Canada Invests in Innovative Technology for the Canadian Mining Industry

September 17, 2020

Canada’s mining and minerals industry is important to communities across the country. Developing Canada's natural resources in more sustainable and responsible ways drives our economy, reduces our environmental impacts and creates jobs. This will be more important than ever as we reopen the economy and plan our recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.

The Honourable Seamus O’Regan, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, today announced a $1.6-million investment for the development of an active clay analyzer for the Canadian mining industry.

The project, led by the Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC) with Suncor Energy Inc. and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) as partners, will develop a technology to provide near real-time measurements of the active clay content in oil sands and mine tailings. Project collaborators are also providing in-kind and financial contributions, bringing the overall project value to $2.29 million.

Clay is naturally present in varying quantities within minerals deposits and presents a significant tailings management challenge. The clay analyzer will assist in near real-time measurements of clay concentrations, which will allow the companies to develop strategies for effective process control and tailings management options that can reduce the use of chemicals, resulting in savings on operations costs and reducing tailing deposit footprints. The technology is also applicable to different types of mines, such as diamond, potash and oil sands, and will have various environmental benefits, including improved water management and reduced land disturbance, leading to progressive reclamation of mine sites.

This project is funded through Natural Resources Canada’s Clean Growth Program, which invests in clean technology research and development projects in Canada’s energy, mining and forest sectors. The program is a $155-million investment fund that helps emerging clean technologies further reduce their impacts on air, land and water while enhancing competitiveness and creating jobs.

The government remains committed to building a clean energy future and to supporting our natural resource sectors through this tough economic time.


“Through strong partnerships, innovation and environmental protection, we are building a more sustainable and competitive mining industry.”  - The Honourable Seamus O’Regan, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources

“Led by SRC, the project will provide mining operators with an important measurement device that can be used in concert with process control techniques to automate and enhance the efficacy of tailings treatment, thereby improving water recycling and accelerating reclamation. It is expected there will be savings in operating costs and in energy and water use and a reduction in waste, which will create efficiencies and reduce the overall environmental impact of mining.” - The Honourable Jeremy Harrison, Minister Responsible for the Saskatchewan Research Council

The official news release can be found on the Natural Resources Canada website.

two research engineers work on development of an active clay analyzer