Inco Innovation Centre/Atlantic Innovation Fund Project
Memorial University is a significant contributor to technological advancement in Atlantic Canada and has programs in place to foster innovation in a variety of industries, including the mineral exploration, mining and mineral processing industries.
The investment by Inco of $20 million to enable the establishment and operation of the Inco Innovation Centre (IIC) at Memorial University has enabled the university to substantially increase research capacity in this imporant area in Atlantic Canada.
Memorial University has leveraged the Inco contribution through further investments from the Atlantic Innovation Fund, the Canada Foundation for Innovation, and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council.
The overall scope of research in the Inco Innovation Centre is to conduct research to develop new or improved methods and technologies for the exploration for and exploitation of mineral deposits. Particular importance has been placed on the establishment of the discipline of process engineering within the faculty of engineering and applied science at Memorial with an emphasis on research in hydrometallurgical processing in the mineral industry. Other major areas of research at the IIC include geophysics, with an emphasis on seismic methods for exploration and delineation, and mineralogy and geochemistry. These areas of research will build on the current research strength of the Department of Earth Science. Using this base of R&D, the Centre will initiate and develop techniques and services establishing itself as an effective mining innovation centre.
Memorial University is confident that the work performed at the IIC will make an impressive contribution to innovation in the mining sector. Investments in the Centre are expected to create knowledge, new products, processes and services of value to the mining industry and other sectors. New hardware and software tools and methodology will lead to cost effective seismic data acquisition and interpretation in exploration for mineral deposits. State-of-the-art analytical geochemical systems will lead to an improved understanding of mineral systems and support the development of more efficient extractive metallurgy technology.
The Inco Innovation Centre will be the core of Memorial’s planned new undergraduate and graduate programs in process engineering. This new discipline stream in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science will position Memorial at the forefront of North American universities in the education of process engineers. The IIC will be home to the new research in process hydrometallurgy, process control and risk and environmental engineering.
The Inco Innovation Centre represents a significant investment in new personnel (approximately 55 new research positions), new leading-edge research equipment (approximately $20 million) and technology. Memorial University recognizes the importance of attracting such investments and using them to further both our fundamental research objectives and our collaboration with the private sector. The investments in the Centre are incremental: adding to Memorial’s already extensive research and development capabilities. Most of the proposed activities at the Centre are industry focused with potential for commercialization.
The degree to which Memorial University is able to expand and capitalize on its capabilities will depend on its ability to facilitate its vision and strategy for success. The Atlantic Innovation Fund is an important contributor to the advancement of new technologies in Atlantic Canada and a key partner for success in the endeavour.