David Harquail, president and CEO of Franco-Nevada Corp., a gold-focused royalty company, announced that his family foundation is making a $10 million investment to support Laurentian University’s Department of Earth Sciences and its Mineral Exploration Research Centre (MERC). The University’s Board of Governors has unanimously decided to honor the Harquail family by renaming the Department of Earth Sciences as the Harquail School of Earth Sciences and associate ongoing MERC efforts with the Harquail name.

“This is a step toward making Laurentian the leading center for mineral exploration research in the world,” said David Harquail. “Laurentian has mining in its DNA with its location next to mines and a cluster of mining related government departments and research agencies on campus. Success will come from the development of new concepts and tools to find the next generation of ore deposits.”

An $8.4 million endowment will be created to support new research chairs, lab equipment and supplies, technical support and scholarships for international Ph.D students. The balance of $1.6 million will allow for the immediate recruitment of a research chair in exploration targeting and other support.

“We are immensely grateful to the Harquail family for this transformative gift,” said Dr. Douglas Tinkham, director of the Harquail School of Earth Sciences.

“The mining industry’s exploration efforts are at a low ebb and are focused on the near term. The university is committed to the longer term science that could lead to new discoveries. This investment helps us to build the capacity to do that science.”

The Harquail School of Earth Sciences is the fourth school in less than five years renamed in recognition of eight-figure private gifts at Laurentian University from Canadian resource entrepreneurs, following the Bharti School of Engineering, the Goodman School of Mines and the McEwen School of Architecture.