An aerial view of Goldcorp's Borden project near Chapleau, Ontario. Courtesy of Goldcorp

Goldcorp will receive $5 million from the federal government to transform its Borden mine into “the mine of the future,” Minister of Natural Resources Amarjeet Sohi and parliament secretary Paul Lefebvre announced Monday.

The investment will be used to replace all the diesel-powered equipment required for the mine with battery-powered vehicles in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and lower Borden’s environmental impact.

Borden, located in Chapleau, Ontario, will be the first underground mine to replace all its equipment with electric vehicles, according to Goldcorp.

"Improved environmental performance in Canada's mining sector is one of the key paths to a low-carbon economy,” Sohi said in a statement. “This project helps advance clean technologies to commercial readiness, creates good, middle-class jobs and reduces greenhouse gas emissions."

The funding is provided through Natural Resources Canada’s Clean Growth Program – a $155-million fund that supports clean technology in the energy, mining and forest industries. Natural Resources Canada released a list of 99 semi-finalists that applied for the fund, including other mining companies such as Iamgold and Barrick Gold. Goldcorp had two projects listed among the finalists: the Borden project and its EcoTails technology, which aimed to manage wastewater use.

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"Developing and adopting clean technologies will help Canada meet its domestic and international commitments and help maintain our natural resource advantage for years to come,” Lefebvre said. “This project demonstrates how clean energy innovation will help lead us to a low-carbon future."

Goldcorp says that Borden is a key component to meeting its goal to increase its production 20 per cent by 2021. The company expects to begin commercial production at the mine in the second half of 2019, and is partnering with mining equipment suppliers like Sandvik and MacLean Engineering to assist with the conversion to battery vehicles.

"We believe the days of diesel use for underground mining equipment are numbered and electrification of our mobile fleet is a logical way to significantly reduce the mine's environmental footprint," Goldcorp president and CEO David Garofalo said in a statement. “... It’s gratifying to see multiple levels of government support innovation and our vision of a safer, greener mining industry.”

The shift to battery power at Borden is expected to bring around 250 jobs for local and Indigenous communities.