Contract research in coals and minerals at the Atlantic Coal Institute

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 80, No. 901, 1987

DIETER BIRK, Executive Director, Atlantic Coal Institute, Sydney, Nova Scotia

The Atlantic Coal Institute illustrates the potential for high-technology employment in Maritime Canada, by using local talent and the latest equipment to address a national market. Since 1983, contract research for industry and government has generated 31 man-years of high-tech employment, added $2.3 million to the local economy and contributed new technology for Canadian coal. Industry now has access to new procedures for coal minerals analysis, pyrolysis, and geochemistry applied to industrial problems of exploration, beneflciation, conversion and combustion. Research at the Institute is market-driven, based on cost recoveries from contracts. The financial performance to date exceeds that of similar industrial research institutes in major cities and demonstrates that small isolated laboratories are cost-effective. Economic renewal of Canada's resource industries will require increased R&D which in turn can be a source of local employment and pride. Small research teams are more efficient but require an enlightened policy of contracting-out by big business and big government.
Keywords: Coal mining, Research and development, Atlantic Coal Institute, Resources industry, Technology, Manpower.