Vancouver Campus

Project Information

  • Ore Deposit: Porphyry, Skarn, Various
  • Commodity: Copper, Gold, Molybdenum, Various
  • Research Themes: Base Metals, Copper, Exploration Methods, New Projects
  • Project Status: Active
  • Researchers: Cassady Harraden, Erik Eberhardt, Bern Klein, Shaun Barker, Lindsey Heagy
  • Students: Carolina Marin Suarez

The geology and mineralogy of ore deposits plays a critical role in controlling the economics and environmental footprint of mining operations which seem to extract minerals from ore bodies. MDRU collaborates with researchers in geological engineering and mining engineering on identifying data integration methods, as well as more effective communication on the importance of geology to mine planning and mineral processing. We are part of the ICaRN (International Caving Research Network) which aims to break down barriers to improve the safety and efficiency of block caving operations. Currently, our research is focussed on using novel methods for characterising mineralogy and rock texture at scale, and linking this to engineering parameters, such as RQD and hardness.



RESEARCH PROJECT: OBK Value of Information– Oct 2023

MDRU and BRIMM have teamed up for a two-year research project, funded through an NSERC Alliance grant. This study aims to explore the economics of Ore Body Knowledge (OBK) and quantify the Value of Information (VoI), with support from IMDEX and Ideon Technologies. The project, now in progress with students actively working, will be featured in future newsletters.

Mineral resources are critical to the low-carbon energy transition, with significant resources of copper, nickel, lithium and various other elements needed for electrical infrastructure such as solar panels, wind turbines, electric vehicles and batteries. However, many mineral resources are not easily mined due to complexities of the geology and mineralogy of the ore bodies from which metals are extracted. Often, companies seeking to mine deposits do not have sufficient ore body knowledge. This leads to problems during development of later mining operations, whereby the mine design, mineral processing and waste management results in poor financial and environmental performance. This project seeks to determine which ore body risks impede financial performance, and provide a quantitative determination of how improved data collection during mineral exploration and resource definition (e.g improved ore body knowledge) will improve the financial and environmental performance of mining projects.


Project supported by:


Key project themes:

1. Linking ore body knowledge and mine project performance

2. Integration of geoscience technology and data for mine project risk management


Key people:

• Dr Shaun Barker, Director of the Mineral Deposit Research Unit at UBC (Project Lead)

• Dr John Steen, Director of the Bradshaw Research Institute for Minerals and Mining (BRIMM) at UBC

• Dr David Lawie, Chief Geoscientist at IMDEX

• Dr Doug Schouten, Chief Technical Officer and Co-Founder of Ideon Technologies

• Dr Lindsey Heagy an Assistant Professor with expertise in geophysics and data inversion

• Carolina Marin Suarez (MSc student)

• Dr Cassady Harraden, a postdoctoral research fellow at MDRU with extensive knowledge in use of spectral data and lithogeochemistry to collect OBK.


Project sponsors