Future of mining in Canada on CLEER path if 'supercluster' approved

The Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation and the Canada Mining Innovation Council submitted a proposal to create a mining supercluster. It's for the Federal Innovation Supercluster Initiative which has $950-million to distribute to five applicants. It was shortlisted as one of nine vying for the funding.

Project from CEMI, CMIC one of 9 vying for millions from Innovation, Science and Economic Development

A proposal with roots in Sudbury could see hundreds of millions of dollars in federal money to help improve the mining industry.

Earlier this year, the Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation (CEMI) in Sudbury and the Canada Mining Innovation Council (CMIC) formed a partnership.

They teamed up to submit a clean resources proposal to the Federal Innovation Supercluster Initiative.

A 'supercluster' is a consortium of stakeholders, including companies, post secondary institutions and not-for-profit organizations.

The federal government has $950-million to distribute towards the creation of five superclusters. Minister of innovation, sciences and economic development, Navdeep Bains will announced the five successful applicants next March.

Nine proposals were shortlisted on Wednesday, including the mining supercluster.

The proposal from CEMI and CMIC focuses on clean resources, clean technology and responsible sourcing of metals says Charles Nyabeze, the director of government relations for CEMI.
Charles Nyabeze is the Director of Business Development for the Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation in Sudbury, Ont. (Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation)

"The CLEER [Clean, Low-energy, Effective, Engaged, and Remediated] Supercluster is going to be able to help the mining industry to produce minerals in a more responsible and sustainable way."

"We think the future of mining requires us to mine in ways that are responsible from the energy utilization side, water consumption, and also what kind of a footprint we leave on the environment," Nyabeze says.

The initiative has the backing of major mining companies, like Vale and Glencore.

In fact, the CLEER supercluster proposal already has over $370 million in investments from mining services and supply sector companies and resource companies.

"The mining industry itself is the applicant, is the lead in this," Nyabeze says.

"What we're doing is working on behalf of [mining companies] playing the strength of the Canadian mining industry and to really make them globally relevant, especially as a leader in advances in the low carbon economy."

If CEMI and CMIC are not successful with the federal innovation supercluster initiative Nyabeze says they'll approach other provincial and federal government funding avenues.

"We want mining to be seen as a clean industry." 

Nyabeze adds that mining stakeholders want Canada to be seen as a leader in clean resources and responsible mineral extraction.

"What this means for the mining industry is we get to shape the perspective that people have about mining."


Angela Gemmill


Angela Gemmill is a CBC journalist who has covered news in Sudbury, Ont., for 14 years. Connect with her on Twitter @AngelaGemmill. Send story ideas to