NORCAT and Vale have teamed up to launch the NORCAT Open Innovation Challenge to, they say, facilitate and enhance Vale’s capabilities to bring new, state-of-the-art technologies into its mining operations and accelerate the rate of technology adoption in the global mining industry.
As current global events disrupt regular business operations and the global mining industry continues to undergo a digital transformation, mining companies around the world are looking to become more agile and resilient by embracing digitalisation and investing in technologies related to safety, sustainability and operational efficiency.
The NORCAT Open Innovation Challenge is looking to identify technology-enabled solutions to three common problem areas identified by Vale. Specifically, the NORCAT Open Innovation Challenge is focusing on the issues of smelter acid management, underground operator alertness and excessive water and run of material in underground mines.
“As the global ‘one-stop-shop’ for all that is the future of mining technology, our goal is to facilitate and encourage innovative and disruptive thinking within the mining technology ecosystem,” Don Duval, NORCAT CEO, says. “As the mining industry continues to transform, it requires new levels of openness, innovation and collaboration. Challenge-based initiatives have proven to be effective in uncovering new ideas and different points of view, and we are excited to partner with Vale to further the acceleration, adoption and deployment of emerging technologies that are poised to transform the global mining industry.”
The NORCAT Open Innovation Challenge is open to innovative start-ups, entrepreneurs and problem solvers from across Canada. Successful applications must have the capacity and confidence to develop and deploy a proof-of-concept inside one of Vale’s operations in Sudbury, Ontario, by March 2021. As part of the process, Vale will provide technical oversight and feedback to winning entries over a four-month period to prepare for product development and testing prior to completion.
Anthony Downs, Manager of Digital and Information Technology for Vale’s Base Metal Operations, said: “At Vale, we are obsessed with safety and risk mitigation. Open innovation is a key enabler that allows us to rapidly identify and trial novel risk management solutions. When they prove effective, we move them to implementation within our operations at an accelerated pace.
“Vale is pleased to partner with NORCAT on this challenge and looks forward to reviewing the innovative solutions the challenge inspires.”
As part of its mandate, NORCAT continues to identify and engage with mining technology companies from around the world to support the development and adoption of innovative technologies poised to transform the global mining industry.
This is not the first time NORCAT and Vale have teamed up. Earlier this year, the two announced plans to develop and deploy an innovative blended learning program that, they said, would transform how the global mining industry trains and educates its workforce.