Government invests to help accelerate innovation in Canada’s mining industry

July 14, 2021

Investment to position Canada’s mining sector to benefit from, and contribute to, Canada’s green economic recovery

Canada’s mining sector is a crucial part of our economy, and the global demand for minerals is only adding to its potential. The Government of Canada is supporting the continued success of the sector by investing in innovative solutions that will strengthen Canada’s international leadership in sustainable, efficient and safe mining.

Yesterday, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, announced an investment of $40 million in a $112.4-million project of the Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation Inc. (CEMI). This investment supports the creation of the Mining Innovation Commercialization Accelerator (MICA) Network, a pan-Canadian initiative bringing together stakeholders from a wide range of fields to accelerate the development and commercialization of innovative technologies to make the mining sector more productive and sustainable.

“The mining sector is critical to the Canadian economy as it supports well-paying jobs in communities across the country. Today’s announcement will help bridge the innovation-to-commercialization gap for the benefit of both Canadian mining companies and innovators by providing them with the tools, knowledge and expertise they need to meet the future demands for Canada’s critical minerals,” said the Honourable Francois-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. “The mining sector is playing a pivotal role in our green recovery and our progress toward net zero, and I look forward to the innovations and the job creation that will come from these new collaborations.”

MICA will be headquartered in Sudbury, Ontario, and will operate across Canada through the following main partners: the Bradshaw Research Initiative for Minerals and Mining, InnoTech Alberta, Saskatchewan Polytechnic, MaRS, Le Groupe MISA and the College of the North Atlantic. MICA is an ecosystem initiative designed to modernize mining and improve its productivity and environmental performance, strengthen the Canadian mineral supply chain, and increase the domestic and export sales of Canadian innovators. By accelerating the development and commercialization of innovative autonomous and clean technologies in the mining sector, the initiative is expected to extend the operational lives of existing mines and reduce the time it takes to bring new mineral deposits into production.

With activities that will span the country, including in the North, MICA is expected to support the creation of 900 jobs and at least 12 new businesses; the commercialization of at least 30 new products, services or processes; and the generation of interindustry spillover benefits by introducing innovative non-mining technologies to the mining sector and vice versa. MICA will mobilize investments of at least $100 million from the private sector and expand its membership to over 350 businesses and organizations across the country.

Canada is rich in critical minerals, which are vital to the manufacturing of clean technologies, from solar panels to battery electric vehicles. This investment will support Canada’s mining sector in delivering those minerals to the world more quickly and efficiently, expediting the global shift toward net zero, and positioning Canada as a leader in the global market for net-zero technologies. This project supports the Government of Canada’s goal of making Canada a leading producer of zero-emission products and technologies.

“The commercialization of innovations in the mining industry has never been more important than it is today. Supplying the demand for the minerals and metals needed to advance the green transition to a low-carbon economy is critical, but if mines are to produce more and do so faster, cheaper and more sustainably, implementing innovation is essential,” said Douglas Morrison, president, Mining Innovation Commercialization Accelerator Network. “CEMI believes a national innovation network is necessary to identify innovative solutions and integrate them into the system-solutions that the mining industry needs. The MICA Network will help mobilize investments, grow Canadian SMEs and establish Canada’s leadership role in addressing climate change.”

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