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FOCUS ON INDIGENOUS BUSINESS: Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation

Mining's future is sustainable and responsible.

As mining moves deeper underground and into remote locations, the Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation (CEMI) is looking to technologies to increase the effectiveness of mining processes, and innovations to guarantee safety and environmental integrity.

As Canada’s leading source of underground step-change mining innovation, CEMI offers the ecosystem a commercialization support services platform to help accelerate improvement in the quality of work and performance of mining operations.

Charles Nyabeze, CEMI’s Vice-President of Business Development and Commercialization, believes that technology will push the industry to become even better custodians of the land, putting care and conservation of the environment at the forefront of operations.

“What’s underneath the ground is sacred and precious, and how we access it needs to have that level of respect for the resource,” says Nyabeze. 

“There are innovations available today that can allow us to eliminate harm on the surface with what we get from beneath the surface.”

It’s technology that will result in more sophisticated exploration methods, reducing the disturbance to the land during the early prospective stages of a project. Once a project is up and running, technology can help better integrate new mines into the surrounding landscape for an overall reduced footprint. Charles envisions a day you “will fly over a mining operation and have no idea that it is a mining operation.”

Already, at mines across the globe, operations are using innovations such as tele-remote vehicles to remove workers from high-risk environments, while more efficient processing technologies are reducing the amount of energy required to drive equipment, resulting in lower operating costs.

Nyabeze also urges for a thoughtful, new approach to what is typically considered mine waste. More accurately described as “reject material,” everything that comes out of the ground can be repurposed for future uses, whether it’s in mining or for other industries.

“With mining, we want to move toward a place where we’re taking out exactly what we need and whatever is taken out has some residual value to it rather than sitting in a big pile in some location,” Nyabeze says.

“When we think about what CEMI is and what we are here to do, you can quickly see that through innovation, the mining industry can be transformed at a level that more positively impacts all of society, a level that we see as SUSTAINABLE and RESPONSIBLE.”

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