Slow-moving mining companies begin to look to startups for digital innovations (Toronto Star – February 26, 2018)

CANADIAN PRESS: VANCOUVER—The mining industry has developed a reputation for being slow to change, but a new wave of startups is helping push it into the digital age.

Four of those companies have been declared finalists in Goldcorp Inc.’s mining innovation competition, banking on the potential to replace cyanide, to use sound waves to see deep inside the earth, map mines in virtual reality and digitize trading.

The companies — EnviroLeach Technologies Inc., Acoustic Zoom Inc., LlamaZoo Interactive Inc. and Open Mineral AG — were chosen out of for more than 100 companies looking to bring new ideas to the industry.

The competition for new ideas comes as one of the world’s oldest industries continues to grapple with high costs and the need to improve performance. “At the end of the day, I just don’t think that mining as an industry has been as fast on the uptake of opportunities in the modern economy,” said Goldcorp chief operating officer Todd White.

That constraint comes in part from the high cost of equipment and the long timelines for getting them, he said. “There’s a lot of risk to design and build a mine with new technology versus tried and true proven technology. So mining companies tend to be more conservative.

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