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Welcome to the Mineral Deposit Research Unit

The Mineral Deposit Research Unit (MDRU) is a collaborative venture between the mining industry and The University of British Columbia (UBC). The unit, which was established in 1989 with support and financial assistance from the mining industry and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), is an important part of the Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, and an internationally recognized research group devoted to solving mineral exploration-related problems. (read more)


New Initiatives and Research Opportunities


Tethyan Metallogeny 2

Improving regional, district, and camp-scale metallogeny and geology from Turkey to Romania

Alan Wainwright, Craig Hart, Thomas Bissig, Farhad Bouzari, Mana Rahimi

The Western Tethyan orogenic belt is a composite tectono-magmatic terrane that extends from Pakistan to central Europe. A large number of significant porphyry, epithermal and intrusion-related gold, and base-metal deposits are hosted in the region, including giants such as Reko Diq, Sar Cheshmeh and Bor, as well as recent high-grade discoveries such as Cukaru Peki and Hot Maden. The region is challenging to work in due to the inconsistent nature and lack of coherence in pre-competitive geoscientific data (geological, geophysical and metallogenic)between and across the various jurisdictions.

Significant advances have been made by MDRU in the Tethyan metallogenic belt since 2003. The first module (2012-2016; WT1) successfully added, compiled and improved data acquisition and availability across 10 countries, including:

    • GIS compilations of geology at scales of 1:500k or better;
    • Mineral occurrence database compilation;
    • New geochronology data and compilation;
    • New geochemical data and compilation;
    • Regional geophysics

(read more)

Exploring Iran

Accelerating exploration decision-making in this new frontier with our Iranian geological and metallogenic expertise

Farhad Bouzari, Mana Rahimi

Iran is recognized as one of the world’s top 15 most mineralized jurisdictions with an in-ground net value estimated at about $700 billion. Iran hosts the world’s 9th largest copper reserve and has extensive regions of gold mineralization. Government officials have clearly stated a desire to significantly increase investment in their mining industry, which now contributes only 0.6% to GDP. With the lifting of economic sanctions, Iran now potentially provides opportunities for savvy explorers.

The geology of Iran is dominated by subduction-related continental margin arcs that form several belts, which provides numerous favorable environments for the formation of porphyry copper, related skarn, and epithermal gold deposits (Figure 1). There are over 1000 significant copper prospects and >100 significant gold prospects that are currently identified. Notable among these are porphyry Cu-Mo deposits such as Sar Cheshmeh (1.5 Gt @ 0.65% Cu, 350 ppm Mo), Sungun (1Gt @ 0.7%Cu), and nascent epithermal Au deposits such as Sari Gunay (52 Mt at 1.77 ppm Au). The main porphyry belt in Iran (Urumieh-Dokhtar zone) which extends from southeast to northeast is comparable in size to the central Andean porphyry belt in Chile and therefore provides extensive favourable ground opportunity to explore for large porphyry and allied deposits.

These favourable geological and economic conditions provide an opportunity to apply modern mineral exploration strategies and methods to this region.

(read more)

Tailings Innovation

Multi-disciplinary approaches to tailings management, maturation and utilization

Greg Dipple, Craig Hart, Dirk van Zyl

This project will tackle some of the major challenges regarding tailings facing the mining industry. A think tank of industry engineers and geologists, academics, environmental operators and stakeholders have identified three key areas of focus for this project: Material Characterization, Tailings Maturation, and Incentives versus Risks.

By bringing together leaders in the industry with funding from multiple stakeholder groups we will address these topics in an integrated approach.

(read more about the UBC Tailings Initiative)


Upcoming Events

TREKing through BC's central interior

This one-day Geoscience BC and MDRU joint session brings together the experts involved in Geoscience BC's 4-year Targeting Resources for Exploration and Knowledge (TREK) projects for a dynamic and technically informative day of presentations, conversation and posters.

TREK projects have created significant new mineral data across 24,000 square kilometers across central BC. This one-day event will be your opportunity to hear from the geologists and technical experts involved on all aspects of this multi-year initiative.

Register Here

MDRU Highlights

10 Ways MDRU Rocked in 2016
Press Release:
$2.5M Boost to Exploration Geochemistry
Press Release:
MDRU rises to the Integra Gold Rush Challenge

MDRU Corporate Membership

Current MDRU Members

View Membership Information online, or download our printable Member Benefits Flyer (pdf)

To donate to MDRU, contact:
Allan Berezny, 604.822.8686


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Career Opportunities

We do not currently have any open opportunities.

For future opportunities at MDRU, expressions of interest and CVs can be sent to MDRU Director Craig Hart, at

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