Michelle Ash (fifth from right), Barrick’s Chief Innovation Officer, with the Honourable Navdeep Bains (seventh from right), Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development announcing Supercluster finalists in early November 2017.
After reviewing more than 50 proposals, the Government of Canada recently announced the winners of a competition to form technology “superclusters”—a title that will guarantee the victors a portion of up to $950 million in federal funding. Barrick has partnered with two of the five winning teams: Advanced Manufacturing, and the Supply Chains and Logistics Excellence Artificial Intelligence (SCALE.AI)
“Today we are investing in five superclusters so that tomorrow we will be more than 50,000 jobs richer and benefit from an even stronger economy—an innovation economy,” says The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development. “With the Superclusters Initiative, we bet on Canadians. We looked at what we did well across our great nation, and we asked industry, academia and NGOs how we could do it better. The response was impressive, and the ideas were remarkable.”
A supercluster is a dense area of business activity containing a critical mass of large and small companies, post-secondary and research institutions, and other innovation actors. Silicon Valley is perhaps the world’s best-known supercluster.
Between 2018-2022, the Canadian government has committed to match up to $950 million in spending from the private sector as part of the supercluster initiative.
The Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster, based in Hamilton, Toronto, and Waterloo, will help Barrick design the future autonomous mine with robotics, electrification, and smart infrastructure. The SCALE.AI Supercluster, based in Quebec, will help Barrick advance autonomous vehicles and drones to perform inspection and high-risk tasks. In 2018, Barrick has committed to spending $1.6 million on projects in the Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster this year, and $250,000 on the SCALE.AI Supercluster. Other winners include the Ocean Supercluster, Digital Technology Supercluster, and the Protein Industries Supercluster.
“We see the Supercluster Initiative as an extension of our partnership culture at Barrick,” says Michelle Ash, Barrick’s Chief Innovation Officer. “We’re thrilled to accelerate our innovation program through funding and partnering with other organizations within each Supercluster.”