The Canadian mining industry is seen as one of the most innovative and sustainable in the world. But how can we improve upon this initial success and place these qualities at the core of our future mining industry’s – and its products – global brand? This Spotlight explores what must be done by our governments, mining companies, technology companies, academic institutions to make Canada a global leader in mining innovation and sustainability. As the products the industry produces are essential to the technology our modern lives rely on, this is a huge opportunity Canada must position itself to seize.
Key Takeaways & Calls to Action
- The Canadian minerals and metals sector is complex and action is required across the entire supply chain. At the end of the supply chain consumers need to understand how their modern lives rely heavily on mining commodities. Educators need to effectively communicate the need for students in this high-tech, digital and responsible industry. Those working directly in the minerals and metals sector need to do so collaboratively and with collective intent to support communities, improve value extraction and minimize impact. Finally, those working indirectly with the mining industry need to recognize the improvements that have been made and the opportunities that remain for Canada.
- Through existing organizations, a clear, national mining innovation agenda should be led by the Canadian mining industry, including suppliers, service companies and innovation partners. It should provide the framework for aligning mining companies’ R&D to fast-track innovation developments and deployments, share the risks, share resources and, ultimately, share the benefits. Governments can then play a supporting role in seeing the innovation agenda adopted across Canada and enabling the delivery of the innovation plan.
- A sustainable mine must have an overarching strategy that considers the environment, creates safe working conditions and partners with local organizations to support the surrounding communities and build economic capacity.
- Mining industry leaders must expand their horizons and network with industries that are advanced in AI, mobility and more. There are many knowledgeable industries whose innovations could be applied to mining operations. Pay attention and engage; the answers might already be there.