Lakehead University researcher exploring new ways to discover mines

August 28, 2018 – Thunder Bay, ON

Photo of Dr. Pete HollingsA Lakehead University researcher is playing a key role in an international project to improve the way companies discover new mines.

Dr. Peter Hollings is collaborating with researchers at the Centre for Ore Deposit and Earth Sciences (CODES) at the University of Tasmania. This $2.36 million (CAD) project is funded by 11 mining companies and is part of AMIRA International’s Far field and near mine footprints – Finding and defining the next generation of Tier 1 ore deposits project.

Dr. Hollings will spend the next three years developing tools that will help mining companies discover new ore deposits by investigating changes in the chemistry of minerals around the mineralized areas.

As well as studying ore deposits around the globe, two Master of Science students from Lakehead University will investigate the formation of copper mineralization on Vancouver Island, BC, in a direct collaboration with Freeport-McMoRan Mineral Properties Canada Inc.

“This project builds on a 13-year collaboration that has developed tools which have been widely adopted by mining companies looking for porphyry copper deposits, the main source of the world’s copper,” said Dr. Hollings, Chair of Lakehead's Department of Geology.

As it becomes harder and harder to find new sources of copper and gold, companies must develop new ways to discover ore deposits.

“Our research has developed ways of looking at the chemistry of minerals to get an idea of how far away and in what direction to look to find the centre of the deposit, which greatly expands the target area,” he said.

“We will continue to develop those tools and test them around different styles of ore deposits. This work will be of considerable interest to the companies sponsoring our research.”

Those companies include:

  • Anglo American Exploration
  • BHP
  • Boliden Mineral AB
  • Codelco
  • Fortescue Metals Group
  • Freeport-McMoRan Exploration Corp.
  • Mount Isa Mines – A Glencore Company
  • Newcrest Mining Limited
  • Newmont Exploration Pty Ltd
  • PT Merdeka Copper Gold
  • Rio Tinto Exploration Pty Ltd



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Lakehead University has approximately 9,700 full-time equivalent students and 2,000 faculty and staff in 10 faculties at two campuses in Orillia and Thunder Bay, Ontario. Lakehead is a fully comprehensive university: home to Ontario’s newest Faculty of Law in 44 years, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, and faculties of Engineering, Business Administration, Health & Behavioural Sciences, Social Sciences & Humanities, Science & Environmental Studies, Natural Resources Management, Education, and Graduate Studies. Maclean’s 2018 University Rankings place Lakehead University among Canada's Top 10 primarily undergraduate universities, as well as first in Total Research Dollars, second for Citations, and third for Scholarships and Bursaries. In 2017, Research Infosource named Lakehead Research University of the Year in its category for the third consecutive year. Visit