilian company ZEG, from the Capitale group, engaged in renewable energy. ZEG has created an innovative and patented solution that transforms solid waste into steam. This initiative seeks to reduce the use of fossil fuels through a technology that has replaced up to 65% of the volume of natural gas used in Nexa’s zinc smelter plant in Juiz de Fora (MG).
The partnership with Meantrix, another Brazilian startup, stood out for developing the use of software artificial intelligence, capable of evaluating large databases to improve and further support the company’s decision-making processes.
Another fully implemented initiative in Nexa’s underground operations is the Canadian RockMass project, which has developed hardware with a system for surveying and processing more reliable geotechnical data on the inclination and orientation of pre-existing faults in rocks.
Besides solutions aimed at business challenges, Nexa used the Mining Lab platform in 2020 to carry out the Covid-19 Challenge, with the purpose of bringing technologies that could support medical teams in the challenges of hospital management during the pandemic. The Brazilian startup 3Wings was one of those selected entities with the ‘ICU Control’ initiative, which assists hospitals in the management and monitoring of beds.
Get to know the programs of the Mining Lab platform:
- Mining Lab Challenge – It is the main initiative of the Mining Lab platform and aims to seek solutions related to strategic topics for Nexa, such as zinc and copper production, waste and effluent management and disposal, efficiency, productivity, building positive legacies, among others. Most of them are proposals worked on in the long term and that can generate new partnerships and business models. Since 2017, over 900 solutions have been registered, 39 of which have been selected and monitored by the program.
- Miningthon – It is a fast development program related to digital transformation challenges. Since its creation in 2019, there have been over 90 registrations, and among the topics already worked on is the automatic issuance of transport documents, well-being management, digitization of checklists and inclusive technologies for people with disabilities.
- Mining Lab Beginnings – The program seeks technological solutions directly from the academic world, with the purpose of working on Nexa’s challenges that will develop new business models, in the most different areas of the company.
- Mining Lab University – Created in 2019, over 250 students have already participated in the initiative that aims to seek new and simple solutions to everyday mining challenges. Furthermore, it is an opportunity for the company to map young talents and foster a culture of innovation within the academic sector. In previous editions, the challenges were focused on increasing Digging production, crushing optimization and mining of the future.
- Insights Channel – It is the ongoing program that connects all innovative solutions to Nexa. In this program, interested parties can submit their proposals, projects and innovative solutions throughout the year, whether related to Nexa’s core business or the mining industry.
Nexa Resources is one of the world’s largest producers of zinc, and also produces copper and lead. It has over 60 years of experience in the mining and metallurgy segments, with operations located in Brazil and Peru and offices in Luxembourg and the United States, supplying its products to every continent on the planet. Its employees work every day focused on building the future of mining, to be increasingly sustainable and innovative, with the best safety practices and respect for people and the environment. Since 2017, its shares of stock have been traded on the New York and Toronto Stock Exchanges, and its majority shareholder is Votorantim S.A. For more information, visit: http://www.nexaresources.com