The Engineering Newsletter

Mining leaders invest $9M in U of T Engineering


The University of Toronto announced today a combined $9-million investment from mining entrepreneur Pierre Lassonde and Goldcorp Inc., a gold mining producer, to help fund the construction of and scholarships for a new, $20-million mining research and innovation centre at U of T.

The Centre, called the Innovation Centre for the Canadian Mining Industry, is also being supported by an $11-million capital investment by the federal and provincials governments, which each pledged $5.5 million earlier this year.

The new Centre will be constructed in previously unused space on the top floor and in the roof of the Mining Building, a prominent 104-year-old heritage building located at 170 College Street in the heart of the Discovery District. The entire building will be renamed the Lassonde Mining Building in recognition of the entrepreneur’s extraordinary commitment to education and research in mining at U of T.

In 1996, Lassonde donated $5M to establish the Lassonde Institute and Lassonde Mineral Engineering Program. His latest donation includes $4 million that will go towards construction of the new Centre and another $1 million for scholarships. When including other donations Lassonde has made to the University, his cumulative giving exceeds $10M, the largest contribution to mineral Engineering education in Canadian university history.

“Canadian expertise in mineral Engineering is world renowned,” said Lassonde. “Our combined gift to the University of Toronto will ensure that we maintain our leadership at a time when the world has an increasing need for scarce natural resources.”

Goldcorp’s $4-million gift will be in support of a key academic and research facility within the new Centre called the Goldcorp Mining Innovation Suite. The Suite will house research space for graduate students and post-doctoral researchers.

“Goldcorp’s donation to the Lassonde Institute at the University of Toronto reflects our strong commitment to mineral resource education in Canada,” said Ian Telfer, Chairman of Goldcorp.

“Through this partnership, we hope to encourage interest in the industry and attract and train top talent to ensure that innovation in the Canadian mining sector continues and that we remain a competitive player on the world stage.”

U of T President David Naylor said the investments by Lassonde and Goldcorp will pay huge dividends to Canada’s mining industry, which accounts for 4.8 per cent of the country’s GDP.

“Innovation is more important to resource-based industries than ever before,” said President Naylor. “These generous contributions will pay dividends for Canada and its mining sector through the development of talent and technology. I would like to thank Pierre Lassonde and Goldcorp for their visionary support of the mining sector through these gifts to the University of Toronto.”

The Centre will be a focal point for cutting-edge research and innovation by U of T researchers and students from the University’s mineral and civil Engineering programs and the Lassonde Institute in the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering and other researchers and students from allied disciplines across the University. It will form a hub for university-industry partnerships to tackle challenges facing the industry, notably in deep mining and mass mining. It will feature a laboratory with visualization and data analysis facilities to enable research and collaborative projects with industry. It will also contain studio space for multi-disciplinary project-based research and learning.

The building itself will have a full range of green building features, including roof-top photovoltaic cells, energy-efficient lighting, water conservation, gray water capture and recycling measures together with increased accessibility which are transformative for a historical building of this type. Construction will be completed by March 31, 2011.

“The future of the mining industry in Canada as a global leader will depend on innovation and the next generation of highly qualified personnel that builds on the legacy of the entrepreneurial advantage provided by such visionaries as Pierre Lassonde and other Canadian mining leaders,” said Professor Paul Young, Vice President, Research. “We are extremely grateful for the continued support of Dr. Lassonde, Goldcorp Inc. and the federal and provincial governments for their investment.

“The University of Toronto will continue working with its industry partners to tackle 21st century mining and Engineering geoscience challenges through strategic research and knowledge transfer to produce highly qualified personnel and future industry leaders.”

The entire $20-million investment is expected to create 200 jobs and research space for more than 100 graduate students and post-doctorial researchers in the next five years - a critical mass of industry leaders who will make a difference on a global scale.

“The City of Toronto is known as Canada’s mining business capital and this is further evidenced in today’s investment from the industry’s top business leaders,” said Cristina Amon, Dean of the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering. “We are deeply grateful to Pierre Lassonde, Goldcorp Inc., and the provincial and federal governments for their generous contributions, which will enhance our ability to educate the next generation of mining Engineering leaders and further strengthen our world-renowned research programs, enabling our scholars to provide technical innovations to the world’s mining challenges and ensuring the mining industry in Canada remains a global leader.”

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