The NORCAT Open Innovation Challenge will seek to identify companies with potential technology solutions for three specific challenges: excessive water or run-off material in underground mines, acid train car loading and underground operator alertness.
The companies will be chosen by October 30, and then need to demonstrate a proof-of-concept solution at one of Vale's Sudbury operations within a four-month timeframe.
Firms can be based anywhere in the world, but need to be available to demonstrate and deploy the proof-of-concept solution in one of Vale's operations located in the City of Greater Sudbury.
Once the successful proof-of-concept product is developed, ventures will commence in-the-field product testing within one of Vale's Greater Sudbury operations.
"Our goal is to facilitate and encourage innovative and disruptive thinking within the mining technology ecosystem," says Don Duval, NORCAT chief executive.
"As the mining industry continues to transform, it requires new levels of openness, innovation and collaboration. Challenge-based initiatives have proven to be effective in uncovering new ideas and different points of view, and we are excited to partner with Vale to further the acceleration, adoption and deployment of emerging technologies that are poised to transform the global mining industry."
Vale will provide technical oversight and feedback to winning entries over a four-month period to prepare for product development and testing prior to completion.
"At Vale, we are obsessed with safety and risk mitigation," says Anthony Downs, Manager of Digital and Information Technology for Vale's Base Metal Operations.
"Open innovation is a key enabler that allows us to rapidly identify and trial novel risk management solutions. When they prove effective, we move them to implementation within our operations at an accelerated pace. Vale is pleased to partner with NORCAT on this challenge and looks forward to reviewing the innovative solutions the challenge inspires."