International Minerals Innovation Institute


About IMII

IMII is a non-profit organization jointly funded by industry and government and is committed to developing and implementing innovative education, training, research and development partnerships for supporting a world-class minerals industry.

IMII was established in 2012 to support and sustain the Saskatchewan minerals industry for the long-term benefit of Saskatchewan.  In its first ten years, IMII has sponsored more than 50 industry driven projects, valued at more than $24 million, and in doing so has leveraged more than $11 million in project funding from outside of its mineral industry and government members.

IMII’s unique collaboration model facilitates a research focus to meet the industry needs, present and future, for many areas including safety and environment.  This collaboration also helps to define the current and future needs in the education and training programming, including a focus on indigenous peoples and women in mining.  One distinctive way IMII is engaging in this matter is through the development of an innovation ecosystem for Saskatchewan’s minerals industry.  IMII defines an innovation ecosystem as a model of the economic dynamics formed between actors or entities whose functional goal is to enable technology development and innovation.  In this paper, IMII sets out a comprehensive view of the minerals industry’s innovation ecosystem to better link its components together and increase opportunities for collaboration on advancing innovations that matter to mining.

Strategic Pillars

IMII will continue to seek outputs and outcomes that positively impact Saskatchewan’s minerals industry and contribute to economic growth in the Province in the following four pillars:

  • Innovation Steward:  Drive the Innovation Value Chain and Transform Innovative Ideas into Practice
  • Research, Development & Demonstration and Education & Training:  Enable Sustainable Innovation
  • Qualified & Representative Workforce:  Operationalize Equity, Diversity & Inclusion
  • Operate & Govern IMII Consistently:  Maintain Robust and Transparent Processes to Deliver Good Performance

Board of Directors Representation

A Board of Directors made up of representatives of 6 to 20 member organizations oversees IMII.  Industry representatives must always be in the majority.  Board members are selected in the following ways:

  • Representatives of large companies (those with revenues greater than $100M and paying $100,000 per year) are automatically on the Board
  • One Representative of Mid-sized companies (those with revenues between $25M and $100M and paying $25,000 per year) elected from among its peers
  • One Representative of Small companies (those with revenues less than $25M and paying $5,000 per year)
  • One Representative of Supply Chain companies elected among its peers
  • One Representative designated by the Saskatchewan Mining Association
  • One Representative designated by the University of Saskatchewan
  • One Representative designated by the University of Regina
  • One Representative designated by Saskatchewan Polytechnic
  • One Representative for the Institutions group elected from among their peers
  • Two Representatives designated by the Government of Saskatchewan

Board of Directors

Tanya Smith is Head of Planning & Technical for Potash at BHP, where her focus is driving technical excellence and innovation in geosciences, resource engineering and extraction, land and mineral tenement management, and strategic business planning. Tanya has 25 years of experience in the mining industry in Canada, including technical leadership roles in both operations and corporate environments, mine planning, project management, and technical stewardship.


Tanya is a registered Professional Engineer and holds a Bachelor of Science in Mining Engineering from Queen’s University, a Master of Science from the University of Saskatchewan, and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Illinois.

Jeremy Breker is the Vice-President, Technical Services for Cameco Corporation.  He was previously General Manager for the Cameco Cigar Lake and Rabbit Lake Mines in Northern Saskatchewan.  Over the past 20 years he has delivered major capital projects in excess of $1 billion CAD, developed capital project life cycle systems for corporations, and assembled top performing teams that have conducted work in Canada, United States, and abroad.  Past roles have included project director, program manager, project manager, engineering manager, and manager of the Project Management Office.


He is a Professional Engineer registered in Saskatchewan and received his B.Sc. Civil Engineering from the University of Saskatchewan.

Murray Schultz is the Global leader of Mosaic’s Applied Process Technology Team and holds a B.Sc. Chemistry with distinction from Briar Cliffe University, Iowa.  Murray has over 20 years of mining experience where he has spent time in all of Mosaic’s operations at various levels inventing new process technologies and driving successful implementation through tactical change management leadership.  Murray also sits on the Board of the Professional Association of Chemists in Saskatchewan and spends time as a technical mentor for the University of Saskatchewan Engineering Graduate program, the Saskatchewan Mining Association Educational Program.  Murray’s passion is witnessing team’s coming together to develop success by creating a culture of curiosity that relentlessly solves challenging industry problems. 

