$2.5M boost to cutting-edge exploration geochemistry research at UBC


UBC researcher Peter Winterburn has taken up the newly created NSERC/AcmeLabs/Bureau Veritas Minerals Industrial Research Chair in Exploration Geochemistry.

A new industry-government partnership that includes $1.25 million in funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) will help launch a new chair in exploration geochemistry at the University of British Columbia.

The five-year research program was created in partnership with Bureau Veritas Minerals (formerly AcmeLabs) and UBC’s Mineral Deposit Research Unit (MDRU). It was established and inspired by the late Dean Toye, founder of AcmeLabs, which contributed $1 million in corporate support. Bureau Veritas Minerals contributed an additional $250,000 in subsequent support.

“It was always Mr. Toye’s desire to give back to the mineral resource community that helped to make Bureau Veritas the industry leader it is today,” said Jon Landau, Senior Vice President, Bureau Veritas Minerals. “We’re proud to be involved with a high-caliber groups like the MDRU and Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences at UBC. The generous support for this chair position is certain to assist in world-class research in exploration geochemistry.”

Geochemical exploration involves systematically using the various chemical fingerprints found in rock and soil samples to better target locations for mineral exploration.

“This investment advances the already strong legacy of basic and applied geochemistry research at UBC,” said Simon Peacock, Dean of UBC’s Faculty of Science. “It will help ensure the mineral exploration industry has access to the best techniques, technologies and training.”

UBC researcher Peter Winterburn has taken up the newly created NSERC/AcmeLabs/Bureau Veritas Minerals Industrial Research Chair in Exploration Geochemistry. He has more than 25 years of experience in senior positions within the minerals industry, with a strong focus on mineral exploration, most recently as Chief Geochemist with Vale.

“This position, and MDRU’s Exploration Geochemistry Initiative, represents a unique opportunity to pioneer important and innovative work in this field. The challenges facing the mineral exploration industry are very real, and the research we spearhead here at UBC will not only drive the science forward, but also ease some of those challenges,” said Winterburn.

Dr. Peter Bradshaw, Chairman of First Point Minerals Corp. and Co-founder and first Chairman of the Mineral Deposit Research Unit, was instrumental in securing financial support.

“The industry recognizes the important contributions made to the exploration industry by MDRU and UBC in the past, and this Chair is a vital piece in continuing that track-record. The expertise and knowledge it generates will aid mineral explorers working in Canada’s dynamic environment,” said Bradshaw.

The importance of this position to the mineral exploration industry in Canada is highlighted by the support it received from industry leaders, geochemistry consultants, and major mining and exploration companies, notably Anglo American, Newmont and Vale. Olympus Innov-X, and the Northwest Territories Geological Survey also provided support to the research program.


MDRU is an internationally recognized research group formed as a joint venture between the mineral exploration industry and The University of British Columbia (UBC). Established in 1990, MDRU’s team of world-class researchers and state-of-the-art facilities allows it to tackle mineral exploration-related problems through the application of applied and innovative research: www.mdru.ubc.ca

NSERC invests over $1 billion each year in natural sciences and engineering research in Canada. Our investment delivers discoveries, valuable world-firsts in knowledge claimed by a brain trust of over 11,300 professors, world-leading researchers in their fields. Our investments enable partnerships and collaborations that connect industry with discoveries and the people behind them. Researcher-industry partnerships established by NSERC help inform R&D, solve scale-up challenges and reduce the risks of developing high-potential technology: www.nserc-crsng.gc.ca

Bureau Veritas is a world leader in conformity assessment and certification services. Created in 1828, the Group now has 66,000 employees in some 1,400 offices and laboratories located in 140 countries and posted revenues of €4.1 billion in 2014: www.bureauveritas.com


Libby Sharman
Mineral Deposit Research Unit
University of British Columbia
Tel: 778-870-7201