New direction at U of T: Mining Futures Initiative

Update for our U of T community:
New Mining Futures Initiative complements our Lassonde Institute of Mining,
xpanding our Mineral Engineering portfolio

Posing for a photo together are (L to R): Professor Lesley Warren (new Director of Mining Futures Initiative – MFI), Rachel Wallace (Director of Business Development and Strategy for MFI), Professor Marianne Hatzopoulou (Chair, Department of Civil & Mineral Engineering) and Professor Sebastian Goodfellow (new Director of Lassonde Institute of Mining – LIM). The group photo was taken in the lobby of the Galbraith Building, home to the Department of Civil & Mineral Engineering at the University of Toronto. (Photo by Phill Snel, CivMin)

Dear U of T Mining Community Members, 

Mining has a critical and expanding importance in the development of climate positive technologies. At the University of Toronto, we have a significant role to play in mining research, education and workforce upskilling, while also providing leadership to help industry meet demand and sustainability goals. This is a time of transition and disruption within the sector and the University, and we are pleased to share we are evolving to seize this significant opportunity.    

From FASE Dean, Professor Chris Yip: “Through discussions with industry leaders, students, Faculty administration and our alumni, we are excited to be expanding the U of T Mining portfolio with a new Director of Lassonde Institute of Mining (LIM) Professor Sebastian Goodfellow and launching the new Mining Futures Initiative led by Director Professor Lesley Warren.   

LIM will be evolving to focus on talent development for the 21st century resource sector and will work closely with U of T’s new complementary and synergistic research-intensive initiative, Mining Futures. This broader offering will help effectively deliver enhanced educational offerings as well as innovative research driven solutions, that will advance our reputation across the sector. This expansion will see new MEng and executive education initiatives as well as new research projects and collaborations in the development pipeline for 2024.   

From the Department of Civil & Mineral Engineering (CivMin) Chair, Professor Marianne Hatzopoulou:We are looking forward to growing the ways we support the mining industry and our U of T community. The Department of Civil & Mineral Engineering is committed to educating our students and preparing them for a dynamic future, while investing in research and innovation projects that will support the mining industry’s shift to more sustainable operations.  To that end LIM will be dedicated to enriching student learning at both undergraduate and graduate levels, creating opportunities for our community to connect with industry and experiential learning, and providing new leadership competencies and skills development through executive education courses and certificates.”   

From incoming LIM Director, Professor Sebastian Goodfellow: “Our vision for the Lassonde Institute of Mining is for its transformation into a beacon of learning and leadership in the mining community. With a focus on engineering leadership, our professional programs will equip mining professionals and organizations with the knowledge and skills necessary to support the mining sector’s transition towards sustainability, while leveraging exciting opportunities within the digital frontier.” 

Mining Futures will focus on the global industry’s need for new strategies and technologies to meet growing supply demands, as well as improve their environmental and social outcomes. Mining Futures name and vision were developed in consultation with our 2021-2023 Academic Steering Committee and our industry advisors. Mining Futures, led by Professor Lesley Warren as Director and Rachel Wallace, Director (Business Development and Strategy), will leverage our multi-disciplinary researcher ecosystem and growing industry partnership portfolio to deliver impact-oriented solutions.     

From Mining Futures Director, Professor Lesley Warren: “Mining’s grand challenge is to balance greater production of critical metals and minerals required for the clean energy transition, whilst radically transforming its environmental performance and rights-holders and community partnerships to ensure environmental, social and cultural impacts do not negate its contributions to clean energy technologies. We are excited to be working with Dr. Goodfellow to deliver industry impact across research, talent and thought leadership.  

Mining Futures is building new industry-academia partnership platforms to accelerate transformative outcomes that are resonating with the sector. This year, we signed a multi-year partnership agreement with Vale Base Metals (Energy Transition Metals).  This partnership platform to date has three signed projects totalling over $2M+ in funding with Lead PIs Professor Mansoor Barati (MSE) and Professor Emily Moore (ILead). Currently, new projects are being scoped including sponsored research projects and people strategy initiatives which invest in upskilling the Vale and mining workforce. We will be hosting the Vale Innovation team on campus in early 2024 for our Vale Priorities & Research Capability Mapping Workshop. We will be sending out more information on how you can participate soon.  

From FASE Dean, Professor Chris Yip: “We have partnered with Vale, a global leading mining company, ensuring UofT is central to their research and innovation strategy in the coming years. This investment emphasizes the important work we are doing in this space. With access to our world-class talent and expertise, U of T Engineering offers solutions the mining industry needs. The growing demand for Critical Minerals is an imperative we must address and we at U of T can provide leadership in improving outcomes for industry, the environment, and our country.”  

From U of T’s Defy Gravity Campaign Co-Chair, Claire Kennedy: “Mining has an important role in helping to decarbonize our economies and support the energy transition through responsibly sourced critical minerals, while helping educate the 21st century engineer versed in sustainability. This pillar of UofT excellence is vital for the industry and Canada. I am excited to see the expansion and evolution of mining on campus with the transformed Lassonde Institute of Mining and new Mining Futures.”   

We are looking forward to growing and expanding opportunities for our UofT Mining Community – stay tuned to hear more in 2024 as we move forward!  

For more information please contact:  
Rachel Wallace
Director of Business Development and Strategy
Mining Futures Initiative