Canadian miners want to launch clean resources supercluster

Six organizations working in the mining sector submitted an application to the Government of Canada’s Innovation Superclusters Initiative with the idea of creating a clean resources supercluster.

The Canada Mining Innovation Council, the Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation, the International Minerals Innovation Institute, the Mining Suppliers Trade Association, CIMRE and COREM, hope to receive $200 million in government funding for their Clean, Low-energy, Effective, Engaged and Remediated Supercluster or CLEER, which needs a total investment of $700 million -$450 million in cash and $244 million in-kind.

According to a press release sent out by the organizations involved, the CLEER's goal is to harness innovation across the existing mining ecosystem to tackle global challenges of water, energy, and environmental footprint, with targets of 50% reductions in each area by 2027.

To reach its objective, the supercluster would run collaborative initiatives by partnering with 162 leaders from different sectors such as clean tech, R&D innovation support organizations, post-secondary institutions, the mining services and supply sector, anchor companies, among others. The focus of their work would be in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, and Quebec.

Besides moving toward more environmentally sustainable practices, proponents say the CLEER has the potential of creating more than 38,000 new, direct high-paying jobs and training opportunities within the cluster for a total of 100,000 jobs including indirect sectors. “Activities will focus on developing HQPs in advanced mining technologies, clean tech, battery electric vehicles and energy technologies, advanced mineral processing technologies and water technologies, environmental technologies, and science. Additionally, Supercluster activities will entail the deployment of advanced business and human resource skills as developed products and services are moved to commercialization,” Charles Nyabeze, Director of Government Affairs for the Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation, told MINING.com.

Nyabeze and his team hope that the project’s breakthroughs would lead to the development of new mines. “And every new mine opened will generate an average of 3500 direct and indirect, long-term jobs,” he said.

They also anticipate the project's GDP contribution to exceed $26 billion after five years, plus an additional 8,000 jobs and $21 billion in ripple effect impacts throughout Canada.

A final decision on their application should be made public in early 2018.