Craig Funk, P.Eng, P.Geo is the Director of GeoServices & Land at Nutrien. Craig studied at the University of Saskatchewan where he earned a B. Sc. in Engineering Geophysics and an M. Sc. in Geophysics. Craig has worked in hard- and soft-rock mining, geotechnical consulting, and the oil and gas services industry in a variety of locations, including South Africa, United States, and Canada. Craig joined PotashCorp in 2008 as Chief Geophysicist and has progressed into the current role at Nutrien where he oversees exploration, mineral and surface lands, mineral properties reporting, and geoscience applications and special projects.


Craig is passionate about research and innovation within the extraction industries. Data management systems he developed at Halliburton for remote monitoring of hydro-fracture growth have been used on 1,000’s of successful hydrocarbon projects around the world. He has initiated or contributed to various research projects at PotashCorp, Nutrien and the Saskatchewan mining community in safety, geology, geophysics, rock mechanics, mechanical engineering, mineral processing and data sciences.


Craig and his wife grew up in Saskatchewan and they have 3 daughters, with only one still at home. He enjoys carpentry, and spends evening and weekends building innovative things from wood, including wooden bikes.

Rashid Bashir is the President of Hatley Engineering and Applied Technologies Inc. and an Associate Professor of Geotechnical/Geoenvironmental engineering in the Department of Civil Engineering at Lassonde School of Engineering, York University. He co-founded Hatley Engineering in the year 2020. Hatley Engineering is a project development company based out of the Innovation Place Research Park in the City of Saskatoon.


Rashid has been active in the mining business for more than 15 years. Rashid worked as the Corporate Mine Hydrogeologist for Cameco Corporation in Saskatoon, SK, engaged in dewatering of the flooded Cigar Lake Mine and Shaft No. 2. He was accountable technical support to Cameco's corporate development group to assess acquisitions around the globe. He has also testified in front of Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission as a subject matter expert in mine hydrogeology. Rashid worked as a Senior Geotechnical Engineer for Golder in their Saskatoon office as a member of the Unsaturated Soils Group and has designed a number of soil covers for tailings management facilities on four different continents. Rashid was a section leader and one of the lead authors for the initial screening reports for two sites in Northern Saskatchewan, as part of site selection for Canada’s Deep Geological Repository for Used Nuclear Fuel.


Rashid has more than 20 years of experience in areas of Unsaturated Soils Mechanics, Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, Mine & Contaminant Hydrogeology and Computational Mechanics. He is also a qualified Safety, Health, Environment and Quality (SHEQ) auditor and an incident investigator. Rashid is a registered professional engineer in the provinces of Saskatchewan and Ontario.


Rashid holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering from University of Engineering and Technology, Taxila Pakistan and a Master of Science degree in Geotechnical Engineering from King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.  He earned his Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario with specialization in contaminant hydrogeology and computational mechanics.  His current research focusses on effect of climate change on geotechnical and geo-environmental designs with focus on Mining Industry. His research is funded by grants from Nuclear Waste Management Origination (NWMO), Ministry of Transportation Ontario (MTO) and Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada. Rashid is also author/co-author of more than 18 refereed journals and more than 34 conference papers in the areas of Contaminant Hydrogeology, Soil Science, Mining Hydrogeology, Unsaturated Flow, Contaminant Transport, Geotechnical, and Reliability Engineering.

David Boehm is the Assistant Deputy Minister, Corporate Services and Accountability with the Ministry of Advanced Education. Prior to joining the Ministry, he was part of the administration team at the University of Regina. Earlier in his career he work in the agri-food industry with roles in both the private and public sectors.


His education includes a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Economics from the University of Saskatchewan and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Regina. Designations include Charter Professional Accountant and Canadian Risk Management.


He also serves on the board of the Saskatchewan Risk and Insurance Management Society.


David grew up near Allan, SK and now resides in Regina with his wife and two sons.

Larry Long Sr. Vice-President Operations, Potash with Nutrien. 

