McGill Faculty of Engineering Dean Jim Nicell, ArcelorMittal Mining Canada head of public relations and government affairs Nicolas Dalmau, and Mining Department director Hani Mitri. Courtesy of McGill University

ArcelorMittal Mining Canada is giving McGill University $360,000 in funding over four years to support mining and materials science research and development work at the university’s Mining Department.

The partnership, called the ArcelorMittal Mining and Mineral Processing Fund, will support research projects focusing on technology and innovation ranging from mine to port, energy efficiency and the environmental stewardship.

“We’re clearly now in a world of change in mining and we wanted to ensure we had access to the latest developments,” ArcelorMittal CEO Pierre Lapointe said in an interview. “We also wanted to connect a local university with our research centres in Spain and France.”

Lapointe said ArcelorMittal and McGill are in the process of determining which research projects will receive funding, but hope to have a complete list by the end of the year and allow them to begin work in the first quarter of 2019.

Related: ArcelorMittal opts for a partial autonomous drilling system at its Mont-Wright mine

Hani Mitri, the director of McGill’s Mining Department, said the partnership could help to advance ArcelorMittal’s strategic goals and objectives. “We’re very prepared to work on targeted research projects” for the company, he said. “We understand the company’s need to push down operating costs.”

Mitri also said the department might work on short-term “troubleshooting” research projects for the company, like “finding efficient solutions to technical issues.”

Some projects will be conducted at ArcelorMittal sites in Quebec, Lapointe said, like the company’s Mont-Wright iron ore mine in the North Shore region of Quebec and its rail and port operations in Port-Cartier.

The funding will go toward faculty research, but Mitri said students would be able to benefit as research assistants.

“We want to also have students involved in the process as well,” Lapointe added.

McGill’s mining school, which in 2021 will celebrate its 150th anniversary, is the oldest in Canada.