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The Mineral Deposit Research Unit (MDRU) at the University of British Columbia (UBC) is pleased to announce the award of $1,042,923 from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Alliance-Mitacs Accelerate program (matching $450,000 in industry cash contributions). This project aims to define a chemical and temporal “fingerprint” for volcanic rocks in the “Golden Triangle” of northwest British Columbia, which are most prospective for precious-and critical metal rich VHMS and epithermal deposits. Shaun Barker, Director of the Mineral Deposit Research Unit and project leader, “MDRU has a proud history of research in the Golden Triangle dating back to the earliest days of MDRU, and we are very pleased to have the support of our industry partners, NSERC and Mitacs to enable this project to occur.  This project will establish a geological and exploration framework that will improve precious and base metal discovery success in the Golden Triangle.”

Sally Goodman, VP Generative Exploration, Newmont Corporation, and MDRU Vice Chair: “British Columbia’s Golden Triangle remains a major focus of exploration activity in Canada, attracting investment from major mining companies and junior explorers. This substantial research program will address some fundamental questions regarding the geological control on different styles of mineralization in the area, and will ensure efficient exploration targeting. It is a great example of cross-functional research and university-industry collaboration, and illustrates the revival of the MDRU as a force in mineral exploration research under Dr Shaun Barker.”

This project is supported by Dolly Varden Silver Corp, Garibaldi Resources Corp., Mountain Boy Minerals, Newcrest Mining and Tudor Gold Corp. The research will be carried out in collaboration with UBC faculty members Dr. Ken Hickey, Dr. Kelly Russell,  Dr. Joel Saylor and Prof. Dominique Weis (Director of the Pacific Centre for Isotopic and Geochemical Research), Dr. Stephanie Brueckner (University of Manitoba), and Prof. Stephen Piercey (Memorial University of Newfoundland).

The project will train two postdoctoral research fellows and four postgraduate students to provide highly-qualified geoscientists for the Canadian minerals industry. The research team will be starting fieldwork this summer, and the project will run through 2025.



NSERC invests over $1 billion each year in natural sciences and engineering research in Canada. For more information about this grant, visit 


Mitacs promotes high-quality research and innovation by building linkages between postsecondary institutions and industry across all academic disciplines to further research, train the next generation of innovators, help address challenges faced by small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and foster the overall growth and success of Canada’s innovation ecosystem.


MDRU (Mineral Deposit Research Unit) is a collaborative research venture between the minerals industry and the Department of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences (EOAS) at The University of British Columbia (UBC).  It contributes to smarter exploration through academic partnership and training.

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