The University of Saskatchewan and the International Minerals Innovation Institute (IMII) announced today a $1.67 million funding agreement to develop and deliver five additional mining courses and the creation of three new undergraduate mining options in geological, mechanical, and chemical engineering.
The three-year funding agreement is between Saskatchewan’s minerals industry, the Government of Saskatchewan and the College of Engineering at the University of Saskatchewan. IMII’s role is to work with industry members to identify critical needs and then with its partners to facilitate program delivery using funds from industry and the province.
“The funding agreement in place with the university exemplifies the mission of the IMII,” said Rodney Orr, executive director of the institute. “Our membership unanimously supports agreements like this. It definitely increases the profile of Saskatchewan’s minerals industry on both a national and international scale, and enhances our member’s competiveness by directly meeting the needs they have identified.”
The university will use the funding to recruit three new faculty members who specialize in mining engineering, to invest in mining engineering technology and to develop undergraduate and post-graduate programing that will build capacity for skilled mining professionals in the province.
“Together with agriculture and petroleum, the minerals industry is one of the three main pillars of the Saskatchewan economy and it’s vital that the province’s largest educational institution is developing programs in direct support of this industry,” said Ilene Busch-Vishniac, president of the University of Saskatchewan.
Another objective of the agreement is for the U of S to explore course development and delivery with the Saskatchewan Institute for Applied Science and Technology (SIAST) and define pathways for graduates from technical schools to enter mining engineering programs at the U of S.
“We are looking to offer the new mining engineering options in September 2014,” said Ernie Barber, acting dean of the College of Engineering. “Demand for highly trained workers in Saskatchewan’s mining and minerals industry is growing by leaps and bounds. We’re gearing up to be ready to help meet those needs for training, research and innovation.”
In addition to the U of S and IMII funding agreement, Innovation Saskatchewan also announced an additional $1.2M funding from the province to IMII.
“These additional resources for the IMII will allow our province to continue to be a catalyst for innovative thinking in the mining industry,” said the Honourable Gordon Wyant, Minister of Justice and Attorney General, on behalf of the Honourable Bill Boyd, Minister of the Economy and Minister responsible for Innovation Saskatchewan. “By bringing industry together with the educational and research community at the university, Saskatchewan will continue to be a leader in developing its natural resources.”