Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry François-Philippe Champagne announces the investment at the Agnico Eagle mine in Rouyn-Noranda. Courtesy of CEMI

On July 13, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, minister of innovation, science and industry, announced a $40 million investment into the $112.4 million sustainable mining project from the Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation (CEMI).

The project will bring together stakeholders from a wide range of fields, including innovative technologies, and make the mining sector more productive and sustainable. The investment will do this by supporting the creation of the Mining Innovation Commercialization Accelerator (MICA).

“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,” Champagne said.

MICA intends to bring mining companies, mining suppliers, academic and research institutions, innovators together to collaborate and create technical and business synergies. The headquarters will be in Sudbury, Ontario, but it 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.

The main goal of MICA is to strengthen the Canadian mineral supply chain and increase the domestic and export sales of Canadian innovators. The project intends to do this by accelerating the development and commercialization of innovative autonomous and clean technologies in the mining sector, with the goal of increasing the mine life of existing operations and lowering the barriers to bringing new deposits into production.

At the investment announcement, Douglas Morrison, president of the Mining Innovation Commercialization Accelerator Network, said, “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.”