Transform Mining Towards a Zero Waste Industry


On May 14th, 2013, the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for Science and Technology, officially announced that the federal government will support the CMIC-developed Footprints Project through a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) Cooperative Research Development Grant (CRD). The objective of the CMIC-Exploration Innovation Consortium (EIC) Footprints Project is to develop new and innovative approaches to more effectively target hidden ore deposits through multi-parameter, integrated exploration.

Industry Support

The Footprints Project marks the first CMIC project to successfully gain extensive support from industry, academia and government. With 35 industry partners (and 27 industry sponsors), 40 researchers from 24 Canadian universities, and NSERC funding of $5.1 million, the project is truly an example of the kind of collaboration CMIC will continue to develop for the purpose of innovation and commercialization in mining.

In fact, the buy-in of 14 service providers was crucial to the commercialization component of the project. “Most research proposals include acquiring data and generating knowledge, but Footprints includes commercialization as the extra step towards true innovation. This could only have been achieved with the buy-in of a broad range of service providers as well as industry sponsors,” says Alan Galley, CMIC’s Exploration Research Director.

In order to put together a national, multi-year project, Footprints needed mineral industry support of over $7.5 million in cash and in-kind support to make it eligible for matched NSERC funding of over $1 million/year. To gain this level of support, the university co-investigators, supported by the Exploration Innovation Consortium (EIC) Technical Committee, crafted a cohesive project plan that caught the imagination of potential industry sponsors. The Exploration research director worked with potential sponsors to ensure the project could deliver on their short and long-term research priorities.

The Research Proposal

The result was what many of the industry sponsors consider to be one of the best and most comprehensive research proposals that has reached out to the broader community of exploration/mining companies and service providers. In keeping with the strategic approach as encapsulated by the Footprints business case, this will be just the first step in establishing a cohesive research network across Canada that will make the Canadian mineral exploration community more globally competitive.

The EIC Technical Committee and Canadian university research community share a 10-year strategic vision, in which the Footprints flagship project would form the basis for a Canadian Networked Centre of Excellence (NCE) ( There are only 15 of these presently funded by the federal government, and none are related to research in the mineral exploration industry.

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