Smiling HES members by large $49,269,000 cheque from the Government of Canada to Laurentian University.

Become a Member!

Top tier Foundation Membership provides a position on the MERC Advisory Board and the opportunity to provide direction for future educational and research initiatives. Most levels come with reduced fees for MERC workshops and modular courses, and exclusive access to the MERC Website, which will contain PDFs of student theses, research papers, meeting abstracts/posters/PowerPoint presentations, final reports of past projects (when outside confidentiality period), maps, and databases. All levels come with access to and will support one of the most innovative centres in the world for applied education, training, and research on Precambrian ore systems: 

  • Innovative educational and training programs at all levels (BSc, MSc, MSc, Appl, PhD, and professional development), emphasizing practical and applied mineral exploration skills
  • Close access to a wide range of world-class mineral deposits and geology, and close collaborations with mining companies and two of the top geological surveys in the world, providing outstanding field-based educational programs
  • State-of-the-art in-house laboratory facilities; more specialized facilities available though an extensive network of national and international collaborators
  • Exceptionally broad in-house research expertise in a wide range of mineral deposit types; outside expertise available though an extensive network of national and international collaborators
  • Numerous in-house researchers experienced in collaborating with industry; outside expertise available through collaboration or short-term research positions (PDFs) and expertise in exploration targeting.

Membership in MERC represents a strategic investment in the long-term growth and vitality of Canada’s mineral exploration education and research. For further information, please contact the MERC Director, Dr. Harold Gibson

About Laurentian University 

Laurentian University (LU) is one of Canada’s leading mineral exploration, mining, and environmental research and education centres. Located in Sudbury, the world’s largest exploration/mining/service/education cluster, it has designated mineral resource science and engineering as a top priority in its Institutional Strategic Research Plan, and has established a School of Mines. Research at LU covers the entire range of the mining cycle from mineral exploration, deposit evaluation, and aboriginal engagement through mine development and operation to mine closure, environmental monitoring, and occupational safety and health. Teaching and basic research is done within the academic units and applied research is focused through several semi-autonomous research centres, including the Mineral Exploration Research Centre (MERC), Centre in Mining Materials Research (CIMMR), Geomechanics Research Centre (GRC), Laurentian University Mining Automation Laboratory (LUMAL), Centre in Environmental Monitoring (CEM), Mining Innovation Rehabilitation and Applied Research Corporation (MIRARCo), and Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation (CEMI).

About the Harquail School of Earth Sciences and Mineral Exploration Research Centre

The Harquail School of Earth Sciences (HES) has emerged as one of the strongest and most innovative in Canada, offering a complete range of exploration-related programs, including BSc in Earth Science with Environmental and Co-Op options, thesis-based MSc in Mineral Exploration, coursework-based Applied MSc in Mineral Exploration, and thesis-based PhD in Mineral Exploration and Precambrian Geology. The MSc and PhD degrees have Mapping School options with the Ontario Geological Survey. We offer one of the strongest BSc in Geology programs in Canada, with full-term courses in both Mineralogy and Optical Mineralogy, two courses each in Geochemistry, Igneous Petrology/Petrography, Metamorphic Petrology/Petrography, Sedimentary Petrology/Petrography, and Ore Deposits, three courses in Field Geology, and large numbers of in-course field trips. Since its inception in 1996, MERC has trained more than 150 MSc students, Applied MSc students, PhD students, and post-doctoral fellows, most of whom are now employed in industry.

HES and MERC are housed, together with the Ontario Geological Survey (OGS), the Ontario Geoscience Laboratories (OGL), and the Mining Division of the Ontario Ministry of Northern Development, Mines (MNDM), in Willet Green Miller Mines and Minerals Research Centre (WGMC) on the Laurentian University campus, which was designed from the ground up as a geoscience building.

We have comprehensive mineralogical analytical and characterization facilities, we maintain one of the top laser- ablation ICP-MS laboratories in the world (with a wide range of applications to mineral exploration), and have a special agreement providing access to the outstanding mineral and whole-rock geochemical analytical facilities in the Ontario Geoscience Laboratories. Close proximity to world-class ore deposits at Sudbury (Ni-Cu-PGE), Kidd Creek (Cu-Zn), Timmins-Kirkland Lake (Au), Rouyn-Noranda (Cu-Zn), and Val d'Or (Au) permits a level of field- based instruction and research that can be duplicated only with great difficulty and cost elsewhere. The close interaction of MERC with major national and international mining companies and numerous junior exploration companies, has resulted in collaborative research projects that provide our undergraduate and graduate students with unparalleled opportunities to obtain hands-on training in mineral exploration.

About the Mineral Exploration Research Centre

MERC is recognized as a centre of excellence in magmatic Ni-Cu-(PGE) deposits and Precambrian geology with major strengths in Cu-Zn-(Au)-(Ag) VMS deposits, ‘orogenic’ lode Au deposits, rare-metal pegmatites, MVT Pb-Zn deposits, and sediment-hosted Au and U deposits. Our faculty includes four internationally-recognized economic geologists (plus one vacancy), nine geologists with specialties in ancillary areas who regularly and in some cases exclusively apply their work to ore deposits, and four part-time faculty who also work on ore deposits, the largest concentration of ore deposit geology faculty in Canada by a wide margin. Three of our faculty hold federally- established Research Chairs in Mineral Exploration, Exploration Geophysics, and Precambrian Geology, and many have received national and international awards for excellence in teaching and/or research. Our students are equally strong, many holding prestigious NSERC Alexander Graham Bell, NSERC Postgraduate M/D, and NSERC Industry Postgraduate Scholarships, and Society of Economic Geologists fellowships and scholarships.

MERC researchers attract more than $2m in research funding annually. We played an major role in several major CAMIRO and NSERC-CRD projects, including Cape Smith Ni-Cu-(PGE) (1994-1996), Thompson Ni-Cu-(PGE) (1997-2001), Ontario PGE (2001-2005), and Flin Flon VMS (2004-present), and several major government/industry programs, including Discover Abitibi (2001-2005) and Targeted Geoscience Initiative (1998-present). MERC also managed the very successful $8m Ontario Mineral Exploration Technology Program (2001-2005) for the Ontario Ministry of Northern Development and Mines, and is presently serving as the Secretariat for the CMIC Exploration Footprints Program. HES-MERC researchers are presently working in most Canadian Provinces/Territories, Australia, Brazil, China, Finland, Mexico, Morocco, Oman, Peru, and Russia. Large scale thematic projects have recently initiated on gold mineralization in the Abitibi Subprovince and low sulfide PGE mineralization in the Sudbury Igneous Complex Footwall.