Ladderworks is a publishing platform of diverse picture books and an online curriculum with the mission to empower over a million kids to become social entrepreneurs. Our current series features interviews by our interplanetary journalist Spiffy with inspiring Social Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builders, and Changemakers who are advancing the UN SDGs.
Spiffy here with the scoop on the entrepreneurial leaders of Planet Earth. As the only interplanetary journalist stationed on this blue planet, I’m thrilled to present this galactic exclusive with Javier Muñoz, the co-founder and CEO of Mineral Forecast. Let’s learn what’s happening at Mineral Forecast and how Javier is making a positive impact in the world.
Spiffy: Hi Javier, thanks a million for talking to me today. What can you tell me about the challenge that you’re addressing through Mineral Forecast?
Javier: Thanks for having me, Spiffy! Climate change has set our world on fire. The only way to survive is to achieve a greener economy. A key challenge for this is to have the raw materials we need to have that greener economy. For example, we need a ton of more lithium, copper, nickel, and other metals so we can build more batteries, spread more electric vehicles to society, build more solar panels and wind turbines, etc. Without those raw materials available, we can't build a greener economy!
Spiffy: That makes sense. What motivates you to do this?
Javier: As someone who is driven to make a positive impact on the world, I am particularly concerned about the challenge of finding the critical metals we need for a greener economy. In my country, the mining industry is an important part of the economy. I saw that industry as a way to deploy my talents and positively impact my society. Then I realized the huge challenge we have in finding these critical resources, but the process of locating and extracting them can be incredibly difficult. That's what keeps me motivated every day.
Spiffy: Your passion for positively impacting the world and your society is amazing. What is the impact of your work?
Javier: Finding the raw materials to build things we use is hard. For example, let’s say we’re looking for the buried copper needed to make the wires of our smartphones. Only three of every 100 holes dug by people searching for copper underground actually find it. So we essentially dig 97 holes without finding anything—useless holes everywhere! Imagine if these teams could have the superpower of seeing the underground. They would be able to avoid all these useless holes! Well, in Mineral Forecast we’re giving that superpower to people so they can find more of these metals faster. With this, we can find faster the metals we need to build a greener economy.
Spiffy: Superpowers, cool! Tell me about a recent milestone by your organization. What impact does that make?
Javier: We were recently selected as one of the most innovative startups at Harvard University. We’re super excited about it because it helps to bring awareness of this huge problem we have ahead of us: finding the metals we need to build a greener economy so we can fight climate change.
Spiffy: Congratulations to you and the Mineral Forecast team! That’s wonderful. Is there anything else you would love to tell our audience?
Javier: Find your passion and go for it! You'll enjoy the ride.
Spiffy: Great advice and encouragement. Thanks for speaking with me today, Javier—it’s been an honor!
Javier Muñoz is the co-founder and CEO of Mineral Forecast. He is a Chilean mining engineer with a Master’s in Public Administration from Harvard Kennedy School. Javier’s experience includes working in mining policy, developing technology, and supporting indigenous people’s projects. He loves music and windsurfing! (Nominated by Alex Parks at the Harvard Innovation Labs. First published on the Ladderworks website on June 29, 2023.)
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect those of Ladderworks LLC.
© 2023 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Lindsey Brannon. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy's Launchpad: Creative Entrepreneurship Workshops for K-3 Kids and their caregivers here.