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A Saskatoon-based mining group is introducing a new award for innovation.

The International Minerals Innovation Institute announced its innovation award earlier this week. The award is also known as the “Best Prototype Award.” It will be given for the first time at the mining group’s annual forum in Saskatoon during April of next year.

The award will recognize a winning design that helps to improve the mining industry in a significant way.

“We’re hoping to receive ones (submissions) that really help solve significant challenges for the industry,” said IMII Executive Director, Al Shpyth. “Things that offer an advantage over existing technologies and could help us with emissions from the sites, minimizing land disturbance, improving waste management practices (and) improving energy efficiency.”

In an interview with MBC, Shpyth spoke about how many of the province’s mining operations could possibly benefit from developments in other segments of the economy.

“Perhaps there is something that Saskatchewan supply chain people have developed for oil and gas or manufacturing that could be of use to us. We’d really like to open our doors and our minds to those innovations that could come from outside our sectors,” said the executive director.

He also noted that the award’s winner could come from an organization of any size.

“The supply chain in Saskatchewan is a really good mix of small and medium-sized companies. Some small two (or) three-person shops, and there might even be some really innovative individuals out there,” said Shpyth.

The winner of the award will be considered for funding by the IMII under their Operationalizing Innovations Program, and may be considered for the Saskatchewan Commercial Innovation Incentive if the commercial product based on the prototype is developed in the province.

Details and applications for the award can be found on IMII’s website.