KPMG KIC winner proposes new way to improve mineral extraction

A team from the Indian Institute of Technology (Indian School of Mines) has been crowned champions of KPMG’s KPMG Ideation Challenge (KIC) 2020 for developing a solution that brings disruptive innovation to the mining industry.

The solution, KPMG says, could help enable safer and more sustainable extraction of minerals and metals.

The 17th annual KIC took place on August 24-25, 2020, with the hackathon-style competition taking place virtually for the first time. It gathered both science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and business students to help solve real-world business issues with artificial intelligence and other emerging technology-based tools and solutions.

Out of more than 8,000 applicants across 19 countries, 17 student teams were chosen from 500 leading universities to advance to the final phase of the event. The top three finalist teams were the Indian Institute of Technology (Indian School of Mines) from Dhanbad, India, Zhejiang University in China, and University of Florida in the US.

Team NAVACHARITAM (Technology Replaces Repetitiveness) from the Indian Institute of Technology was announced as the KIC winner.

The team’s solution, which used a custom algorithm, sensor imaging and drone technology, is designed to more precisely pinpoint the exact location of minerals to be extracted, resulting in considerable reductions of air pollution, time and cost, as well as improvements to worker safety. The winning team members (pictured above) are: Sanchit Kumar, Varnika Kumari, Parth Hetamsaria and Srajan Gupta. The team is currently in the process of patenting their solution.

Phil Thornley, Partner with KPMG Australia and a Lead Practitioner with KPMG’s Global Lighthouse Center of Excellence for Data, AI and Emerging Technologies, said: “The panel of judges selected the student team from the Indian Institute of Technology because they addressed a problem with global relevance – safety and sustainability in the mining industry – and developed a solution that was commercially and technically viable. This technology shows great promise; it has the potential to offer significant safety, environmental and cost benefits.”

The winning team will receive $50,000 in seed funding to bring their idea to market with coaching and guidance from KPMG professionals. All participating teams retain intellectual property rights for their ideas and solutions, according to KPMG.