Back to News Sudbury Star   Harold Carmichael

Jun 25, 2020

   

Member Story

$40M sought for mining network

2  MIN READ

Funds would help firms get new technologies to market

The fate of a proposal by the Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation seeking $40 million in federal funding for its Mining Innovation Commercialization Accelerator (MICA) could be known soon.

The MICA initiative aims to connect regional mining clusters to cross-section innovation centres to create a national mining innovation ecosystem.

“Next week, we have a meeting with the government to tell us whether or not it’s going to get approved, to figure out the next step,” said Charles Nyabeze, CEMI’s vice-president of business development and commercialization Wednesday.

“We are very confident the government is going to approve it. If that happens, by August or September, we should have the (MICA) network fully established and looking to do work.”

The MICA Network, which CEMI has set up, just doubled in size through the addition of 12 new members including Copperstone, Lakehead University, FVT Research, Novamera, Ure, and RELAMCO.

“The network is growing daily,” said Nyabeze. “We are getting new companies coming in almost every day. So, it’s something that could end up with a couple of hundred members (by the end of the 2020).”

One year ago, the federal government issued a call for proposals for funding and CEMI submitted a statement of interest.

“As a condition of the statement of interest, we started to build the (MICA) network,” explained Nyabeze. “Now, we are finalizing the network. But, we are finalizing building it prior to getting the funding. Without a network, they won’t fund anything.”

That funding, said Nyabeze, would be $40 million, $35 million which would go to helping companies get their new technologies and innovations to market, with the balance going toward capacity – helping Canada boost opportunities in the mining sector.

“MICA is about taking these innovations and following them through to commercial development,” he said. “We are talking about accelerating technologies, what has been created, and moving it into the commercial phase. What we are looking to do is move these technologies to market.”

That $40 million in federal funding would then be boosted by $80 million in private sector funding for a total of $120 million.

MICA has four technical themes: increase mine productive capacity at lower cost; reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions; mitigate environmental risk and long-term liabilities; and implement smart, autonomous mining systems.

Nyabeze said an added benefit of MICA is that it is not limited to just the mining sector, as other sectors can get involved if there are technologies and innovations that can be applied to mining.

Headquartered in downtown Sudbury, CEMI is Canada’s expert in mining innovation. It delivers commercially viable innovations to improve heat and rock stress, mine productivity, safety, ore discovery, and environmental performance. Its systematic approach ensures innovations can be implemented and are economically feasible.

Mining companies are also able to achieve better operational performance for a faster return on investment.

CEMI’s strategic focus helps to generate greater economic value of mines through technologies, processes and practices to improve the safety, performance and capacity of mines.

hcarmichael@postmedia.com