Back to News   Northern Ontario Business Staff

Sep 25, 2020


Industry News

NORCAT, Vale team up on innovation challenge


Vale and NORCAT in Sudbury are challenging Canadian startups and entrepreneurs to come up with innovative solutions to some of the industry’s top problems.

Announced on Sept. 24, the NORCAT Open Innovation Challenge is seeking unique, technology-driven solutions to address smelter acid management, underground operator alertness, and excessive water and run of material in underground mines.

Successful applications must have the capacity and confidence to develop and deploy a proof-of-concept inside one of Vale’s operations in Sudbury by March 2021.

Vale will provide technical oversight and feedback to winning entries over a four-month period in preparation for product development and testing prior to completion.

“As the mining industry continues to transform, it requires new levels of openness, innovation and collaboration,” said Don Duval, NORCAT’s CEO, in a news release.

“Challenge-based initiatives have proven to be effective in uncovering new ideas and different points of view, and we are excited to partner with Vale to further the acceleration, adoption and deployment of emerging technologies that are poised to transform the global mining industry.”

For Vale, the main drivers behind the challenge are improving safety, efficiency and sustainability, but the challenge will also serve to accelerate the rate of technology adoption in the global mining industry.

“At Vale, we are obsessed with safety and risk mitigation,” said Anthony Downs, manager of digital and information technology for Vale’s Base Metal Operations, in the release.

“Open innovation is a key enabler that allows us to rapidly identify and trial novel risk management solutions. When they prove effective, we move them to implementation within our operations at an accelerated pace.”

The deadline for applications is Oct. 16.