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The Ontario Mining Association, which represents some of the world's leading resources companies operating in Ontario, is partnering with three Ontario universities: University of Toronto (Lassonde Institute of Mining), Queen's University (Robert M. Buchan Department of Mining) and Laurentian University (Bharti School of Engineering), to solve an industry challenge, drawn from OMA member companies' real life mining operation scenarios.

Individual undergraduates or teams from these schools will compete to offer the best concept plan to address the question posed in THIS CASE STUDY (listen to the playback of a Q&A with the case study author).

Participants are asked to submit proposal(s) to a MINED Expert Panel that formulated the problem. The panel will select three finalists (one from each participating university). The finalists will be invited to pitch their idea to a group of top mining executives in front of a live audience at the May 17, 2018 MINED Grand Finale

OMA is running this competition as part of our innovation agenda, aimed at driving enhanced performance in health and safety (mining with zero harm); environmental protection and energy efficiency (mining with zero carbon and zero waste); and productivity (building global competitiveness). 


1st place $15,000 to student(s) and plaque for the university
2nd place $10,000 to student(s) and plaque for the university
3rd place   $5,000 to student(s) and plaque for the university
Audience Choice Award   $5,000 to student(s)

Travel costs to attend the MINED Grand Finale in Toronto will be covered for the three top teams (one from each participating university). Winners get to:

  Meet with CEOs or CFOs of mining companies.
  Engage with industry experts and get valuable feedback on your work.
  Create commercialization potential for your idea and improve your career prospects.
  Drive changes within a vital industry to address global challenges and create economic growth.

Submit your proposal

Proposals are due by 4:00 pm on March 12, 2018. You must include:

  A brief introduction to the concept/technology/team.
  The potential impact your idea could have on the mining/exploration industry.
  The background research.
  A short video introducing yourself (encouraged, but not required).
If you have more than one idea, you are free to make multiple submissions.

Finalists will have a chance to polish their pitch prior to the MINED Grand Finale, which will be held on May 17, 2018 in Toronto. A creative approach and use of multimedia is strongly encouraged during the live pitches.


  • September 28, 2017: COMPETITION OPENS
  • March 12, 2018, 4:00 pm: PROPOSALS DUE
  • May 17, 2018: MINED Open Innovation Competition GRAND FINALE, AWARDS and RECEPTION


The MINED Open Innovation Competition is made possible by the collective financial and in-kind support of Ontario Mining Association members. The University of Toronto (Lassonde Institute of Mining), Queen's University (Robert M. Buchan Department of Mining) and Laurentian University (Bharti School of Engineering) are providing guidence and organizational support.


  Why does this competition matter?

Minerals and metals are essential to modern life and are the irreplacable building blocks of new technologies. Mining contributes significantly to the economic wellbeing of Ontarians. The province is also among the world's safest, cleanest and most socially-responsible places to mine. For example, Ontario has some of the world's lowest carbon nickel, so mining it here means reducing overall global greenhouse gas emissions. To continue being competitive, however, Ontario mining has to innovate and find new ways to be technologically and socially progressive. One of the challenges we face is that declining ore grades at current depths are forcing Ontario mining companies to mine deeper, significantly increasing extraction costs and technological challenges, as well as introducing new safety concerns. Your ability to think creatively about these real-life scenarios may help us transform the way we mine, enabling responsible and sustainable growth of Ontario's mining industry, while delivering improvement in health, safety and environmental performance through innovation.

  What are the purpose and goals of this year's competion?

The purpose of the MINED Innovation Challenge this year is to hear Ontario students' solutions for increasing productivity, through the use of technology, within Canadian mines. The technology solution outcomes of the challenge, will include discussions on the follwing, as part of OMA's innovation agenda.

  • Benefits to health and safety
  • Environmental impacts
  • Energy efficiency improvements
  • Economic benefits
  • Diversification
  • Productivity improvement

  How will my proposal be evaluated?

The MINED Expert Panel will use the following questions as a guide when selecting the three finalists (one from each university):

  • Does the proposal address the research question and offer a concise summary of the proposed solution?
  • Does the proposal indicate the value of the findings and to whom will they be of use?
  • Does the proposal say how the research was/is being undertaken?
  • Does the proposed solution seem feasible?

The proposal needs to capture the attention of the industry panel that formulated the challenge to be solved. It should be clear and compelling, outlining an original solution that breaks new ground. While you will not be able to include the entirety of your concept in the proposal, there should be enough information to entice the panel to hear your pitch.

  What happens if I am selected as a finalist?

You will be invited to attend a live event on May 17, 2018 at Toronto's Art Gallery of Ontario, where you/your team will have an opportunity to pitch your idea to a group of top mining executives, expanding on what was outlined in the proposal. The pitch and follow up interview will be conducted in a Dragons' Den format, with elements of Canada's Got Talent thrown in. You and your team will have 5 minutes to present your idea in a creative fashion, making use of appropriate props and multimedia, with the subsequent 10 minutes devoted to questions from the executives and audience members.  The questions will probe deeper into your proposal and the business case for it, including commercialization potential. The executives will select the first ($15,000), second ($10,000) and third ($5,000) place winners. The audience will vote to select their favourite contestant/team, who will receive a bonus $5,000 prize.

Watch highlights from the 2017 MINED Grand Finale, held at Toronto's Hockey Hall of Fame:

You can also enjoy a extended Dragons' Den style episode from the June 15, 2017 event:


Learn more about the 2017 winners.

  Who will be in the audience at the MINED Grand Final?

The audience will include mining company representatives, academics, government officials and your peers, including the MINED Video Challenge winner.

  How will my MINED Grand Final pitch be scored?

The mining executives will be scoring each pitch using these criteria.

The judges' intuitive assessment will also play a role in the selection process: they will be looking for talent and evident potential to contribute value to the industry, and will discuss the candidates' relative merits among each other. Note that their final selection may come down to a consensus-based gut decision.

In addition, audience members will have an opportunity to vote for their top choice. The result of the vote will be announced immediately after the judges make their decision and the winner will get a $5,000 bonus prize.

Your presentation skills matter. An exciting pitch grabs and keeps people's attention, conveying information while keeping them entertained. Notwithstanding the seriousness of the subject, try to find ways to make the content and delivery enjoyable: use your imagination, bring in multimedia and add a dose of humour.

  Other considerations?

When thinking about your solution, take the time to research current best practices and the latest technologies. Think beyond what is already being done in the field and try to come up with something that is truly groundbreaking.


If you have general questions about the competition, please post them to our Facebook page. Use #MINED2018. If you have a private question, email us at MINED@oma.on.ca.


Click here for the competition rules.

  Download A poster

MINED Challenge Poster (JPEG)

MINED Innovation Challenge Poster