International Minerals Innovation Institute

The International Minerals Innovation Institute (IMII) is an innovation-supporting network driven by the needs of its minerals industry members. With regards to innovation, industry identified several needs including greater leveraging of government funding agencies, greater innovation success rate, greater member innovation capture rate and greater likelihood of commercialization of research & development results. Developing an innovation ecosystem is a necessary step to realizing these business outcomes, and bringing sustainable and long-term economic, environmental and social benefits to the province.

An innovation ecosystem is a model of the economic dynamics formed between actors or entities whose functional goal is to enable technology development and innovation. It includes the array of participants and resources that contribute to and are necessary for ongoing innovation in an economy, region or industry. The innovation ecosystem for Saskatchewan’s minerals industry is comprised of three core elements:

  • The education and research capacity available to the minerals industry (in post-secondary institutions and other research organizations);
  • The business enterprises that make up the minerals industry (mining companies and service & technology suppliers); and
  • Those agencies and entities which provide capital and services (such as funding agencies, accelerators and incubators) to those advancing innovations of value to the minerals industry.

IMII’s first effort at documenting the Saskatchewan minerals industry’s innovation ecosystem has resulted in one that is largely but not exclusively made up of its members – as these companies, organizations and institutions have demonstrated shared interests, purposes and values. Innovation is, however, a shared interest and purpose of others, such as federal funding agencies, and their inclusion provides the opportunity – in addition to funding and support, for solutions to meet industry needs from outside of the province and sector.

On reading this report, you will see that Saskatchewan has many of the inputs necessary for innovation. Some, such as high quality scientific and technical personnel, a supporting R&D infrastructure within the post-secondary system and at other research organizations, a supplier community dedicated to minerals, and sources of funding for R&D, have established relationships with the major mining companies. Other elements, however, are either missing or not sufficiently developed to play a meaningful role in mining’s innovation ecosystem. This is particularly the case for business accelerators and incubators.

IMII will support those already in the minerals industry innovation ecosystem, and welcome those who could help close the gaps, to achieve innovations that matter to mining.

For a copy of the report, please click here.