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Summary of the Evaluation of the Mining Innovation Sub-program

Evaluation Findings

Relevance

There is an ongoing need for support and collaborative approaches for research and development (R&D), delivery of specialized services, and coordination of mining efforts at the national-level. The sub-program aligns with government priorities as well as NRCan’s mandate. However, there are many stakeholders and organizations involved in mining innovation, which has led to some confusion among stakeholders as to the role of the sub-program in the area of innovation in mining.

Performance - Efficiency and Economy

CanmetMINING collaborates with multiple stakeholders, which helps reduce the risk of duplication of effort, facilitates the sharing of expertise, and helps the sub-program identify the needs of the mining industry related to innovation. It also maintained multiple accreditations, thus increasing its reliability, enabling it to deliver specialized services, and ensuring consistency in project management. Potential opportunities to enhance the efficiency of the sub-program’s delivery include: working with stakeholders to focus innovation-related R&D in the mining sector, balancing client needs or requests with the need to address broader policy objectives, and stabilizing funding.

Performance – Effectiveness

The sub-program is making progress toward its intended immediate and intermediate outcomes. This includes: reduced risks associated with adopting new techniques and technologies; increased access to relevant markets for industry stakeholders; increased awareness and understanding of innovative technologies by industry stakeholders; increased understanding of industry’s needs, priorities, concerns, and requirements; adoption of mining innovation by industry stakeholders; and improved productivity of the industry. Factors that could negatively or positively influence the achievement of outcomes include: changing commodity prices; practices of other countries; investments in other sectors; willingness to assume financial and non-financial risks; potential constraints related to non-disclosure/intellectual property agreements; and level of collaboration among stakeholders.

Recommendations
  1. Lands and Minerals Sector (LMS) should identify and communicate to stakeholders the roles of all parties relevant to mining innovation, and work with appropriate partners to help identify priorities for R&D related to innovation in the Canadian mining sector.
  1. LMS should revisit the sub-program’s design and delivery with specific consideration of the appropriate balance between strategic priorities and client-specific needs. This should include exploring whether other financial mechanisms/funding models would better support program delivery.
  1. LMS should improve performance measurement and reporting to ensure adequate information is available to assess efficiency and effectiveness. For Mining Innovation activities, this means developing and implementing a performance measurement strategy, including: a logic model; theory of change; as well as performance indicators, data sources, methods and data collection and reporting frequency for all elements of the logic model.

Program Description

The sub-program conducts research and develops new mining-related tools, technology, methods and protocols, conducts pilot tests, and disseminates knowledge and research to stakeholders. It also collaborates with multiple stakeholders, promotes the need to be innovative in mining processes, and provides specialized services to clients.

Scope and Methodology, Constraints and Limitations

The evaluation relied on multiple lines of both qualitative and quantitative evidence. A key limitation of the evaluation was the absence of a sub-program logic model, which meant that performance and financial information was not specifically tracked according to the activities, outputs, and outcomes of the sub-program but rather on the ISO 9001 project guide methodology. The sub-program logic model developed for the purpose of the evaluation process was used to assess effectiveness, and indirect measures were used to assess efficiency and economy.

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