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Lakehead geologists developing exploration models for mining industry

University secures provincial funding to study how critical minerals and gold deposits are formed
Lakehead University sign
(Lakehead University supplied image)

Lakehead University’s department of geology has received $2 million in provincial funding to develop a new model for mineral exploration in Northern Ontario.

This research will study the geological processes leading to the formation of valuable mineral deposits. It will develop novel models for industry partners to seek new deposits that will be developed into mines. The research work is focused on nickel-copper-platinum and gold.

A team that will involve 30 graduate students and post-doctoral fellows will work on a range of sites where the researchers will develop models that can be applied to create more efficient exploration in Canada.

Peter Hollings, director of Lakehead’s Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Mining and Exploration, and Noah Phillips, an assistant professor in geology, will lead the research effort.

The funding is coming from the Research Excellence program within the Ministry of Colleges and Universities' Ontario Research Fund.

“The funding will allow us to continue to develop mineral deposit research at Lakehead University, which in turn will establish us as an essential partner in the search for Ontario’s critical minerals and the training of the next generation of geoscientists,” said Hollings in a news release. 

 “We will develop an innovative research hub at Lakehead University that will train a diverse group of highly qualified people in a wide range of traditional and state of the art techniques,” Hollings said.

“Combined with undergraduate research projects, this will help reverse the current trend of declining numbers of graduate students working on mineral deposit studies in Canada,” he said.

Hollings is also the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Industrial Research Chair in Mineral Exploration.

Collaboration from the industrial side involves Goldshore Resources, Wesdome Gold Mine, Romios Gold Resources, Impala Canada, Generation Mining, Clean Air Metals and Enersoft. More support is coming from the University of Toronto, the Geological Survey of Canada, and Science North; the latter is assisting with youth outreach.