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Network launches to accelerate mining innovation

Mining Innovation Commercialization Network will be based in Sudbury

The Mining Innovation Commercialization Accelerator (MICA) Network marked its official launch on Nov. 17.

Based in Sudbury and led by that city’s Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation (CEMI), the project will bring together hundreds of mining companies, industrial suppliers, academic organizations and researchers, and industrial innovators from across Canada to innovate and modernize the mining industry.

Areas of focus include improved productivity, better environmental performance, a strengthened Canadian mineral supply chain, and increased domestic and export sales of Canadian innovators.

By accelerating the development and commercialization of innovative autonomous and clean technologies in the mining sector, the MICA initiative is expected to extend the operational lives of existing mines and reduce the time it takes to bring new mineral deposits into production, thereby positioning Canada as a global leader in sustainable mining as well as cleantech development.

"A primary objective of the MICA Network is to increase the number, scale and market reach of Canadian mining SMEs (small and medium enterprises) producing high-tech solutions to accelerate the low-carbon transition," Douglas Morrison said in a Nov. 17 news release.

Morrison serves as both president and CEO of CEMI, and director of MICA.

MICA will connect with regional innovation centres across Canada to form what’s being described as a “collaborative, national innovation ecosystem.”

Key partners already on board include the Bradshaw Research Initiative for Minerals and Mining (BC), InnoTech Alberta( AB), Saskatchewan Polytechnic (SK), MaRS (ON), Groupe MISA (PQ), and the College of the North Atlantic (NL).

The idea for MICA was first put forward in 2015, and this past July, the federal government announced $40 million in funding toward the project.

MICA is expected to leverage at least $100 million in private sector investment, create 900 jobs, start up 12 new businesses and commercialize at least 30 new products, services and processes related to Canada’s $109-billion sector.