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Innovation wanted: Challenge launched to develop clean mining technology solutions

Process of crushing rock targeted in this particular $10M competition
Minister of Natural Resources Amarjeet Sohi visited Science North to launch the $10-million Crush It! Challenge. He was joined by Sudbury MP Paul Lefebvre. (Arron Pickard/

A new, $10-million competition will hopefully pave the way to a lower carbon emissions future, says the minister of natural resources.

Amarjeet Sohi visited Science North in Sudbury on Oct. 30 to launch the $10-million Crush It! Challenge, which challenges Canadian innovators to develop new clean technology solutions that cut energy consumption for crushing mined rock – a process that currently accounts for up to three per cent of the entire world's electricity generation.

It's a process that has not fundamentally changed in more than 100 years and consumes more than 50 per cent of the total energy used in a mining operation. It's the industry's largest operational cost and is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. 

Finding and advancing innovative solutions for crushing and grinding mined rock will reduce pollution, improve productivity and help the mining industry become more competitive, Sohi said.

It's a 25-month-long campaign, where up to 12 finalists will be selected to pitch their concept at Goldcorp Inc.'s #DisruptMining event in March 2019. A jury made up of experts from the Canadian mining sector will select the top six finalists, each of whom will receive up to $800,000 to build and test their cleantech solution. 

Ultimately, the jury will choose the best breakthrough clean technology and award the winner a $5-million grant.

“We want to tap into the knowledge and innovative approaches taken by Canadians, who are known for their ability to look at things differently,” said Sohi. “Even though the prize money will go to the finalists, the real winner will be Canadians, who will reap the benefits of a greener community.”

He said he chose Sudbury for the announcement because he's impressed with the work being done in the mining industry.

The Crush It! Challenge is the fourth of five clean technology challenges under Natural Resources Canada's Cleantech Impact program.