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Who we are

To conduct and promote cutting-edge, field-based, collaborative research on mineral deposits and their environments, and to educate and train highly qualified personnel (HQP) for careers in the minerals industry, academia or government.

MERC is a semi-autonomous research centre at Laurentian University (LU) that was established by the LU Senate in 1997. It is affiliated with the Harquail School of Earth Sciences at LU and one of seven mining-related research centres and departments at LU that form an integral part of the Goodman School of Mines.

MERC comprises an internationally recognized group of researchers from academia, industry and government. MERC has >75 faculty, research scientists, and graduate students working on mineral deposits, Precambrian geology, and exploration methodology and targeting, all housed within offices and labs of the Willet Green Miller Centre on the Laurentian University campus. MERC is governed by an Advisory Board comprised of industry, government and academic leaders. 

For more information about MERC, please contact the MERC Director Dr. Ross Sherlock or Associate Director Dr. John Ayer.


Global Research Projects

MERC research projects are supported by Canadian and international mining companies, the National Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Geological Survey of Canada, provincial and territorial geological surveys and other agencies. The research projects are global, and address fundamental ore deposit problems and technology and method development that aid exploration in Precambrian and younger terrains. Over the last ten years, MERC’s annual research funding has exceeded $1 M.

MERC researchers attract more than $2m in research funding annually. MERC played an major role in several major CAMIRO and NSERC-CRD projects, including:

  • Cape Smith Ni-Cu-(PGE) (1994-1996)
  • Thompson Ni-Cu-(PGE) (1997-2001)
  • Ontario PGE (2001-2005)
  • Flin Flon VMS (2004-present)
  • Several major government/industry programs, including Discover Abitibi (2001-2005) and Targeted Geoscience Initiative (1998-present).

MERC also managed the very successful $8m Ontario Mineral Exploration Technology Program (2001-2005) for the Ontario Ministry of Northern Development and Mines, and is presently serving as the Secretariat for the CMIC Exploration Footprints Program.

HES-MERC researchers are presently working in most Canadian Provinces/Territories, Australia, Brazil, China, Finland, Mexico, Morocco, Oman, Peru, and Russia. Large scale thematic projects have recently initiated on gold mineralization in the Abitibi Subprovince and low sulfide PGE mineralization in the Sudbury Igneous Complex Footwall.


Our Strengths

MERC is recognized as a centre of excellence in magmatic Ni-Cu-(PGE) deposits and Precambrian geology with major strengths in Cu-Zn-(Au)-(Ag) VMS deposits, ‘orogenic’ lode Au deposits, rare-metal pegmatites, MVT Pb-Zn deposits, and sediment-hosted Au and U deposits.


The Largest Concentration of Ore Deposit Geology Faculity in Canada

Our faculty includes four internationally-recognized economic geologists (plus one vacancy), nine geologists with specialties in ancillary areas who regularly and in some cases exclusively apply their work to ore deposits, and four part-time faculty who also work on ore deposits, the largest concentration of ore deposit geology faculty in Canada by a wide margin. Three of our faculty hold federally- established Research Chairs in Mineral Exploration, Exploration Geophysics, and Precambrian Geology, and many have received national and international awards for excellence in teaching and/or research. Our students are equally strong, many holding prestigious NSERC Alexander Graham Bell, NSERC Postgraduate M/D, and NSERC Industry Postgraduate Scholarships, and Society of Economic Geologists fellowships and scholarships.


Training & Education 

MERC provides modular courses, short courses and workshops aimed at graduate and undergraduate students as well as industry professionals from across Canada and globally.