Applied Mineralogy

The mining sector of Newfoundland and Labrador has experienced significant growth in the past decade. While extraction projects are the source of major investment, exploration activities continue to be essential for evaluating new areas for their mineral potential.

The Industrial Research Chair for Colleges in Applied Mineralogy at the College of the North Atlantic is using research and development in mining sciences to support this phenomenal growth. Research Chair Dr. Gary Thompson is a geochemist, working closely with mining giant Vale Newfoundland and Labrador (Vale NL), which is developing a significant nickel deposit at Voisey Bay. The college’s researchers have partnered with Vale’s team of experts and provincial research units to improve exploration techniques and help the company find promising new deposits.

Dr. Thompson’s current research project is focused on process development and technology innovations in applied mineralogy including development of innovative techniques for exploration of magmatic ore bodies. This research will help improve the resource recovery process through a better understanding of the character of ore deposits.

The college’s research project is analyzing the biochemical signature of buried mineral deposits, and the gases found above mineral deposits and petroleum reservoirs as indicators of promising ore deposits. As a result of the team’s research findings, additional grants have been obtained from the Research and Development Council of Newfoundland and ACOA, which have enhanced the Chair’s research facilities and new equipment to build a soil gas laboratory.

“Vale has a 15-year history of supporting local research in Newfoundland and Labrador, mainly through Memorial University, and recognizes the benefit of building a similar relationship with College of the North Atlantic,” says Scott Mooney, General Manager of Exploration at Vale NL. “Dr. Thompson’s position will enable long-term planning and growth of geological expertise in Newfoundland and Labrador, which will benefit both the province and the local mining/exploration industry.”

Industry: Environmental

About College of the North Atlantic (CNA)

College of the North Atlantic is Newfoundland and Labrador’s public college – one of the largest post-secondary educational and skills training centres in Atlantic Canada,... Learn more