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MIRARCO

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Overview

MIRARCO, or Mining Innovation, Rehabilitation, and Applied Research Corporation, has been providing innovative solutions for mining industry challenges and environmental research since our inception in 1998. We report to an independent Board of Directors, representing several companies in the sectors of mineral resources, services and supplies. We are a not-for-profit research arm of Laurentian University, Canada’s Mining University.

Our team of talented academic and industry professionals have expertise in applied research covering four core domains: Geomechanics, Safety, Decision Support software, and Sustainable Energy Solutions.

Our Mission is to be the partner of choice for providing innovative research for mining and related industries. In our 20+ years of existence, we have leveraged industrial dollars with government pledges in support of R&D. We also leverage academic research by training students at all levels through our contacts with the mining sector. This has resulted in a growing list of 140+ conference papers, well over 300 journal articles, books, book chapters, case studies and other publications. Past focus areas include Mine safety, Mine planning and design, Mine ventilation, Energy optimization, Environmental monitoring, Climate change impacts and adaptation, and of course, knowledge transfer.

As a research organization, our vision is to develop innovative technologies, applied solutions, and highly qualified individuals in support of a safe, productive, and sustainable global mining industry. Our core values rely on innovation, collaboration, responsiveness and social responsibility.

MIRARCO’s Energy Centre provides research and analysis to help the mining industry adopt sustainable, carbon-free energy solutions. Our research currently focuses on the potential adoption of small nuclear reactors (SMRs) for Communities and off-grid mines. Specifically, the Centre provides expert knowledge for economic case studies, problem-solving and fundamental research. The Centre develops its expertise via past cases and through our relationships with academia and other partners.

The Energy Centre is concentrating in these areas:

  • Developing methods for trace radiochemical analysis to support environmental assessments and licensing, and for decommissioning or post-removal verifications;
  • Working with stakeholders to develop economic assessments in support of SMR;
  • Understanding the energy needs of communities and the mining sector;
  • Evaluating the range of energy options for remote communities and mines – from SMRs to alternative low carbon energy and storage technologies;
  • Developing and delivering a clear science communications strategy;
  • Working with stakeholders to select appropriate energy technologies based on economics, environmental impacts, and regulatory constraints;
  • Helping stakeholders develop and operate energy solutions sustainably.

The Director of MIRARCO’s Energy Centre is the Bruce Power Chair for Sustainable Energy Solutions, Dr. François Caron.

MIRARCO is committed to the guiding principles of the SMR Roadmap “a call to action”. We believe that SMRs represent an exciting future opportunity for the mining industry, for Communities and for the Country as a whole. We see SMRs as a strong driver for sustainable economic growth, training for highly qualified personnel, and environmental responsibility by helping reduce carbon emissions to respond to climate change.

Our interest is to work with the Communities and the mining sector to develop strong and enduring relationships through deep engagement, informed decisions, mutual respect and to provide continuity plans through education, science communication and people. We see our role as linking the Mining and Power Industries, Communities and Academia. Particularly, by leveraging our relationship with Laurentian University and its Programs, we will have access to and train Highly Qualified People (HQPs) to engage with Communities and Indigenous Peoples, and develop & deliver clear Science Communication.

ACTIONS

DEMONSTRATION AND DEPLOYMENT
Governance models for Communities with mines
STATUS: IN PROGRESS
MI01

Responds to SMR Roadmap recommendation(s): 51, 52

ACTION

Evaluating the range of energy options, from SMRs to alternative energy and storage technologies

Helping communities and mining companies select appropriate energy technologies on economic, environmental and regulatory risk/benefits

Helping communities and mining companies develop and operate energy solutions sustainably.

EXPECTED RESULTS

A report, training package or toolkit that brings Nuclear technology and SMR knowledge in plain language and on par with other renewable energy sources;

A sustainable governance and management plan is delivered that includes best practices in sustainable energy, particularly involving Indigenous Peoples in leadership roles

The Community is economically and environmentally sustainable, and benefits from leave-behind capability and capacity. The project will carefully examine employment and retention of Indigenous Peoples.

CAPACITY, ENGAGEMENT, AND PUBLIC CONFIDENCE
Economic development using low-carbon alternative energies
STATUS: IN PROGRESS
MI02

Responds to SMR Roadmap recommendation(s): 10, 11, 12, 13, 19, 24, 31, 39, 48, 49, 50

ACTION

  • Understanding the energy needs of communities and the mining sector;
  • Developing a clear science communication strategy;
  • Delivering clear science communication

EXPECTED RESULTS

An engagement plan toolkit is developed for Communities and mining companies, particularly Indigenous People, by asking and engaging, not “telling”;

Ask and engage Communities to become a model to follow; Highly Qualified Personnel (HQPs) trained with the program ensure continuity;

Communication tools are developed for Communities and mining (static, webinars, web pages)

Project memory is disseminated in reports, peer-reviewed scientific literature, conferences, community forums, web pages.