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About MDRU

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 and Ocean Sciences and an internationally recognized research group devoted to solving mineral exploration-related problems. It is part of an integrated geologic and geophysical research program at UBC devoted to training students for employment in the industry and to solving research questions of interest to the community.

“MDRU plays a vital role in advancing research within the Faculty of Science at UBC. It also serves to strengthen UBC’s ties with industry by providing valuable data and research that benefits both the university community and the exploration and mining industry. MDRU continues to play an integral role in the Faculty’s research activities”
John W. Hepburn, Former Dean of Science, UBC

“MDRU provides quality geological research and is undoubtedly one of the best collaborative research institutions in the world. It not only delivers critical training to new explorationists, it improves the ore deposit models that guide our exploration.”
C.J. Hodgson, Former Chief Geologist, Barrick Gold Corporation

MDRU welcomes Corporate and Individual Members, which currently includes major and junior mining and exploration companies from Canada, United States, and Australia, and several Associate Members. MDRU has collaborative research projects with economic geology research groups in the United States and Australia, and is developing projects in Asia and Africa.

MDRU assists members by increasing the understanding of mineral deposits and methods that are used for their discovery. This is accomplished through:

Research projects: Projects are supported by mineral exploration companies, government research councils, geological surveys, and other agencies. Project development involves close collaboration with supporting companies, other research groups and creative geoscientists not generally working on ore deposits

Resource Centre, which is available for use by members and students, contains:

  • Economic geology-related library including the geologic and mining archive for Island Copper donated by BHP Minerals.
  • Sheahan-MDRU Library.
  • The GIS-computer facility.
  • Fluid inclusion laboratory.
  • Petrographic microscope.
  • Access to departmental facilities (SEM, Microprobe, sample preparation laboratories, etc.)

Advanced education: Organization of short courses and workshops for professional development. Training of qualified geologists for employment in the resource industry.

MDRU and associated faculty in the Department of Earth & Ocean Sciences have established themselves as one of the best economic geologic research centre in Canada. MDRU now undertakes projects globally, with graduate students and senior researchers active in the United States, Mexico, Chile, Perú, Argentina, Tanzania, Turkey, Mongolia, and Australia, with expanding opportunities in Asia and Africa. Regardless of their geographic focus, project results are applicable to understanding ore genesis processes and assisting exploration programs throughout the Circum-Pacific region and in similar environments elsewhere in the world.

MDRU differs from most university-based applied research bodies and other economic geology research groups in that MDRU did not result from government sponsored programs; rather, it grew from the combined interests of the mining industry headquartered in Vancouver and The University of British Columbia. The high levels of cooperation established with the mining community and the Department are essential ingredients behind MDRU’s on-going success. MDRU is governed by a Board of Advisors, which includes representatives from industry, UBC, and the provincial and federal geological surveys.

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