With an election just 13 weeks away, the federal government revealed July 19 it will invest $1.395 million to expand the NORCAT research facilities in Levack, northeast of Sudbury.
The money will be spent to create a new 12,000-square-foot surface building located next to NORCAT’s Underground Centre.
An additional $100,000 is being invested in the Revolution Mining Software company of Sudbury as part of the Women’s Entrepreneurship Strategy.
The announcement was made at the NORCAT office on Maley Drive by Sudbury MP Paul Lefebvre.
The new service and support building is designated to be used by mining technology companies to develop, test and demonstrate innovative mining technologies. The building will include shared spaces for offices, meeting rooms, workshops, protective equipment rooms, change rooms, showers and storage areas, said a FedNor news release.
NORCAT’s underground centre has been used for several years for mining companies to test new and innovative mining equipment in a real time mining environment.
Lefebvre commented on what he called “the great work” being done by NORCAT at the underground test facility that he said gives Sudbury and Canada an advantage.
“The fact that we have this underground mine that we can test equipment right here, it’s one of the only ones in the world. It really gives us that advantage.
“When we have those advantages in Northern Ontario we need to invest in those to make sure that we can do more.
Lefebvre said the investment and this facility is not only for Sudbury, Ontario or for Canada. He said it is an international business that can service the global mining industry. The infrastructure at the NORCAT facility gives it the stamp of approval that labels it as a world class facility, he said.
“We will be able to attract even more international businesses,” said Lefebvre. “This will create good jobs.
He said the full investment, almost $1.4 million, would be a welcome addition to the NORCAT operations.
“It is an important development that will provide an environment where companies can innovate and enhance the productivity, safety and competiveness of the global mining industry,” said Lefebvre.
He added that one of the pillars of the Canadian Minerals and Metals Plan is support innovation to help the Canadian mining industry.
NORCAT CEO Don Duval thanked Lefebvre and the FedNor team for their investment along with the support of the mining industry in Sudbury and Northern Ontario. He thanked Glencore for the leasing arrangement that allowed NORCAT to set up the underground mining centre.
Duval said the FedNor investment would be improving NORCAT’s brand as the one-stop shopping place for training, development and innovation for the global mining industry.
“When you connect the buyers of innovation, the mining companies with the builders, if you can actually see, touch and feel emerging technologies in an operating mine environment you will encourage the adoption decision of these new technologies,” said Duval.
Lefebvre also announced that FedNor was investing $100,000 through the federal Women’s Entrepreneurship Strategy, to support women-owned businesses across Canada.
In this case the investment was directed to Revolution Mining Software Inc. of Sudbury where Lorrie Fava is the president.
Fava said after being in operation for five years, the funding would enable her company to expand its training and consulting projects involving mine planning and scheduling optimization.
“I am very proud to be part of the natural resources sector which is immensely important to our country and really privileged that the environment here in Northern Ontario is so supportive,” said Fava.
Other FedNor funding announced July 19 included $887,500 to the City of Temiskaming Shores to organize its sixth annual Northern Ontario Mining Showcase pavilion, staged every March at the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada mining show in Toronto, and also for a pavilion at the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy & Petroleum annual convention in Vancouver in early May.