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Federal government invests $2M into Sudbury mining tech

Three innovation organizations split up more than $2 million for Sudbury projects
Sudbury MP Viviane Lapointe, MICA director Charles Nyabeze and Nickel Belt MP Marc Serré listen in on a presentation from Nadia Mykytczuk (left), president of MIRARCO (Supplied photo)

The federal government has granted more than $2 million to three Sudbury mining innovation and technology projects.

The funding announcement was made by Sudbury MP Viviane Lapointe and Nickel Belt MP Marc G. Serré for new initiatives through the Mining Innovation Commercialization Accelerator (MICA) Network, said a news release.

Each organization will use the combined funding of $2,060,027 to develop projects focusing on the commercialization of mining technologies that will make the mining sector more productive and sustainable and that will strengthen our economy.

Sudbury's Symboticware Inc., a mining, resources and innovation company, has been provided $1 million for its first integrated IoT (Internet of Things) plus AI (Artificial Intelligence) software solution for mining powered by satellite connectivity such as SpaceX.

"The main project activities include the development of the cutting-edge Industrial Internet of Things device for industrial vehicles, used in mining, capable of processing data right on the spot and transmitting it through satellite networks to minimize connectivity costs," said the release.

It also includes the development of AI models to predict the potential failure of equipment; piloting the product at the mine sites in Ontario, Quebec and Nunavut.

RIINO Inc. of Sudbury is receiving $780,000 for the continued development of its zero-emission monorail haulage system for addressing material movement challenges in the mining industry, said the release. 

The technology is being developed in collaboration with the Canada Mining Innovation Council (CMIC) and three Tier 1 mining companies. RIINO just recently kicked off the first stage of development study work with plans to fully design, build and validate a full-scale system of the technology before re-deploying the system into a working mining operation by 2026.

MIRARCO Mining Innovation of Sudbury is receiving $287,027 to continue the work on one of three bioleaching processes to extract battery metals -- including nickel and cobalt -- from pyrrhotite tailings, said the release. 

The funding will be used to support the recruitment of personnel, infrastructure developments, and piloting of the BacTech process using pyrrhotite tailings from Vale.  The research is supported by industry partners Vale, and SME BacTech Environmental.