  • Born and grew up in Riverbank, 15 km west of Sussex, New Brunswick.  My family were Dairy Farmers.  I was the youngest of 4 children.
  • Graduated May 1988 from the University of New Brunswick with a BSc. Geology.
  • Work History:
    • Noranda Exploration (Bathurst, NB)
    • Three-D GeoConsultants (Fredericton, NB)
    • Potacan (Cassidy Lake, NB)
    • Nanisivik Mines, Breakwater Resources (Baffin Island, NU)
    • Ekati, BHP Billiton (Yellowknife, NT)
    • Nutrien (PotashCorp)
      • General Manager at Nutrien Allan Division and Rocanville Division
      • Currently Senior Vice President Operations, Potash for Nutrien
  • Board member of the Saskatchewan Mining Association since 2011
  • Chair of the Potash Section of the Saskatchewan Mining Association since 2011-2019, Vice Chair since 2019-2021 and currently Chair of the SMA
  • Member of Advisory Board for School of Engineering University of Saskatchewan since 2019
  • IMII Board of Directors, 2021

Chandra McDougald is the Vice-President of Post-Secondary Programming at Northlands College.   Since the fall of 2002, Chandra has been a team member of Northlands College.   During the past 20 years, she has been an Instructor, Program Coordinator, University Coordinator, Director Mine School, Manager University Programming, Vice President, and Interim President & CEO. 


Chandra has a Diploma in Environmental Engineering Technology, Bachelor Degree in General Study Arts & Science and a Master of Education in Educational leadership.


She lives in La Ronge with her husband and 2 children.  They enjoy fishing, camping, and experiencing everything northern Saskatchewan has to offer.

As president and CEO of the Saskatchewan Polytechnic, Dr. Larry Rosia leads the province’s primary provider of technical education and skills training. Saskatchewan Polytechnic serves 26,000 distinct students and offers programs that touch every sector of the economy.


Dr. Rosia is responsible for leading the development of Saskatchewan Polytechnic’s vision and for providing strategic direction to the organization, enabling it to sustain its momentum and capitalize on new opportunities. His priorities include ensuring that students have access to a high-quality, innovative post-secondary education, that employers have access to a highly skilled and qualified workforce that contributes to Saskatchewan’s prosperity, and that Saskatchewan Polytechnic nurtures a positive and vibrant workplace environment.


Before joining Saskatchewan Polytechnic in July 2012, Dr. Rosia was dean of the School of Construction at SAIT Polytechnic in Calgary, Alberta, a position he held since 1999. His career in education spans more than 35 years, as an instructor, program chair, revenue generating coordinator, marketing manager and dean. He has more than 20 years of leadership experience in educational administration and has served in advisory roles to community, provincial and municipal committees. He has also been a member of the boards of several regional, national and international organizations. Currently he serves as a board member for the International Mineral Innovation Institute (IMII), Polytechnics Canada, the Saskatchewan Labour Market Task Force, and is a member of the University of Regina Senate.


Dr. Rosia is an alumnus of SAIT Polytechnic and a lifelong learner. He has a background in telecommunications engineering, adult education and educational policy and administration, and in 2006 completed his PhD in academic leadership at the University of Calgary. He attended the Executive Leadership Program at Harvard University. Notable recognition includes the SAIT Board of Governor Award for Business and Industry Partnerships, the Conference Board of Canada Award for Business and Industry Partnerships, and the Chair Academy International Exemplary Leadership Award for his service to education and to Alberta.


Dr. Rosia is an adjunct professor at Royal Roads University in Victoria, British Columbia, and a well-respected ambassador for the post-secondary community. He authored a book titled "The Successful College President."

Dr. Baljit Singh is a highly accomplished researcher, educator and administrator in the field of veterinary medicine, with specific expertise in lung biology and anatomy. He began his role as Vice-President Research at the University of Saskatchewan in 2021, after serving as Dean of the University of Calgary Faculty of Veterinary Medicine (2016 – 2021), and serving as Associate Dean of Research at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan (2011 – 2016).Dr. Singh has received the 3M National Teaching Fellowship, the University of Saskatchewan’s Provost’s Prize for Innovative Practice of Teaching and Learning, University of Saskatchewan Master Teacher Award, and the Carl J. Norden Distinguished Teacher Award. He has also received the Outstanding Veterinary Anatomist Award from the American Association of Veterinary Anatomists, as well as the Pfizer Award for Research Excellence. In 2013 he was named a fellow of the American Association of Anatomists.  


