Canada Announces Six Crush It! Mining Challenge Finalists to Advance Toward $5-Million Grand Prize

News release

April 30, 2019                                                    Montreal, Quebec                      Natural Resources Canada    

Improving the energy efficiency of Canada’s mines is critical to our transition to a low-carbon economy. Finding and advancing innovative solutions that reduce energy use for crushing and grinding mined rock will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve productivity and help our mining industry become more competitive.

Paul Lefebvre, Parliamentary Secretary to the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, today announced the six finalists for Impact Canada’s Crush it! Challenge at the 2019 Canadian Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum’s Convention. Each finalist is eligible to receive up to $800,000 to build and test his or her cleantech solution before advancing to the next stage of the challenge.

The finalists are:

  • Gillian Holcroft from the Canada Mining Innovation Council for her Conjugate Anvil Hammer Mill
  • Claude Gagnon from COREM for his Optimization of High-Pressure Grinding Rolls
  • Erin Bobicki from the University of Toronto for her Microwave Pre-treatment and Ore Sorting
  • Tracy Holmes from Jenike & Johanson for her Microwave Treatment and Materials Handling
  • Philippe Gagnon from COREM for his IntelliCrush
  • Cliff Edwards from Envisioning Labs for his Transcritical CO2 Pulverization

Launched in October 2018, Crush It! challenged Canadian innovators to deliver game-changing solutions for cleaner, more efficient rock processing. Of the 65 applications received, 12 semi-finalists pitched their ideas to a seven-member jury of cleantech and innovation leaders in the mining sector at a public showcase event held in conjunction with the #DisruptMining event in March. Eleven of the semi-finalists received $10,000 in micro-grants to develop their proposals.

In March 2021, a $5-million Grand Prize will be awarded to the innovator demonstrating the best energy breakthrough in crushing and grinding rocks.

Crush It! is one of five cleantech challenges launched by Natural Resources Canada as part of the Impact Canada Initiative. Challenges were co-developed with industry experts and stakeholders to attract a diverse range of problem solvers to generate breakthrough cleantech solutions to some of Canada’s biggest unsolved challenges. The Impact Canada challenge platform is part of a Government of Canada-wide effort to introduce innovative programming approaches to deliver meaningful results for Canadians. NRCan will invest $75 million over four years in five challenges: Women in Cleantech Challenge, Power Forward Challenge, Crush It! Challenge, The Sky’s the Limit Challenge and Indigenous Off-diesel Initiative.


“Our mining industry has positioned Canada as a leading mining nation and a centre of global mining finance and expertise. Improving the energy efficiency of crushing and grinding rock will create good jobs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build a more sustainable mining sector. Congratulations to all the Challenge participants for helping modernize a foundational industry in Canada.”

Amarjeet Sohi
Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources

“This Challenge supports mining, an unsung hero of our country, by modernizing it to be part of our low-carbon economy. Through transformation, modernization and diversification, the mining sector continues to thrive and remains an important economic driver of Canada’s economy.”

Paul Lefebvre
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources

“The Crush It! Challenge is a great example of what is possible when we empower industry to find innovative solutions to the challenges we face as Canadians. As the Government of Canada’s champion for Impact Canada, I am proud of the creative ideas and proposals put forward to develop new clean technology solutions for our mining industry.”

Karina Gould
Minister of Democratic Institutions

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Natural Resources Canada
Media Relations

Vanessa Adams
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Natural Resources

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