Science, technology and innovation
We envision …
Resulting in …
A modern and innovative industry that is supported by world-leading science and technology—across all phases of the mineral development cycle
What is the goal of this strategic direction?
- Leverage Canada’s world-leading innovation expertise to support competitiveness, environmental performance and efficiency in mining
- Reflect the transformative technologies used by mining companies in Canada to support widespread adoption
- Facilitate development and adoption of technology across the sector
- Create a more effective mining innovation ecosystem
- Leverage Canadian leadership in mining innovation
- Take advantage of Canada’s highly skilled workforce
What is the Pan-Canadian Initiative?
Innovation challenges leverage the nature of competition, inspire creative thinking, focus research and development, and result in meaningful efficiency gains using new and emerging technologies in the mining sector. For example, the challenges could focus on water treatment, critical minerals, mining value from waste, tailings treatment and Indigenous knowledge.
Innovation challenges are an opportunity to help overcome barriers to innovation, such as:
- Diverse needs that impede the identification of R&D sector-wide goals
- High upfront capital costs
- Risk aversion in the implementation of unproven technologies
By setting ambitious but achievable goals, this approach can lead to breakthrough solutions, including new disruptive technologies that create new market pathways, alternative business models that generate better outcomes, and capacity-building activities that accelerate the rate of adoption.
Areas for action
Canada’s innovation ecosystem: Foster a more effective innovation ecosystem to support activities across all phases of the mineral development cycle; identify systemic challenges; support increased scientific research and innovation funding with a focus on the minerals and metals industry; accelerate the development and deployment of digital disruptive technologies to boost competitiveness; and, practice regulatory innovation (while maintaining safety standards).
Adopting technology and innovative practices: Develop incentives for the adoption of new and clean technologies and innovative practices. Industry, academia and other stakeholders should lead the development of technology road maps for critical emerging technologies and processes.
Next generation geoscience: Support the development and deployment of next generation, world-leading geoscience technology and programming.
New frontiers: Support increased collaboration between Canada’s minerals and other industries to advance mutually beneficial technology development and adoption; leverage space-based and other technologies to improve efficiency and develop solutions for mining in deep, remote, and extreme environments; and develop a policy approach for mining new frontiers to foster investment and economic development.
Key actions and resources
To ensure Canada’s mining innovation ecosystem meets major innovation challenges across all phases of the mineral development cycle:
- Centre for Northern Innovation and Mining (Y.T.)
- Mining Innovation Roadmap (B.C.)
- Joint academic industry research for innovation for sustainable mineral development (Que.)
- Mining Research and Innovation Support Program (Que.)
- $10-million Crush It! Challenge; $4.5-million Charging the Future Challenge (Can.)
- Investments in Canada’s first all battery electric underground mine at Borden Mine (Can.)
- Centre for Regulatory Innovation (Can.)
- The Government-Industry Mining Innovation Steering Committee (Can.)
To accelerate the research, development and deployment of technologies to boost industry competitiveness:
- Project that digitizes provincial core samples to new advanced data at the College of the North Atlantic and the Memorial University of Newfoundland (N.L., Can.)
- Test and validate more efficient mining operations at Royal Institution for the Advancement of Learning at McGill University (Can.)
- Support FVT Research to design, develop and test a battery-electric vehicle for underground mining activities (Can.)
- Support to the Mining Innovation, Rehabilitation & Applied Research Corporation (MIRARCO) to develop “Natural Heat Exchange Engineering Technology” to improve air delivery in deep underground mines (Can.)
- MiHR’s research on the impact of new technology and innovation on the mining labour market (Assoc.)
To advance Canada’s approach to mining new frontiers (e.g., extreme climates, deep mining, offshore, space) and create opportunities to drive innovation:
- A “Moon and asteroids: The next exploration and mining frontier” panel on the margins of the PDAC 2020 (Can.)
- Co-host a Planetary and Terrestrial Mining Sciences Symposium with Deltion Innovations in June 2020 (Can.)
- Develop national and international networks to further research, policy, science and innovation for mining at depth (Can.)
To protect against the risks and vulnerabilities introduced by new and emerging technologies and processes:
- The Minerals and Metals Sector Network (Can.)
- Canadian Resources Infrastructure Resilience Nexus (Can.)
- Share security information, analysis and advice with industry stakeholders (Can.)