Vic Pakalnis doesn’t want to sugarcoat it. The mining industry is going through “some very tough times right now,” said Pakalnis, newly appointed associate vice-president of Laurentian Mining Innovation and Technology.
And there’s no better time, he believes, to prepare for the next upswing and develop the “Sudbury Advantage,” as Laurentian University plans to do with through LMIT, a new mining innovation and technology research initiative to co-ordinate and promote all mining-related research at the university.
“I’m a mining engineer and I have been in the mining industry since my birth,” Pakalnis said, during a press conference held at Laurentian on Friday to officially announce the establishment of Laurentian Mining Innovation and Technology. “My father was a mining engineer, my mother was a mining engineer, and I have survived five of these cycles. It’s a difficult time and the next two years will be difficult, but we’re going to have to concentrate on what comes after those years, which are going to be a boom time.
“You always need metals. You always need the kind of stuff that mining produces. It’s basic to civilization. And much like breathing, we had a number of years of breathing out — this is the super cycle people talk about. Well, guess what — we’ve been breathing in and we’re getting ready for the future.”
Laurentian Mining Innovation and Technology brings together all of Laurentian’s mining-related research centres, including the Mineral Exploration Research Centre (MERC), the Centre for Research in Occupational Safety and Health (CROSH), the Vale Living with Lakes Centre (VLWLC) and the Mining Innovation Rehabilitation and Applied Research Corporation (MIRARCO), to offer a “one-stop approach” to mining and mineral exploration research.
That integration will generate new opportunities for research, Laurentian believes, and co-ordinate the university’s relationships with external partners in mining research and innovation.
The Goodman School of Mines will continue to focus on mining-related education, while Laurentian Mining Innovation and Technology will focus on mining research.
“The university’s enhanced effort with (Laurentian Mining Innovation and Technology) will allow it to not only support differentiation of Laurentian University in an area of excellence, as encouraged by the province, in this case in mining and mineral exploration, but it also supports the renewed Ontario strategy for mineral development, which was released very recently,” Laurentian President Dominic Giroux said, joining the press conference via video message.
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