Metal Earth


Metal Earth is a Canadian $104 million applied R&D program led by Laurentian University. Metal Earth will transform our understanding of the genesis of base and precious metal deposits during Earth’s evolution. It will make Canada a world leader in metal endowment research and world-class innovator through open source delivery of new knowledge and the implementation of new technology. With funding from the Canada First Research Excellence Fund and federal/provincial/industry partners, this initiative will be a strategic consortium of outstanding researchers from academia and allied Canadian and international research centres, government, and industry. 



1. Fundamental Science

  • Transform our understanding of Earth’s early evolution and processes that govern differential metal endowment.
  • Improve the science for targeting and finding new orebodies.

2. Applied Innovation and Commercialization

  • Cement Canada’s position as a global leader in mineral exploration research through open source delivery of new knowledge and the development of transformative technologies targeted at increasing exploration success.
  • Improve training of quality young geoscientists for the mineral industry.




Metal Earth is initially focussing on the Precambrian era to answer fundamental questions related to how secular changes in Earth’s evolution have resulted in differential metal endowment in space and in time. Research is seeking to determine the geological, geochemical, and geophysical differences between metal endowed, less endowed, and the more common barren areas that appear geologically equivalent.

Defining the key characteristics that differentiate endowed versus less endowed crust will transform our understanding of the processes responsible for Earth’s differential base and precious metal endowment.


Research is seeking to answer fundamental questions including:

  1. Current metal endowment models emphasize modern geodynamic environments and processes. Precambrian geodynamic environments and processes are controversial. If they differed from those operating today, what are the processes that resulted in early Earth’s metal endowment and how can they be recognized?
  2. Can we recognize subtle differences in the mantle, the subcontinental lithospheric mantle, the crust and in the deep crustal structures between endowed and less endowed areas, which may explain metal endowment localization?


Through this new knowledge, Metal Earth is transforming our understanding of Earth’s evolution and the fundamental processes that govern metal enrichment through time, as well as increasing our understanding of the evolution of our planet’s hydrosphere and atmosphere. It is aiding government to assess Canada’s resource potential and to develop strategies for Far North growth and sustainability.


Get Involved

Metal Earth partners with academic institutions and industry members world wide. Visit the MERC careers page for current research opportunities and job postings with Metal Earth. Learn more about how you can get involved as a MERC corporate member or subscribe to receive research updates via the MERC newsletter. For more information about Metal Earth or MERC, please contact the MERC Director Dr. Ross Sherlock or Associate Director Dr. John Ayer. General inquiries may be sent to



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