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Exploration techniques to be developed.

Developing innovative mining exploration techniques and methods to look under the North's geological blanket of rocks and clay is the focus of a hew $8 million mineral exploration program.

With the stroke of a pen, Dan Newman, Northern Development and Mines minister, launched Ontario's Mineral Exploration Technologies (OMET) program on April 17 at the Northeastern Ontario Mineral Symposium in Sudbury.

The four-year program is geared to provide research dollars for the best project ideas put forward by recognized research groups and the mineral industry and their partners.

Connected with the program is Laurentian University in Sudbury and the university's Mineral Exploration Research Centre which entered into an administrative partnership with the Ontario Geological Survey.

Newman says the work supported by OMET should increase Ontario's global competitive advantage by introducing more cost-effective methods for the mineral industry to develop mines in the province. About $2.5 million will be made available for the 2002-03-fiscal year.

The OMET program is housed on the Laurentian campus at the Willet Green Miller building, home of the Ontario Geological Survey and a world-class facility of mineral and mines research.

Since the program was first announced last fall, 167 potential clients have expressed interest in submitting their project ideas, says Ed Debicki, the newly-appointed program co-ordinator. Special preference will be given to proposals from. Ontario-based groups or consortiums who bring matching dollars to the table from the private sector, government agencies or universities.

To keep the program on track to meet the needs of the mineral industry, a technical advisory committee comprised of experts drawn from academia, industry and the geoscience research community will be set up to act as a peer review group. The review group will evaluate the research proposals and make their recommendations to OMET's management board for final approval. The board will consist of senior provincial geological survey managers and widely-acknowledged experts from the industry and research fields.

If new methods and technologies are developed to assist prospectors, see through that cover into the underlying rock formations; "we will have achieved some major breakthroughs in exploring mineral deposits in Ontario," Debicki says.
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Author:ROSS, IAN
Publication:Northern Ontario Business
Date:May 1, 2001
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