Metal Earth Project Entering 4th Field Season

June 29, 2020:  The Metal Earth project led by the Mineral Exploration Research Centre (MERC) in Sudbury, Ontario, is now entering its 4th field season of its seven-year $104 million research project.

Metal Earth’s goal is to improve the fundamental science of exploration by helping to distinguish areas with higher metal endowment in Canada’s Superior Craton.  This research project was initiated in the summer of 2017 with $104 million in commitments from the Canada FIRST Research Excellence Fund (CFREF), industry and academia.  

MERC is a collaborative research centre for mineral exploration and is a part of the Harquail School of Earth Sciences at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario.  MERC supports over 100 faculty, research associates and graduate students with over $10 million expended annually in mineral exploration research.  Laurentian University bills itself as “Canada’s Mining University.”

Metal Earth is doing mineral exploration research on a scale that has never been done before in North America. Ross Sherlock, the director of MERC, commented:   

“We are doing the fundamental long-term framework scientific research that can’t be done by the mineral exploration industry itself.  We are aiming to understand the processes behind mineral endowments in the Earth and why similar looking geological structures might have very different mineral contents.  To that effect, the scientists working at Metal Earth are collecting and analyzing data from 13 different transects across the Superior Craton in Ontario and Quebec using a combination of deep high-resolution seismic surveys, magnetotellurics and fundamental geology. Initial results are indicating that we can start mapping faults fertility by their geological and geophysical expressions. ”


Despite the challenges of COVID-19, for the 2020 field season, MERC expects to field 6 crews with 18 geoscientists working across the Abitibi and Wabigoon subprovinces in Ontario. A comprehensive health and safety plan has been designed and implemented to ensure the safety of communities and researchers. Metal Earth has engaged Quantec to run two additional magnetotelluric lines.  MERC is also collaborating with GoldSpot Discoveries and members of our advisory board to enhance data analytics.  

To date, the Metal Earth Project has generated 157 publications, presentations and thesis along with 62 conference abstracts.  These along with the MERC annual reports and the newly released geochronology compilation/database are freely available through the Metal Earth GeoHub.



Ross Sherlock

Director, MERC

(705) 675-1151 x 2379

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