Remote Mining Program

Remote Mining

The Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation (CEMI) has identified that mineral development in Canada’s Far North can be accelerated in a sustainable manner through the use of hoverbarge technology for remote mine and community access in areas with no permanent road infrastructure.


The Remote Mining Program (2-5 years) aims to first secure the resources to build and demonstrate a self-propelled land-based 100-tonne hoverbarge in Sudbury, Ontario, in preparation for operational field demonstrations in the Far North. Field demonstrations will be conducted between the end of an all-weather commercial access point and a community or mine site that has no permanent road access. The success of the demonstration project will trigger the commercialization of the technology, leading to socio- economic development benefits.


A hoverbarge is a large flat-bed version of the hovercraft. The hoverbarge is capable carrying loads in excess of 200 tonnes per trip and can travel over muskeg (brush cut) land routes, it is capable of travelling across rivers and operating on winter roads (travelling over rugged terrain).

EXISTING Hovercraft: Small, Fast, manoeuvrable, low-capacity

NEW Hoverbarge: Large, Slow, large-tonnage, freight delivery


The hoverbarge technology is currently at the TRL 5 going to TRL 6, building an operational prototype that represents the near desired configuration. Activities include testing in a simulated operational environment.


  • Validate the technology via an in field test
  • Year-round access to provide supplies to remote Northern Ontario communities and mines;
  • Secure partnerships to support the program;
  • Enable additional mine exploration and future mine development (emphasis on the Ring of Fire);
  • Commercialize a “made in Canada” innovative, long term transportation solution.
  • Transform the north through controlled access


  • Develop a self-propulsion system coupled with required flexibility of the unit to provide the hoverbarge thrust at average speeds of around 30 km/h suitable for the undulations of the northern terrain;
  • Apply CEMI innovations to overcome the known technical challenges of current hoverbarge technology to create a unit suitable for Northern conditions;
  • Build a hoverbarge that will operate under a maximum pay load with an “up-time” or reliability greater than 80 per cent to ensure reliable service.


Through this technology, the program will create a new transportation economy that will facilitate the rapid delivery of the construction equipment/facilities, modular housing, and containerized health care, mobile educational and training infrastructure into new mine sites and to meet the needs of indigenous people in the Far North. This opportunity will create and support the following economic development:

  • Transportation & logistics companies;
  • Northern route maintenance companies;
  • Employment -Local crews;
  • Employment -Local training;
  • Start-Ups -Numerous local service companies;


CEMI is currently seeking support for this program (phase 1.0 building the hoverbarge) from both the provincial and federal governments. CEMI is also seeking private sector support to leverage the public sector investments. CEMI has developed a business plan to support the first phase of the program, which is a detailed hoverbarge project plan in anticipation of full-financial support.

For more information, please contact CEMI via:
Charles Nyabeze
705-562- 6264