Laurentian University has received $5 million from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corp. toward a $100-million research project that will develop a mass of expertise on how to improve mineral exploration.
The NOHFC announcement was made Wednesday by Northern Development and Mines Minister Michael Gravelle, who said the project dovetails nicely with the mineral development strategy his government announced in December.
That strategy is part of the Government of Ontario’s blueprint to make Ontario the global leader in the mining industry. Getting to that No. 1 spot depends on how well mining research and innovation are harnessed, said Gravelle.
Prof. Riu Wang, vice-president of research at Laurentian University, said the funding will go toward the multi-million project that involves more than 20 other learning institutions and scores of academics and researchers.
The seven-year plan is to build a global centre of excellence around mining and mineral exploration, and to develop a critical mass of research to do that.
Laurentian has secured about $56 million of the money to fund the project, much of it from the private sector, and is awaiting word on funding it hopes to receive from the Canada First Research Excellence Fund. That decision is expected to be announced in early July, said Wang.
He described the consortium as “a major, major project,” and said its goal is simple — to help the mining industry improve its chances of discovering new mines.
Riu said industry and government have been investing more money in exploration, but the number of mine discoveries has not increased proportionately. “We are going to try to increase that rate so more mines can be discovered,” said Wang.
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