Innovation in progress for the global mining industry
There are a great number of organizations serving the mining industry in Canada and The Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation (CEMI) in Sudbury is one of them.
Since it was established in 2007, its mandate has been to direct and coordinate step-change innovation in the areas of exploration, deep mining, integrated mine engineering, environment and sustainability for the metal mining industry.
CEMI identifies, assesses and manages industry-focused applied research and development projects that extend from geology and engineering to the natural sciences. It offers a single point of entry for knowledge resources and human capital that enhances the scope, extent and impact of innovation for the global metal mining industry.
CEMI regards innovation as a three-phase process: research, development and implementation (R&D+I). With commercialization, innovative ideas are operationally integrated into best practices that are socially responsible and attuned to community needs and expectations. We create capacity for excellence in innovation and add value to the economic development of the metal mining industry by collaborating with Canadian and global mining companies, universities, government researchers, consultants, and innovative small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the service and supply sector. Our aim is to impact key aspects of mining through innovation that will significantly improve or accelerate the cost-effective, safe production of metals.
The Canadian hardrock metal mining community has the ability to be the primary source of innovation for the underground mining industry worldwide. The expertise that exists in the mines of Northern Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba, offer unparalleled opportunities to engage scientists and engineers from around the world, and with these organisations as partners, CEMI will become a leading source of innovation to this globally vital industry. We already have a track record of innovations and collaborative networks focused on mine construction and high-stress conditions, and with our current focus on highly productive bulk mining below 2.5km, we are now are leading the way with the Ultra-Deep Mining Network (UDMN).
Acknowledging the importance of deep mining research, the Honourable Greg Rickford, Minister of Natural Resources awarded the UDMN $15 million through the Businessled Networks of Centres of Excellence (BLNCE) program. This $46 million business-driven Network is supported by members of the mining and oil & gas industries, and many small to medium sized enterprises as well as industry agencies, research facilities and academia.
The goal of the UDMN is to help the mining industry develop and adopt commercially viable projects that lead to the deployment of innovative technologies. Managed through CEMI, UDMN aims to support solution teams capable of creating the tools and technologies in the next 1-3 years that will help bulk mining operations below 2.5km to operate more profitably and safely by improving operational productivity and human effectiveness.
With project participants based in several Canadian provinces, CEMI is now a Canadian leader in mining research, innovation and commercialization, and from this foundation we aim to expand Canada’s role in improving the performance of the mining industry globally. We have active projects in every aspect of mining operations from mineral exploration, mine development, production efficiency, energy consumption, human factors, environmental impact and post-closure land use. We have also developed a comprehensive approach to mining innovation, integrating excellence from science, engineering, social, medical and commercial disciplines and we believe that the success of mining as a productive, safe and environmentally responsible industry in the 21st Century will depend, more than ever before, on such a multi-disciplinary approach.
*Doug Morrison is president of the Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovations (CEMI) in Sudbury, ON.