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Facing strong headwinds a new solution to the mining industry’s woes: Business ecosystems

Deloitte, PDAC and the Canada Mining Innovation Council report finds business ecosystems enable collaboration which drives innovation needed for industry survival

TORONTO, March 10, 2016 – The most effective way to drive innovation in the mining industry today is create high performing business ecosystems to address industry challenges, according to Business Ecosystems in Exploration, a study conducted by Deloitte, the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) and the Canada Mining Innovation Council (CMIC). This study builds on last year’s study that looked at the innovation imperative, finding that collaboration was a key way to foster new ways of thinking and working.

The study defines a business ecosystem as an evolving and dynamic community of diverse players – majors, juniors, government at all levels, academia, industry, service and supply – who create new value through increasingly productive and sophisticated models of both collaboration and competition.

“With depressed commodity prices and a glut of mediocre projects flooding the market, it’s only natural that mining firms are holding back on further exploration,” said Andrew Swart, Partner, Monitor Deloitte. “The problem is that exploration is a key driver of growth. In this down cycle, firms need to de-risk exploration and increase discovery rates if the industry is to thrive long-term. Majors and juniors alike must innovate. The question for many is how. The answer lies in business ecosystems.”

Despite the flurry of ecosystems emerging across other industries, the mining sector has been slow to take advantage of this model, which offers miners an opportunity to harness innovation globally and share risk and resources.

“The world is changing around us, making it easier to collaborate and share information,” said Andrew Cheatle, Executive Director, Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada. “The industry must harness the potential of business ecosystems and there’s no time to waste. In the face of declining budgets, a skilled labour shortage, increasingly engaged stakeholders and communities, and more technical projects, ecosystems are currently an opportunity missed. We’d like to see that change.”

Carl Weatherell, Executive Director and CEO, Canada Mining Innovation Council explained that all of the enablers for ecosystems currently exist.

“Our world is more connected than ever, with technology allowing people and data to connect securely and easily,” said Weatherell. “What’s more, recent social and cultural shifts make sharing of information and resources more acceptable. Looking to other industries, we see how business ecosystems have enabled innovation to thrive. The mining industry faces real challenges and in times like this, innovation is the key to survival.”

PDAC and Monitor Deloitte’s second report involved interviewing and surveying 19 mining companies, including juniors, majors and service companies, Canadian Federal and Provincial government organizations and post-secondary institution between December 2015 and January 2016. The study examined the interconnectedness of various mining industry players, the current issues in exploration, and how innovation and ecosystems can increase the chance of developing effective solutions to current industry challenges.

To take full advantage of the power of ecosystems, the mining industry must:

Get organized: Companies need to consider internal and external ecosystems to achieve this.

Build trust: Firms need to shift the focus from “sharing the pie” to “expanding the pie” by building collaborative platforms and working together on communal problems.

Skill up: The next generation of professionals need to couple their existing technical knowledge with non-traditional skills by better collaborating with academia.

Create platforms: Digitizing mining data in safe environments and sharing it through powerful platforms will boost innovation in the mining exploration industry.

To receive a copy of the presentation presented at the PDAC 2016 Convention, please contact Caitlin Stidwill

About Deloitte
Deloitte, one of Canada's leading professional services firms, provides audit, tax, consulting, and financial advisory services. Deloitte LLP, an Ontario limited liability partnership, is the Canadian member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited.
Deloitte refers to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, a UK private company limited by guarantee, and its network of member firms, each of which is a legally separate and independent entity. Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited and its member firms.

About PDAC
The Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) is the national voice of Canada’s mineral exploration and development industry. With a membership of over 8,000, the PDAC’s mission is to promote a responsible, vibrant and sustainable Canadian mineral exploration and development sector. The PDAC encourages leading practices in technical, environmental, safety and social performance in Canada and internationally. PDAC is known worldwide for its annual PDAC Convention, regarded as the premier event for mineral industry professionals. The PDAC Convention has attracted over 25,000 people from 125 countries in recent years and will next be held March 6-9, 2016, in Toronto. Please visit

About Canada Mining Innovation Council
The Canada Mining Innovation Council (CMIC) is a national non-profit organization that coordinates and develops research development and innovation (RDI) projects and programs in response to life of mine challenges defined by its industry members. These 80 plus members include mineral exploration and mining companies and their service providers, working together towards common solutions to common challenges. This allows for shared financial and technology adoption risk, faster development of solutions and wider spread benefits. Challenges are defined and prioritized, and programs developed by CMIC technical groups. CMIC technical groups are led by Canadian company vice presidents and populated by leading industry experts in the fields of mineral exploration, extraction, processing, mine waste management and energy. Please visit


Kristy Kenny
Coordinator of Communications
Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC)
416-362-1969 x 233

Bernadette Lambros
Canada Mining Innovation Council
Marketing Communications & Office Manager

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