A clean mining cluster proposal led by the Canadian Mining Innovation Council
and the Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation (CEMI) is backed by giants
Glencore, Teck, Vale, Goldcorp and Agnico-Eagle. “There wasn’t a lot of time”
to assemble the application, said CEMI CEO Douglas Morrison. “We knuckled
down and did what we had to.”
Ottawa’s flagship innovation initiative – a pledge to fund up to five so-called “superclusters” – has drawn a strong response, with dozens of hastily gathered consortia led by some of Canada’s largest companies vying for $950-million in federal funds.
Royal Bank of Canada, Magna International Inc., Telus Corp., Teck Resources Ltd., Loblaw Cos. Ltd. Shoppers Drug Mart unit and Open Text Corp. are among the more than 200 companies that have joined with 20 post-secondary institutions – some of which are supporting more than one bid – to create “superclusters” in such wide-ranging fields as agriculture, advanced manufacturing, cryptocurrency, big data, medical technology and artificial intelligence.
They have been joined by some of Canada’s most prominent startups and “scaleups,” including Stemcell Technologies Inc., Thalmic Labs Inc, Miovision Technologies and Don Tapscott’s Blockchain Research Institute.
Government sources say about 50 consortia submitted letters of intent by the July 24 deadline to establish superclusters, or groupings of large and small companies and post-secondary institutions and other organizations that work collaboratively to create skilled jobs and technologically-driven competitive advantages in established and emerging sectors.
Bidding groups had to include at least two industry-leading “anchor” companies, smaller companies and at least one post-secondary institution, and to commit at least $1 in cash or in-kind contributions for every $1 requested from government.