Government of Canada announces funding for new collaborative project for research and innovation in the mining industry

TORONTO, May 14, 2013 /CNW/ - An innovative nation-wide research project led by the mining industry and carried out by Canadian universities is being supported by the largest grant ever awarded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) through its Collaborative Research and Development program.

The $5.1M NSERC grant was formally announced today by the Honourable Gary Goodyear, the Minister of State (Science and Technology). The NSERC funding will match close to $7M in cash and in-kind contributions from sponsors in the Canadian mining and exploration industry, acting through the Canada Mining Innovation Council (CMIC).  The initial grant application to NSERC included 17 Canadian universities and 24 industry partners.  Since the project won official approval, the number of participating universities has grown to 24, while the number of industry partners has grown to 27.

The research project, known as the "Footprints Project," will develop new tools for remotely sensing and assessing mineral deposits far below the surface based on their subtle signals, or footprints. "Ultimately, we believe the work we're pursuing can improve the way we approach mineral exploration and resource development in Canada and around the world," says Dr. Michael Lesher, Research Chair in Mineral Exploration and Professor of Economic Geology at Laurentian University. Over 24 universities will participate in the research collaboration, under the leadership of Dr. Lesher and Dr. Mark Hannington, Goldcorp Chair in Economic Geology and Professor of Earth Sciences at University of Ottawa.

"The unprecedented level of collaboration among the exploration industry, service providers, government institutions, researchers and universities sets a new standard for our industry," according to Dr. Francois Robert, VP & Chief Geologist, Global Exploration, Barrick Gold Corporation. As one of the architects of the project, Dr. Robert used CMIC's industry-driven approach to innovation and brought in 27 industry sponsors for the large-scale research collaboration.

The partners include 14 service providers, who were involved in the project from the early stages. "The buy-in of a broad range of service providers as well as industry sponsors was crucial to ensuring the project had a commercialization component. Most research proposals include acquiring data and generating knowledge, but Footprints includes commercialization as the extra step towards true innovation." says Alan Galley, CMIC's Exploration Research Director.

CMIC Chair of the Board John Thompson believes, "The CMIC Footprints project represents a major milestone in the development of collaborative research projects. NSERC's recent decision to match the extensive funding from industry is a testament to CMIC's approach of partnership between industry, academia and government." CMIC aims to produce a fundamental shift in how innovation takes place, with the mining industry defining the major technical challenges that it needs to address, and CMIC matching proposed solutions to multiple funding sources.

The Footprints project's industry sponsors and university research community share a 10-year strategic vision that the success of the project could result in the development of a more permanent, national minerals-related research network.

SOURCE: Canada Mining Innovation Council (CMIC)

For further information:

Alina Fedorowicz, M.Sc.
Office and Communications Manager
Canada Mining Innovation Council
Phone : (613) 996 - 5486
afedorowicz@cmic-ccim.org

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Canada Mining Innovation Council (CMIC)

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