RESPEC Selected to Pitch at the IMII’s DEMOday

Since 2012, the International Minerals Innovation Institute (IMII) has been supporting education, training, research, and development in the mining industry. Through government, industry, postsecondary education, and research organization partnerships, the IMII is committed to developing innovations that increase safety, protect the environment, and create efficiencies. Headquartered in Saskatchewan, Canada, the IMII is partnered with several Canadian RESPEC clients.

As part of its efforts to promote innovative research and development, the IMII began to hold a DEMOday at the annual Saskatchewan Mining Supply Chain Forum. During DEMOday, “… [select] supply chain companies… are invited to pitch their innovations in equipment, technologies, products or processes to industry members that may be used to improve one or more of the pillars of industry sustainability – economic, environmental or social performance.”

RESPEC and our research and development partner AutoModality, Inc. are among a small group of leading innovators to be selected for this year’s IMII DEMOday event, which will be held on Tuesday, December 1, 2020. RESPEC was selected because of our innovation in developing a fully autonomous unmanned aerial system (UAS) for underground mining applications ranging from search and rescue to mapping, survey, and equipment and ground control inspections. The DEMOday selection process involves mining companies from across Saskatchewan reviewing each applicant’s proposal for relevance to the mining industry and, more specifically, for the value that the proposed innovations could have in making mining safer, more efficient, more productive, or more environmentally friendly.

Each innovator that is selected to participate in the DEMOday is invited to give a brief presentation and technology demonstration in a special event at the Saskatchewan Mining Supply Chain Forum. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the originally scheduled date was postponed from April 21, 2020, and the IMII recently decided to hold the event in a virtual format. On December 1, Ben Haugen from RESPEC and Dan Hennage from AutoModality will give a joint, 5- to 8-minute pitch to the key IMII partner mining companies: BHP, Cameco, K+S Potash, Mosaic, and Nutrien. These companies will then decide who among the innovators will receive as much as $250,000 in research and development funding to bring their innovation to market.

RESPEC has a long-standing history of partnering with the IMII for innovative work in the mining industry. Our previous creative- and industry-focused ideas have been selected to support IMII mandates, including the online Potash Short Course and the Girls in the Classroom diversity and inclusion pilot project. Through these efforts, RESPEC aims to increase awareness of mining and minerals career opportunities and promote unique and inventive solutions to the Saskatchewan marketplace.

This opportunity is exciting and unique and, if we are selected as the winners, will enable the RESPEC and AutoModality team to continue to refine the autonomous underground UAS system and bring a mature product to market. For more information about the project and the DEMOday event, visit and

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