Crush It! Challenge: Cleantech Solutions for the Mining Industry

Crush It! Challenge for Canadian Mining Industry Technology
Canada has had a long and successful history of sustainable mineral development. In 2017, Canada produced over 60 minerals and metals worth nearly $44 billion. The federal and provincial governments are committed to solving some of the country’s biggest challenges, striving for innovative solutions to environmental, economic, and social problems, including those in the Canadian mining industry.
As part of the Government of Canada’s Impact Canada Initiative, Natural Resources Canada has created the Crush It! Challenge.
The Crush It! Challenge is dedicated to developing the next generation of the mining industry with cleantech mining technology or process innovation that reduces or “crushes” the energy consumption of industry-standard comminution processing by 20% or more. The challenge has an application deadline of January 15, 2019 and a grand prize winner will be announced in March 2021. Winners may receive prizes ranging from $10,000 – $5,000,000 for projects that support a more sustainable mining sector.

What is the Crush It! Challenge?

Comminution, the act of reducing a material to fragments, is one of the world’s largest energy consumers, estimated to consume up to 4% of all global electric power generated. The energy requirements of crushing and grinding rock represents a significant cost for industries, especially for those located in remote and northern regions (reliant on diesel fuel) and contributes to the sector’s production of GHG emissions.
The Crush It! Challenge grand prize is a $5,000,000 grant to the proposed innovative clean technology for the Canadian mining industry.
The Crush It! Challenge is a competition challenging Canadian innovators to develop a new clean technology solution that transforms how energy is used for crushing and grinding rocks in the mining industry. Thechallenge is seeking to support the fight against climate change, increase the competitiveness of the Canadian mining industry, and revolutionize the mining cycle. The Crush It! Challenge will advance innovative concepts forward towards commercialization and adoption by the industry.

Eligible Projects

The Challenge is open to any innovative clean technology or process that, when implemented at a mining operation, would produce a transformational reduction in the quantity of energy (kWh) needed for crushing and grinding mined material at a mill into a usable product for downstream liberation. Those entering the Challenge should have projects that improve the crushing and grinding processes of mining. Solutions should:
  • Have the ability to be scaled and applied to many operations;
  • Generate transformative energy savings at the mining mill;
  • Increase productivity while reducing the environmental impacts of crushing and grinding rock; and
  • Have no negative impact on downstream activities.
Early stage projectsare eligible, including applied R&D, prototype development, and pre-commercial pilot projects, and all projects must have a technology readiness level (TRL) of 1 to 5.
Examples of clean technologies include new in-situ mining, bioleaching processes that free minerals without having to crush and grind the extracted ore in a mill, or grinding to a larger particle size while consuming less energy than industry standard.

Prize Breakdown

  • $10,000 for each small-scale innovator selected as one of the up to 12 Challenge semi-finalists to help them pitch their ideas to the Challenge Jury.
  • Up to $800,000 each for up to six finalists to build and test their clean technology solutions.
  • $5 million grant to the innovator who can demonstrate the best energy breakthrough in crushing and grinding rocks.

Who can Apply for the Crush It! Challenge

To be eligible to participate in the Challenge, applicants must fall under one of the following categories:
  • For-profit and not-for-profit organizations such as companies, industry associations, and research centres;
  • Indigenous organizations and groups;
  • Canadian post-secondary institutions; and
  • Independent small-scale innovators and individuals.
To qualify as a small-scale innovator, the applicant must hold one of the following statuses:
  • Not-for-profit organization;
  • Indigenous organization or group;
  • Canadian post-secondary institution;
  • Independent innovator, unaffiliated consortium, individual; or
  • Small Enterprise, including companies, industry associations, and research centres.

Deadlines for the Crush It! Challenge

The entire competition will extend over a couple of years. Key dates to take note of regarding the Crush it! Challenge include:
  • January 15, 2019: Call for Applications closes
  • February 2019: 12 semi-finalists announced (Round 2 start)
  • March 2019: Technical and video presentations during #DisruptMining Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada Convention
  • May 2019: Six finalists announced (Round 3 start)
  • November 2020: Final submission deadline
  • March 2021: Grand Prize winner announced

How to Apply for the Crush It! Challenge

Applications will only be accepted through the Impact Canada website via the designated application portal:
The deadline to apply for the Crush It!Challenge is January 15, 2019.
Submissions must include the completed Crush It! Challenge application form, documentation for supporting applicant eligibility, requirements for a small-scale innovator (if applicable), content form for information sharing, and a detailed project proposal.
To stay up to date on funding programs, challenges, and competitions available for Canadian innovators, please register for Mentor Works’ WeeklyE-Newsletter.

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