Innovation, Science and Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne travelled two kilometres below the surface of the Earth on Aug. 19 to announce more than $600 million in funding to support 14 research projects across the country.
But the major announcement was for Sudbury’s own SNOLAB underground research facility, which is receiving $100 million of the $628-million funding envelope to continue its work studying neutrinos and dark matter, and probing the “secrets of the universe.”
The work of researchers at Canadian facilities like SNOLAB aim “to answer the big questions of our time,” Champagne said during the Aug. 19 press conference.
The press conference capped off a two-day tour by the minister that saw him visit NORCAT and Vale’s Integrated remote operations centre (iROC), and meet with several mining industry stakeholders representatives of CEMI/MICA, Frontier Lithium, Collège Boréal, MIRARCO, TesMan, Symboticware and Glencore Sudbury.
Champagne was joined at the announcement by Sudbury MP Viviane Lapointe and Nickel Belt MP Marc Serré, as well as various researchers connected to SNOLAB.
The $628 million of funding will support 19 research infrastructure projects at institutions across the country, the minister said during the event. The funding flows from the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s (CFI) Major Science Initiative (MSI) Fund. The funding will help ensure the ongoing operation and maintenance needs of research facilities of national importance are being met.
“The opportunities for Canada to be a leader in clean technology, critical mineral innovation and mining, combined with the Government of Canada’s investments in our world class science programs and facilities like SNOLAB here in Sudbury, have set us on a trajectory of incredible potential,” Lapointe said in the news release.
For those unaware, SNOLAB is a renowned science research facility located two kilometres underground at Vale’s Creighton Mine in Lively. It is primarily focused on studying the properties of subatomic particles called neutrinos, as well as the search for galactic dark matter. Work on genomics and metabolism studies, ultra-sensitive environmental monitoring and test facilities for quantum computing are also done or housed at the lab.
It is the deepest ultra-clean lab of its kind on the planet.