Lab to Expand Innovation In Our Region

Press Release ~

Columbia Basin Trust commits up to $850,000 to MIDAS initiative

(Columbia Basin) – Local entrepreneurs, students, academics and makers will be able to work with innovative materials, test out original products and get help bringing unique ideas and products to market at a new laboratory in Trail.

Known as MIDAS, the laboratory will help create new business opportunities, expand the skill sets of people who live here and increase regional competitiveness. It is being financed in part by up to $850,000 over four years from Columbia Basin Trust.
MIDAS stands for Metallurgical Industrial Development Acceleration and Studies, and is being spearheaded by the Kootenay Association for Science and Technology (KAST). There are two main parts to the laboratory.

The first is a fab lab, or “digital fabrication laboratory,” intended for rapid prototyping and training in additive manufacturing, which is a method of building 3-D objects by adding layer upon layer of material, such as plastic, metal or concrete. Users will be able to quickly create a model of an item—for example, a mechanical part or a snowboard—using 3-D computer-aided design and a 3-D printer. There will also be areas focused on electronics, laser cutting, molding, casting, metalwork and woodwork.

Companies and researchers can also explore commercial uses for metallurgical and chemical materials at MIDAS. KAST and partners will provide research-and-development and business-development services via the research organization Mitacs and the BC Venture Acceleration Program; if a new product developed in the lab has commercial potential, these services can help it reach the market successfully.

“In our region, with our metals expertise, MIDAS will enable us to use materials in new and novel ways that will provide us with a competitive advantage,” said Amber Hayes, MIDAS Project Director. “It will also provide businesses with the opportunity to get prototypes made locally—they have to be made elsewhere now. And it will allow us to train local people on how to use this equipment, which will be a high-demand skill as new technologies change the way manufacturing is being done.”

“This collaborative project will bring all sorts of people together—business people, students and researchers—to increase expertise and innovation in our region,” said Johnny Strilaeff, Columbia Basin Trust Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer. “We have so much local talent and so many resources, and with MIDAS we’ll also have the physical space and equipment. The potential for meaningful economic impact is exciting.”

The MIDAS lab is currently under construction, with specialized equipment training opportunities available. MIDAS will welcome the public in September 2016. To follow the development of the lab and learn more about the technologies, like the MIDAS Facebook page at facebook.com/midasfablab.

In addition to KAST and the Trust, MIDAS is supported by Community Futures of Greater Trail, Fenix Advanced Materials, Western Economic Diversification, Selkirk College and the Rural Development Institute, University of British Columbia Okanagan, Mitacs, BC Innovation Council, Southern Interior Development Initiative Trust, Lower Columbia Community Development Team Society and the Lower Columbia Initiatives Corporation.

Columbia Basin Trust supports the ideas and efforts of the people in the Columbia Basin. To learn more about the Trust’s programs and initiatives, and how it helps deliver social, economic and environmental benefits to the Basin, visit cbt.org or call 1.800.505.8998.

The Kootenay Association for Science & Technology (KAST) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the continued growth of science and technology as key economic drivers in the West Kootenay-Boundary region of BC. KAST works with business and communities to support and showcase the opportunity provided by science, technology, entrepreneurship and innovation in our region. Visit kast.com.

For more information please contact:
Amber Hayes, MIDAS
250.368.7618 midas@kast.com

Harper Government Invests in British Columbia’s Kootenay Region Mining and Metals Industry

Press Release ~

July 13, 2015 – Trail, British Columbia – Western Economic Diversification Canada

Today, David Wilks, Member of Parliament for Kootenay—Columbia, on behalf of the Honourable Michelle Rempel, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification, 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.

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.

Quick Facts

  • 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 metalssector 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.

Quotes

“Our Government recognizes that a robust economy relies on the strengths of all communities across the West. This investment will strengthen industry in B.C.’s rural sector, which will serve to diversify and strengthen Western Canada’s economy.”

– David Wilks, Member of Parliament for Kootenay—Columbia

“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. MIDAS provides companies and entrepreneurs the tools, coaching and technical expertise needed to succeed.”

– Leon Pigott, KAST Board Chair

Ben Standford
Regional Communications Manager
Western Economic Diversification Canada
Telephone: 604-666-3395
Email: ben.stanford@wd-deo.gc.ca

Erin Handy
Executive Director
Kootenay Association for Science & Technology Telephone: 250-362-5052
Email: erin@kast.com

WD Toll-Free Number: 1-888-338-WEST (9378)
Teletypewriter (TTY): 1-877-303-3388
Website: WD is online at www.wd-deo.gc.ca.