CMIC and CEMI joint innovation proposal

The Canada Mining Innovation Council (CMIC) and the Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation (CEMI) led a joint letter of intent (LOI) submission to the Canadian federal government’s ‘Innovation Superclusters Initiative’
CMIC and CEMI joint innovation proposal CMIC and CEMI joint innovation proposal CMIC and CEMI joint innovation proposal CMIC and CEMI joint innovation proposal CMIC and CEMI joint innovation proposal

Staff reporter

PRESS RELEASE: Working on behalf of the mining industry, CEMI and CMIC proposed the creation of a clean resources supercluster called CLEER (Clean, Low-energy, Effective, Engaged and Remediated). This CLEER supercluster aims to transform the mining sector’s productivity, performance, and competitiveness. This will be achieved by tackling global challenges of water, energy, and environmental footprint, with bold targets of 50% reduction in each area by 2027. CLEER will engage the mining services and supply sector (MSS) and anchor mining companies, accelerate collaborative innovation, stimulate investments exceeding C$5 billion (US$4 billion), with the objective of growing SMEs, improving industry productivity, initiating export pathways, and creating more than 100,000 jobs.

In May, Navdeep Bains, Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED), opened the application process for the Innovation Superclusters Initiative. The 2017 federal budget has made C$950 million available over five years, starting in 2017-18, to support a small number of business-led innovation superclusters that have the greatest potential to accelerate economic growth.

Innovation superclusters aim to build a better Canada by creating good-quality jobs for Canadians, helping businesses succeed in the marketplace, and fostering stronger collaboration between the private, academic and public sectors. Applicants of this initiative will be informed by the end of August 2017 if they are invited to proceed to the full application process.

If successful in the application process, this CLEER Supercluster could position Canada as a global leader in both clean resources and clean technology development as well as in the responsible sourcing of metals. This is essential for clean growth, given that the Canadian mining sector is a key global provider of the raw materials used as inputs for the development of clean technologies, including for the clean energy transition (such as solar panels, battery electric vehicles, SMART grids, and wind turbines). In essence, CMIC and CEMI stated that clean resource development in Canada is indispensable to growth in clean tech and to the clean economy of the future.

Douglas Morrison, president and CEO at the Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation (CEMI), remarked: “The CLEER Innovation Supercluster is an important strategic development for the support and expansion of the Canadian mining sector. Canada needs to sustain its existing mines and open new mines by improving productivity and ROI. We believe that CLEER Innovation Supercluster will position the Canadian mining industry as the global leader in accelerating the commercialisation and adoption of step-change innovation nationally and internationally.”

The supercluster is an industry-led, multi-stakeholder consortium comprised of four existing clusters, which, combined, represent an initial eight resource companies, 12 post-secondary institutions, 42 SMEs and 25 other support organisations. To date, the CLEER supercluster has attracted a total investment of C$376 million of cash and in-kind from a combination of MSS companies and resource companies. CLEER is seeking to leverage this investment with C$185 million in ISED funds.

Carl Weatherell, executive director and CEO at the Canada Mining Innovation Council (CMIC), stated: “True innovation is about transformation and asking tough, uncomfortable questions. CLEER challenges the very notion of superclusters offering an innovative approach positioning the mining sector to take global leadership roles on three fronts. More importantly, it is demonstrating an unprecedented level of collaboration not available in any resource industry globally.”

CLEER will focus on the technical themes that are critical to the industry, and that will allow all the organisations in the current ecosystem to participate and play their part in transforming the industry. In collaboration with other mining companies, CMIC and CEMI have identified these strategic innovation themes:

  • Energy technologies: renewable energy generation and storage; mine electrification; battery-electric vehicles; ventilation; automation; sensors and sensor-based sorting; advanced comminution; and, standards and guidelines;
  • Water technologies: water conservation technologies; water treatment technology; and, water quality sensors;
  • Environmental footprint reduction technologies: mapping; land reclamation and remediation technology; and, sensors and sensor-based sorting; and
  • SMART Technologies: sensors; data analytics; pattern recognition; predictive analytics; high performance computing; artificial intelligence; and, mine digitisation and digital communications.

Pierre Gratton, president and CEO of the Mining Association of Canada, commented: “The CLEER Supercluster will help Canada become the leading supplier of sustainably-sourced minerals and metals the world needs, and the technologies the world needs to best extract them. This is especially important in the transition to a low-carbon future, which will only increase the demand for our products. Through this project, industry and governments can be powerful partners in achieving this vision.”