A new Canadian geo-science research effort involving universities and mining industry sponsors nationwide is being supported by the largest grant ever via the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC).

The $5.1 million grant through NSERC’s Collaborative R&D program will be supplemented by $7 million from Canadian mining companies, through the Canada Mining Innovation Council (CMIC). The multi-year project will involve 40 geoscience researchers from Canadian universities. The endeavor will be led by Michael Lesher, professor of economic geology at Laurentian University, and Mark Hannington, professor of earth sciences at the University of Ottawa.

The “footprints” project aims to enhance geologists’ ability to assess the range, depth and composition of ore-bodies and mineral deposits—even those lying hundreds of feet underground. “Essentially, the work will allow us to better detect mineral deposits far below the surface,” said Lesher. “It will help us devise tools for sensing deeply buried ore bodies and can improve the way we approach mineral exploration in Canada and around the world.”

“Canada’s economic competitiveness depends on supporting business-related research and development that drives innovation,” said Minister of State Science and Technology Gary Goodyear in announcing the project. “Our government remains committed to partnerships that strengthen Canada’s long-term prosperity.”

The initial grant application to NSERC included 17 Canadian universities and 24 industry partners. Since the project won official approval, the number of participating universities has grown to 24, while the number of industry partners has grown to 27. Sponsors through CMIC will contribute $2.8 million directly and $3.9 million in-kind. www.nserc-crsng.gc.ca

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