Skip to content

North Bay-led mining contingent vying for federal funding

Winner of Crush It! Challenge will receive support to prove up concept
The 2019 Crush It! Challenge calls for innovative companies to find solutions to reduce the amount of energy used in the process of crushing ore in mining. (Supplied photo)

A group of mining supply companies with a strong North Bay contingent will be among those vying for federal government funding as part of a mining innovation challenge.

Dubbed “The Paradigm Shifters,” the group is led by iRing, a North Bay company that specializes in blast-planning software specific to underground mines.

The group has succeeded in passing the first round in the Crush It! Challenge, a contest that urges companies to come up with ideas to reduce the amount of energy that crushers and grinders use in the mining process.

The challenge is sponsored by Impact Canada, Natural Resources Canada, the Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation (CEMI), and Goldcorp.

The Paradigm Shifters’ collaborators and their contributions include: 

  • iRing Inc. (North Bay), project lead/drill and blasting software;
  • Nexco Inc. (North Bay), producer of the energy-variable explosive product;
  • Boart Longyear (North Bay and global), global supplier of market leading drilling products and services;
  • Paige Engineering Ltd. (North Bay), design and fabrication of explosive manufacturing and loading equipment;
  • Seneca (Montreal), explosive plant engineering, design and build;
  • Maptek (Denver and Global), 3D laser scanner/fragmentation measurement capabilities; and
  • Bomon Capital (Toronto), long-term financing should the team succeed.

Using its combined expertise, the group proposes to reduce or eliminate the need for primary crushers and reduce the energy required by second crushing and grinders, in both mines and quarries.

“We are really excited by this opportunity as it is directly in iRing’s wheelhouse,” said Mark Sherry, president of iRing, in a Feb. 12 news release.

“The Paradigm Shifters bring together the best in the industry when it comes to drilling and blasting. By working together, we will create a paradigm that is more efficient, effective, cleaner, and safer.”

If the group makes it through to the third round of the competition, it will be eligible for $800,000 in seed funding toward proving the concept over 18 months.

In the following round, eligible projects could receive an additional $5 million to commercialize the products and concepts.

The final grand prize winner is expected to be announced in March, 2021.