International Minerals Innovation Institute

The International Minerals Innovation Institute’s goal is to advance innovations that matter to the minerals industry in Saskatchewan. It does so by stewarding innovation development from ideation to demonstration with and for its minerals industry members. IMII is unique in that it focuses on innovation and sustainability not only for technology development but workforce development too.  

Let’s get into some of our ventures supporting innovation in the Saskatchewan minerals industry.


DEMOday is an IMII annual pitch event hosted in association with the Saskatchewan Industrial and Mining Suppliers Association (SIMSA). Each year, we invite start-ups, inventors, and supply chain companies to pitch their solutions to minerals industry problems and gaps. 

Pitch areas include technology, equipment, products, and processes that can improve the industry. These ideas often come from those within the innovation ecosystem, with a unique understanding of the areas that truly need innovative solutions. Sometimes they come from outside the existing ecosystem – from other industrial sectors or jurisdictions.  

Each year, the chosen teams present for a panel of judges made of experts from IMII’s mineral company members—BHP, Nutrien, Mosaic, Cameco and Fission Uranium. This gives presenters the chance to connect with minerals companies, grow their businesses and ideas, and implement real change and innovation in the Sask minerals industry. 

This year, six innovators were invited to pitch their ideas in association with the 15th Annual Saskatchewan Mining Supply Chain Forum. The pitches ranged from technologies in energy efficiency, water solutions, advanced chemicals, and emissions reductions—all such key considerations in the industry today. 

Innovation Award

IMII’s Innovation Award winner is selected from among the DEMOday applications submitted, and this award represents the most innovative technologies emerging from the supply chain for the minerals industry in the province. The technology selected will not only demonstrate its innovation in design or engineering but will also be considered for the impact its adoption has or could have on the way the minerals industry operates.

Because the winning solution is developed and selected by those with a pulse on the industry’s needs, each year we make great strides in innovation when handing out this award. The winning idea of each year is considered for a technology demonstration project, giving these real-world solutions the chance to have real-world impact. 
To give you some perspective on the kinds of ideas we see, this year’s winner of the Innovation Award was the Extract Energy Heat Engine. This technology harvests low-grade heat from industrial applications, including the minerals industry. When applied, the heat engine repurposes wasted heat to improve energy efficiency and lower greenhouse gas emissions.

AES Challenge

This challenge was specifically designed to advance innovative energy technologies in mine sites. In collaboration with our members and the Challenge Dialogue System Network, we invited innovators to pitch their solutions for greenhouse gas emissions reduction and energy efficiency. The goal of this $500,000 alternative energy systems challenge was to bring new technologies to the attention of the minerals industry. 
Growing Greener Innovations won the latest challenge with their innovative solution Grengine. They are a Canadian energy technology company focused on green battery technology, engineering and manufacturing batteries, battery management systems, and battery energy storage solutions.

Innovation in Minerals Education

Shifting focus from the real-world industry side of innovation to laying the groundwork, the IMII is dedicated to improving educational opportunities and programs around the minerals industry. 

We have offered two annual scholarships for five years: 

  1. The iMpowered Scholarship, awarded to an Indigenous, mature, woman, or new immigrant student to assist them on their journey to a fulfilling career in the minerals industry. 
  2. The Mining Futures Award, recognizing a student enrolled in geological, chemical, or mechanical engineering with a plan to work in the minerals industry. 

These scholarships offer bright minds financial assistance as they work through their educational journey. 

In addition, and with valuable partners, we sponsor and support initiatives such as STEM+, Diggin’ Digital Bootcamps, multiple teacher training programs, Micro-Credentialing, Gender Equity in Mining, and the Digital Transformation in Potash Mining Program. From children’s day camps to university courses, we want to prepare and excite the next generation for a career in minerals. 

A bright, innovative future for the Saskatchewan minerals industry starts with bringing in a diverse set of ideas. That’s why we put so much of our focus on education. 
We envision a future where Saskatchewan is the innovation hub for the minerals industry, and our events, initiatives, and competitions are moving that needle. Thank you to our member companies, appreciated partners, and enthusiastic participants for working towards this goal with us. We look forward to many more years of bolstering technology development and adoption in this key industry and preparing it for the future.