Innovation acceleration: COVID-19 and today’s new business realities spark activity at mining innovation hubs – by Alexandra Lopez-Pacheco (CIM Magazine – September 14, 2020)

As Canada went into lockdown to fight the spread of COVID-19, mining accelerators and research hubs – the organizations created to support and foster innovation in the industry – expected their activities to come to a grinding halt.

At first, these predictions appeared to come true, but after a few weeks, the exact opposite began to happen. Interest in their services and projects boomed as mining and technology companies began reaching out looking for new partners and opportunities.

Sudbury’s NORCAT, for example, which runs the world’s only operational underground mine devoted to training and technology innovation as part of its mission to become a global one-stop shop that connects start-ups and creators of new technologies with mining companies, saw a 500 per cent increase in the number of enterprises wanting to showcase their products and technologies.

Don Duval, the organization’s CEO, said part of the growth in activity is directly linked to the ongoing demand from global mining companies seeking new technology solutions to remain competitive post-COVID-19, as well as tech companies wanting to connect with the mining giants.

He also suspects part of the reason behind the boom was that the federal government’s economic response helped mining technology companies access funds quickly.

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