David Wilks, Member of Parliament for Kootenay—Columbia, on behalf of the Honourable Michelle Rempel, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification, Tuesday announced a $748,601 investment to the Kootenay Association for Science and Technology (KAST) to establish a metallurgical industry development accelerator in the West Kootenay.
Funding, provided through the Western Diversification Program, will allow KAST to establish and operate a centre for Metallurgical Industrial Development Acceleration and Studies (MIDAS).
This sector-targeted applied research and commercialization centre will provide downstream metallurgical expertise, a digital fabrication laboratory, and business development support for the region.
“Long proximity to Teck’s Trail Operations has created a West Kootenay where our deep technical and entrepreneurial talent, industrial innovation and access to metallurgical material can create high quality rural jobs and opportunities for local businesses, all while enjoying our unbeatable access to the great outdoors," said Leon Pigott, KAST Board Chair.
"MIDAS provides companies and entrepreneurs the tools, coaching and technical expertise needed to succeed.”
MIDAS will assist with the establishment and growth of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) by strengthening the direct-to-market deployment of mineral/metal by-products; supporting applied research and development of commercial applications; providing technical training in metallurgical science and digital fabrication; and offering business mentoring.
- The mining and metals industry is an important economic driver in B.C. with companies reporting $8.2 billion in revenue in 2014.
- For the West Kootenay region, the mining and metals sector is an economic anchor providing major employment and creating a number of spin-off companies.
- KAST works to foster a culture that values science, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship as activities vital to maintaining and enhancing the economic diversity and competitiveness of the West Kootenay-Boundary region.
“Our Government recognizes that a robust economy relies on the strengths of all communities across the West," Wilks said.
"This investment will strengthen industry in B.C.’s rural sector, which will serve to diversify and strengthen Western Canada’s economy as a whole.”