Dr. Singh’s research has focused on cell and molecular biology of lung inflammation. He is the author or co-author of more than ninety peer-reviewed journal articles and books, and has supervised the research training of more than eighty undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral students.


Dr. Singh’s formal education includes a Bachelor of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry (BVSc and AH) and Master of Veterinary Science (MVSc) from Punjab Agricultural University in Punjab; a PhD from the University of Guelph; post-doctoral training at Texas A&M University and Columbia University, New York; and he completed licensing requirements set by the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) and American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) for foreign veterinary graduates.

Arnfinn Prugger (Ph. D., P. Geo.) was born in Kirkenes Norway in 1957, emigrating to Canada with his parents in 1960 (where his father worked in the fledgling Saskatchewan potash industry), spending his formative years in Saskatoon. Arnfinn’s first job in mining was in 1976 at the Vanscoy Potash Mine. He graduated with a B. Sc. in Geological Engineering (Geophysics) from Queen’s University in 1982, then pursued graduate studies at the University of Saskatchewan, completing his M. Sc. in 1985 and his Ph. D. in 1994. Arnfinn worked at PotashCorp (now Nutrien) from 1990 through 2018, ending his career as Vice President, Technical Services.


Arnfinn was a Member of the Board of the Saskatchewan Potash Producers Association from 2012 through 2018, and he was a Board Member of Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile S. A. (SQM), a lithium and fertilizer producer, from 2015 through 2019 (serving as Chair of the SQM Safety, Health & Environment Committee for this entire time).

Arnfinn is still active in the applied research community. His research interests include development of real-time microseismic and rock mechanics monitoring systems in potash mines, development of improved in-mine instrumentation / monitoring systems, the application of geophysical techniques to many different potash mining problems, and mine safety research (everything from reducing groundfall hazards to the mitigation of inflow risk). Arnfinn was a Canadian Institute of Mining (CIM) Distinguished Lecturer for the 2018 / 2019 academic year.


Al Shpyth, MES, MELP

Al Shpyth joined the IMII in December 2015 and became executive director on January 1, 2016. Al brings more than 25 years of consulting, government and industry experience related to mining and the minerals sector to the IMII. A graduate of the University of Saskatchewan (in 1986), he obtained his masters degrees in environmental studies from York University (in 1991) and in environmental law and policy from the Vermont Law School, where he graduated with highest honours, in 2014.


As a consultant, Al worked on environmental assessments and feasibility studies for mining projects in Saskatchewan (potash), British Columbia (copper) and Manitoba (silica sand). While with the Government of Saskatchewan, Al was the lead author of the government’s Position Paper on Proposed Uranium Mining Developments in Northern Saskatchewan in the mid-1990s, and helped to set the public policy framework for approvals of the McArthur River, Cigar Lake and McClean Lake projects. He also conceived of and created the Northern Mines Monitoring Secretariat and Environmental Quality Committees to facilitate community involvement in the regulation of the uranium mining industry in northern Saskatchewan. In industry, Al held a number of progressively more responsible positions within Uranerz Exploration and Mining Ltd. and Cameco Corporation in areas as diverse as public affairs, human resources, special projects (ISO 14001), policy and systems development, government relations, information systems & technology, and business technology services. His work for Cameco was both national and international in scope, having been seconded to the Canadian Nuclear Association in Ottawa as director, environmental and regulatory affairs, and represented the company as their first managing director in the Central Asian Republic of Kazakhstan.


In Saskatchewan, Al served several years as the chair of the Uranium Section of the Saskatchewan Mining Association, and on the board of directors of the Saskatoon Co-op. He also served as a volunteer board member. President and Past President of the Saskatchewan Environment Industry and Managers Association.

Marylou Langridge

Marylou Langridge holds a BAC from the University of Saskatchewan and brings more than 25 years experience in administration and accounting for the non-profit, charity and manufacturing industries.  Throughout the years, she has had the opportunity to develop, implement and present programs on missing children as well as coordinate and implement fund raising events and volunteer recruitment and training.  Marylou also owns and manages One Stop Administration.