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Support for R&D in mining and petroleum

By Meaghan Whelan

Thirteen projects at Memorial have been given a $960,000 boost by the Research & Development Corporation of Newfoundland and Labrador.

The GeoEXPLORE program is a new directed research program aimed at enhancing geoscience R&D capacity, collaboration and innovation. The program targets five areas for R&D investment: research team awards; geoscience research tools and equipment; collaborative research opportunities; post-doctoral researchers; and industry-led R&D, technology development and demonstration.

Directed research is an internationally recognized program framework for accelerating R&D in priority areas, and is often characterized as thematic, problem solving, capacity building and collaborative.

"Leading-edge geoscience R&D plays a critical role in supporting mineral and petroleum exploration and development," said Susan Sullivan, minister of Innovation, Trade and Rural Development. "As Newfoundland and Labrador's mining industry continues to grow, continued research and development will assist in greater exploration and development. These investments through the RDC mark a positive step in increasing the potential to develop new mines and invite new high-value business and technology development opportunities for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians."

Mining is the second largest industry in Newfoundland and Labrador, employing more than 4,900 people in rural areas of the province, while oil production represents almost 27.5 per cent of Newfoundland and Labrador's nominal gross domestic product. The total value of minerals and petroleum production in 2010 was $12 billion.

The funding supports projects being led by researchers from Memorial University's Department of Earth Sciences, Department of Chemistry, and Department of Physics and Physical Oceanography.

"Newfoundland and Labrador is home to rich mineral resources, which offer students, faculty and industry partners tremendous opportunities to explore and discover," said Dr. Chris Loomis, vice-president (research), Memorial University of Newfoundland. "This funding will build on Memorial's world-class expertise in geosciences and also help us forge stronger relationships with the mining and petroleum industries."

RDC is investing a total of $964,404.25 in the following 13 Newfoundland and Labrador-based projects; the total project costs add up to more than $1.7 million.

A list of projects is available at