Innovation Challenges

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Improving hydration monitoring at Telfer (closed)

Newcrest Mining Limited
This challenge has closed.
Tags: Hydration, Health, Mining, IoT, Hardware, Mobile
Audience: Students, Researchers, Start-Ups, Businesses, Other
Anticipated Funding: A$10,000
Application close: May 28, 2019
Last Updated: May 28, 2019 11:23 PM
Challenge image

The Challenge

The Telfer gold-copper mines in the Great Sandy Desert in the East Pilbara region of Western Australia, are 100 per cent owned by Newcrest. Telfer is a fly-in-fly-out operation, 400 kilometres east-south-east of Port Hedland and approximately 1,300 kilometres by air or 1,900 kilometres by road north-east of the state’s capital, Perth. The workforce differs significantly during normal operation, compared to the three shutdown periods per year, during which an additional 500 contractors arrive to carry out maintenance work. 

Outside temperatures often exceed 40 °C with maximum temperatures in excess of  50°C. Working shifts of 12 hours, maintaining hydration is critical to personal safety. Dehydration can impact cognitive functions and decrease decision-making abilities and at later stages lead to serious health issues. It is therefore important for Newcrest to ensure that all site personnel maintain adequate hydration levels to ensure a safe working environment. 

Current testing

Self-testing: Hydration urine test strips are available in toilets and regularly used for self-testing, however, an inherent problem with this arrangement is the requirement for a toilet the testing to occur. This makes it necessary for the person who requires a test to leave the job site to carry out the test, hence people do not test as often as we would like.

Mandated or random testing: Tests are conducted under the guidance of supervisors and HSE specialists on site to monitor hydration levels. The urine testing method currently utilised (SG Strips) gives a reading that can sometimes be open to interpretation, i.e. the colours that the strips change to on the different pads are similar. 

Portable electronic refractometers for urine testing have been trialled however these are also problematic as the tester is required to urinate into a small cup and then the sample is tested from the cup, therefore a toilet is still required

A recent random urine hydration test, which sampled 30% of the approx 500 shutdown workers in the morning prior to the day shift, found that 3% were dehydrated and needed to be stood down from work or needed further medical intervention. Up to one-third of all workers didn't start the day with adequate hydration levels. 

The majority of testing is carried out at the start of shift to assist with staying hydrated throughout the day. If personnel test in the afternoon and discover that they are dehydrated, it is often impossible to return to a hydrated state before the end of shift. If morning testing occurs, the personnel can increase there water intake to bring up their hydration levels. 

The Challenge: 

How can we better assist personnel on site in staying hydrated or improve how we monitor hydration levels. 

We are looking for solutions that address all, or some of these criteria: 

  • Enable our workforce (regular and maintenance) to self-monitor hydration levels
  • Warning/notification system to individuals to enable them to take corrective actions
  • No to low disruption to regular tasks
  • Capture and aggregate data across the site to identify trends
  • Produce hydration readings rapidly when an incident occurs to eliminate dehydration and poor decision making as a factor.
  • Recognise and address on-site conditions (i.e. wearables must be comfortable for long durations, sweat and dust resistant; consumables must last in high heat, long distance to toilets, etc.) 
  • Have a system that gives a clear indication of hydrated or dehydrated without room for interpretation.


Submissions need to contain as a minimum:

  • Max 5-minute video explaining your submission (quality of your solution is more important than the quality of your video) 
  • One image (as a hero image for your submission)
  • Note: The video can be submitted publically (visible to everyone on the Unearthed platform) or privately via a link (visible only to Unearthed and Newcrest judges)

Please address the following points as part of your video submission: 

  • What are the unique attributes of your solution and how do they fit our need? 
  • Describe the maturity of your solution/product. (i.e. in development / in trial / proven product with case study)
  • Describe the maturity of your company (i.e. individual / startup / business with established supply chain) 
  • If you win a contract with Newcrest, what would the first 3 months look like? 

Your submission may also contain: 

  • Any additional information consisting of pictures, documents, detailed description.

You can choose to submit all or some of your submission publically, which makes the content available to all registered users on our platform and allows other interested parties to find it. You can also choose to upload some of your content privately, which makes it available to the competition sponsor only. 


We will assess your submission based on the following criteria: 

  • Newcrest and Specification fit 
  • Solution / Product readiness 
  • Business / Company readiness

The three scores will be weighted differently, however, the final weighting will be decided once all submissions are received. 

Since we don't know the full range of submissions, we utilise this method to ensure a fair judging process that doesn't disadvantage either established suppliers nor new suppliers with very innovative solutions. Where your submission has known shortfalls, we encourage you to demonstrate how they could be addressed. 

For example: If you have an existing product in the market which meets the requirements and has existing customers, you may want to demonstrate a case study, while a team proposing a custom build should focus on demonstrating their capabilities to build an enterprise-ready solution. If you are submitting an idea focusing on one part of this challenge, think about how it would integrate with other products.

Eligibility Criteria

For complete details on the eligibility criteria that govern the Improving hydration monitoring at Telfer challenge please refer to the website.

Terms and conditions

For complete details on the terms and conditions that govern the Improving hydration monitoring at Telfer challenge please refer to the website.

How to apply

To submit an application to the Improving hydration monitoring at Telfer challenge please refer to the website.

Want to know more or not sure where to start?
Click on the page most relevant to you or learn more about how you can get involved:

ACT Government
Australian Access Federation
Australian National University
CBR Innovation Network
University of Canberra
University of Technology Sydney
Western Sydney University
The Department of Industry, Innovation and Science
The Conversation Media Group
IP Australia
Clarivate Analytics
The Australian Research Council