Mining supercluster proposal officially submitted; Sudbury expecting spinoffs

If the federal government approves a mining supercluster, it could translate into big spinoffs for Sudbury. Last month the proposal from the Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation, and the Canada Mining Innovation Council was shortlisted for part of the $950 million federal money up for grabs. Because of the amount of industry-related work that already goes on in Sudbury, a mining supercluster would translate into jobs and spinoffs.

Up to 5 proposals to be chosen in May for Government of Canada’s Innovation Superclusters Initiative

(Gino Donato/Canadian Press)

If the federal government approves the creation of a mining supercluster it could mean good things for Sudbury.

In November, the proposal from the Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation (CEMI) and the Canada Mining Innovation Council (CMIC) was shortlisted.

The full application to the Government of Canada's Innovation Superclusters Initiative was officially submitted this week.

A supercluster is a group of stakeholders who work together to move a particular industry forward. It is made up of companies, post secondary institutions, not-for-profit organizations and even municipalities.

Up to five proposals will be chosen in May 2018 to get major federal funding to create superclusters in specific industries.

Genesis of idea came from Sudbury

It was just over a year ago that local Members of Parliament told the city and mining stakeholders about the opportunity from the federal government, says Ian Wood, Sudbury's director of economic development.
The city's director of economic development Ian Wood says Sudbury would benefit with jobs and economic spinoffs if the federal government approves a national mining supercluster. (Marina von Stackelberg/CBC)

Initially, the proposal for a mining supercluster began in Sudbury, but due to the scope of the idea, Wood says it turned into a national effort. The community then began to convince other partners to come on board.

"We have a lot to offer both nationally and internationally and we believe this [supercluster] program will allow us to do that and reach our full potential," Wood says.

The mining proposal seeks about $185 million from the federal government to support research in commercialization specific to the mining industry; to make it competitive globally in things like water sustainability, energy sustainability and environmental sustainability. It is meant to continue to advance the mining industry to the next level.

Benefits: jobs, research, economic spinoff

This would benefit mining companies around Sudbury, says Wood. Because of the amount of industry-related work that already goes on in the city, a mining supercluster would translate into jobs and economic spinoffs.

Wood also adds that Sudbury has some of the best research in hard rock, innovation and commercialization. Many of the projects supported by a supercluster would occur here.

"We're very excited as to where we are. We know there's a lot of work and competition out there, but we believe that we really are a truly global cluster here in Sudbury."

Should the mining proposal not be chosen for the supercluster initiative, Wood says there are certain elements of the plan that could be developed either with companies directly or with additional support from various levels of government.

"We're not getting off this train no matter what happens."

About the Author

Angela Gemmill


Angela Gemmill is a CBC journalist who has covered news in Sudbury, Ont., for 13 years. Connect with her on Twitter @AngelaGemmill. Send story ideas to