International Minerals Innovation Institute


DEMOday and Innovation

Innovation is important to Saskatchewan’s minerals industry and the province.  That is why the International Minerals Innovation Institute (IMII) was formed in 2012, and introduced new funds to support research, development and demonstration of innovations that matter to mining in 2017. It is also why IMII, in cooperation with the Saskatchewan Industrial and Mining Suppliers Association (SIMSA), introduced DEMOday in 2018.

DEMOday invites inventors, start-ups and supply chain companies to apply to pitch their innovative solutions – equipment, technologies, products or processes that solve an industry problem for one or more of IMII’s minerals company members.  DEMOday is about looking:

  • For new insights and inspiration from suppliers in addressing their toughest technology challenges
  • To build connections with the industry’s supply chain in specific areas of interest
  • To advance a technology development, demonstration, or deployment collaboration
  • To meet new innovative talent to explore solutions

Companies selected to participate in DEMOday will present their technologies to a panel of experts from IMII’s principal minerals companies’ members – BHP, Cameco, Mosaic and Nutrien.  This opportunity is for those:

  • Interested in building new industry partnerships in response to a technological need
  • Interested in connecting with the IMII and other funders to support technology development, demonstration, and deployment
  • Looking to grow their company through innovation
  • Looking to learn more about the latest challenges faced by Saskatchewan’s minerals industry

This opens the door to having their innovations considered for financial and in-kind support to help move them down the path to commercialization through their further development, demonstration or deployment.  

On May 18, 2022, ten finalists presented their innovative solutions and technologies to Saskatchewan’s leading minerals producers.

Innovators that pitched to IMII’s minerals company members include:


New this year – IMII’s minerals industry members – BHP, Cameco, Mosaic and Nutrien, have submitted technology needs that could be met by suppliers, inventors, start-ups, and other innovators either through the development or demonstration of a new, innovative technology.

For 2022, innovative ideas or solutions are being sought in the following areas:

  • Technologies/instrumentation which would allow the potash industry to better characterize rock mass deformation over time
  • Technologies which would allow the potash industry to “see forward” 10 to 100 metres in front of the mining machine without drilling to improve safety
  • Technologies which would allow the potash industry to contain/eliminate area dust in the potash drying process
  • Technologies which could assist the minerals industry in tracing, tracking, and reporting on ESG indicators and position Saskatchewan’s minerals as among the most sustainable in global markets
  • Technologies or processes which would allow the industry to effectively utilize low-grade heat or heat sources with low/no GHG emissions for mine and/or mill processes or air/space heating
  • No emission technologies for back up power generation or storage/distribution at industry scale (i.e. MW)
  • No emissions locomotives for use on site (i.e. assembling rail trains and moving rail cars)
  • Technologies which would automate core chemistry analysis (of solids and/or brine micro-fluidics) underground to inform mill processing and/or underground potash layer geology
  • Technologies which could fully automate conveyor belt and /or mine face sampling of potash
  • Technologies which could advance employee safety if adapted from other/adjacent industries, from the automation of existing manual processes or the deployment of new technologies to solve root problems such as real-time location tracking in the minerals industry
  • The development or demonstration of a non-amine dedust agent or collector for the potash sector
  • The devolpment of demonstration of a non-petroleum based anti-cake agent for the potash sector
  • Technologies for the automated measurement of ore or product stockpiles that provides real tonnages (and not volumes based on assumed densities)
  • The development or demonstration of a suitable online particle size analyzer for potash slurry
  • The development or demonstration of a dry solids flowmeter for potash
  • Technologies for online moisture detection for potash
  • The development or demonstration of air emission abatement equipment that minimizes water and energy inputs for either the potash or uranium sectors
  • Alternative technologies (including processes) to improve (e.g. addition of different centrifuges) or transform (e.g. removal of centrifuges) the debrining process in potash

On December 2, 2020, five finalists pitched their innovative solutions to Saskatchewan's leading minerals producers in the categories of:

  • Safety innovation - applying technology or improving processes in innovative ways, above and beyond mandatory requirements, to improve mine worker safety and health.
  • Technical innovation – improving productivity through advances in automation, digitalization, electrification, drones and smart sensors.
  • Green innovation – technologies for increasing efficiency of assets, strengthening recovery rates, reducing releases of wastes, lessening consumption of energy and water.

The selected finalists for 2020 are:

  • EECOL Electric & SafeBox - SafeBox Systems (safety innovation)
  • Noble Construction Corp. - NobleVR Safety Experience (safety innovation)
  • OXO Valve Inc. / Westlund (safety innovation)
  • RESPEC & Automodality, Inc. - Autonomous UAV (technical innovation)
  • EECOL Electric & Phoenix Contact – PLCnext Open Controller (technical innovation)

DEMOday 2020 was hosted in a virtual event by IMII on the eve of the 12th Annual Saskatchewan Mining Supply Chain Forum.

On Wednesday, April 3rd, five supply chain innovations that matter to mining will be presented to a panel of representatives from Saskatchewan’s leading minerals companies in the International Mineral Innovation Institute’s (IMII’s) second DEMOday. They are:

  • A new cybersecurity solution for industrial SCADA systems from EECOL Electric and Nozomi Networks;
  • A new corrosion resistant epoxy powder coating technology from Saskatoon Custom Powder Coating Corporation and Akzo Nobel Coatings;
  • A new to Saskatchewan mining technology for potential use in the potash industry from Continental Mine & Industrial Supply Ltd.;
  • A new dust collection system suitable for underground potash mining from Continental Mine & Industrial Supply Ltd.; and
  • A new battery electric truck for roof bolting from Prairie Machine & Parts Mfg. Partnership.

DEMOday 2018 was a first-time event in which supply chain companies presented their innovations directly to Saskatchewan's major mining companies and had them considered for further review and potentially financial and in-kind support, to help move them down the path to commercialization.  Innovations aren't innovations if they are not put to use, and supply chain companies were invited to pitch their innovation sin equipment, technologies, products or processes to industry members that may be used to improve one or more of the pillars of industry sustainability - economic, environmental or social performance.

On Tuesday, April 10th, and on the eve of the 10th Annual Saskatchewan Mining Supply Chain Forum, five innovations that matter to mining were presented to a panel of representatives from Saskatchewan's leading minerals companies in the International Minerals Innovation Institute's inaugural DEMOday.  They were:

  • A radically new style of conveyor belt roller with the potential to improve maintenance, safety, and productivity on existing belts from a local inventor, Danny Lewis, P.Eng.;
  • A new to mining in Canada type of conveyor drive motor with the potential to increase energy efficiency and lower maintenance and inventory costs from GMR Electric Motors Ltd.;
  • A new tool for wear analysis of mineral processing equipment using portable scanners combined with advanced analytics with the potential to improve maintenance planning and reduce downtime in operations from Croatia Industries Ltd.;
  • A new and improved replacement arm for underground bore miners in potash applications with the potential to reduce maintenance downtime and costs, and improve the capacity of the bore miner from Industrial Machine & Mfg. Inc.; and
  • A new fall protective system that is portable and easy to move with the potential to improve safety in many maintenance applications from Northern Strands.

DEMOday and Innovation Award 2021

DEMOday and Innovation Award 2020