The joint research project, which was created in 2013, is dedicated to developing environmental solutions for the entire life cycle of a mine.
The partnership is between two universities in Quebec, Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue (UQAT) and Polytechnique Montréal, and six mining companies or mines - Agnico Eagle Mines, Canadian Malartic Mine (a partnership between Agnico Eagle and Yamana Gold), Iamgold Corp, Glencore's Raglan mine, Newmont Goldcorp's Éléonore mine, and Rio Tinto Iron and Titanium.
Together the industrial partners will invest a total of C$11.2 million (US$8.5 million) in research from 2020 to 2026. This investment will also allow the team of researchers to secure additional funding from government research granting agencies so it can continue to develop its research programme.
"RIME will be able to adjust and adapt its research programming based on the needs identified, while continuing to develop the themes that were central to the first phase of its activities," said Bruno Bussière, holder of the NSERC-UQAT industrial research chair in mine site reclamation and scientific director of RIME at UQAT.
"It will focus on eight overarching themes: mine site reclamation, the circular economy applied to mines, the geotechnical and environmental stability of mine tailings storage areas, water quality prediction, mine water management and treatment, transport of contaminants in the environment, the influence of climate conditions, and sharing knowledge with communities."
The programme will be implemented by a team of internationally recognised experts made up of 20 professors affiliated with the two universities. They will also be supported by colleagues from across Quebec, the rest of Canada and around the world.
Thomas Pabst, assistant professor in the department of civil, geological, and mining engineering and scientific director of RIME at Polytechnique Montréal, added: "Ultimately, one of the institute's biggest contributions is the training it provides to tomorrow's mining and environmental experts. And these young professionals come from all over the world."
Pascal Lavoie, chair of the RIME UQAT-Polytechnique executive council, said: "Innovation is key to improving mining industry practices. RIME plays a big role in the evolution of our environmental and sustainable development practices. As industrial partners, we are convinced that it's essential to continue building on and developing the institute's activities.
"It's important to keep in mind that for the mining industry, seven years is a long time. So the fact that we're willing to make such a big commitment once again shows we truly believe in RIME's mission."
The first phase of RIME UQAT-Polytechnique activities, between 2013-2019, enabled just over 75 students to earn a master's or doctorate degree. Over 30 major research projects were carried out in addition to those launched by the three Canada research chairs and the industrial research chair. Research investments totalled more than C$29 million, with C$10 million from industrial partners and C$19 million in grants from granting agencies.