Dr. Merline Fonkwe, P.Geo.
Mineral deposits and Environmental Geochemistry
Labrador Institute of Memorial University
Merline was responsible for conducting scientific research to provide mining and mineral exploration companies, and relevant licensing and governance bodies operating in Labrador, with key technical information that can ultimately lead toward the opening of new mineral mining operations. Her research projects mainly target various mineral deposits in Labrador (Iron ores, REE, U, Ni-Cu Sulfide), using both field- and laboratory- based investigations. She also undertook projects related to environmental impacts of mining and other human activities.
Merline was also an adjunct faculty member with Department of Earth Sciences at Memorial University and supervised/co-supervises graduate and undergraduate students. She is a registered professional geoscientist with the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Newfoundland and Labrador.
B.Sc. in Earth Sciences (1997), University of Yaoundé I (Cameroon).
M.Sc. (1999), University of Yaoundé I.
My thesis project focused on volcanology and petrography of basaltic lavas and basement rocks from Mangoum Area, southern continental part of the Cameroon Volcanic Line, Central Africa.
Postgraduate diploma, DEA (2000) in Petrology-Volcanology, University of Yaoundé I.
My research project was a review and comparison between oceanic and continental alkaline volcanism along the Cameroon Volcanic Line, Central Africa.
Ph.D. in Geology and Igneous Petrology (2005), University of Würzburg (Germany).
My dissertation focused on bedrock mapping, geochemistry, geochronology and mineralization potential of the Pan African granitoids, within the Central Africa Fold Belt in the Bafoussam area, Western Cameroon.
• Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Industrial R&D Fellowship (IRDF) at Kingston Process Metallurgy Inc. (KPM)
• Prospectors Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) membership award
• German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) Ph.D. Stipend
• Exploration geochemistry and mineralization footprints
• Environmental Geochemistry and Mineralogy
• Water quality assessment and hydrogeochemical characteristics of groundwater, surface water and drinking water
• Process mineralogy and predictive mineral and metallurgical processing
• Development and application of portable XRF techniques in various fields in geology, mining and archaeology, and environmental analysis
• Materials characterization and improvement of material structures and properties
Analytical methods and techniques: Petrography, geochemistry of major and trace elements, EMPA, XRD, and SWIR, stable and radiogenic isotope geochemistry, geochronology, SEM-MLA, fluid inclusion studies.
• A framework for better understanding drinking-water quality in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Labrador: Implications for optimization and protection of the municipality supplied water – Part I: Hydrogeochemical characteristics and evaluation of the quality of groundwater and surface water sources, and drinking water; Part II: Assessment of residents’ perceptions
Funded by: Harris Centre - RBC Water Research and Outreach, and Labrador Institute of MUN
Role: Principal Investigator (collaborators: Dr. G. Van Biesen and Dr. R. Schiff)
Duration: July 2014–June 2015
• Fe–Ti–V Oxide Mineralization in Mesoproterozoic Intrusive Rocks across Labrador, Canada: Mineralogy, Geochemistry and Economic potential
Funded by: Research and Development Corporation of Newfoundland and Labrador (RDCNL)
Role: Principal Investigator (collaborators: Dr. A. Kerr, Dr. J. Conliffe, Dr. S. Piercey and A. Valvasory, M.Sc. Student)
Duration: May 2014–April 2016
• Documenting spatial and temporal variations of subsurface contaminants by tree-ring characterization in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Labrador (Canada): Implications for the design of effective waste management strategies
Funded by: Harris Centre - MMSB Waste Management Applied Research
Role: Principal Investigator (collaborators: Dr. G. Van Biesen and Dr. S. Trapp) Duration: April 2014–March 2015
• Laboratory evaluation of the use of biochar application on sulfidic mine tailings to reduce acid generation and increase immobilization of metals
Funded by: Research and Development Corporation of Newfoundland and Labrador (RDCNL)
Role: Collaborator (Principal Investigator: Dr. Joinal Abedin)
• Radiation Exposure in Makkovik, Labrador and Environmental Health Risk - Measurement of Radio Nuclides in the Environment Funded by: Atlantic Aboriginal Health Research Program
Role: Collaborator (Principal Investigator: Dr. Atanu Sarkar)
• Development and application of portable XRF techniques for the chemical analysis of different sample media (ores, soils, archeological artefacts, etc.)
• Characterization of anorthosite natural stones from Labrador as building materials
Selected Publications and Presentations
Fonkwe M.L.D. (2016): Birch Brook Nordic Ski Club, Labrador: Physical and chemical characteristics of its chalet’s drinking water from a private groundwater well. Birch Brook Nordic Ski Club, Happy Valley-Goose Bay, NL, Canada, vi + 17 pp.
Fonkwe M.L.D. (2016): A framework for better understanding drinking-water quality in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Labrador: Implications for optimization and protection of municipally supplied water. The Harris Centre, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s, NL, Canada, xiii + 74 pp.
Fonkwe M.L.D. and Schiff R. (2016): A survey of residents’ perceptions of municipal drinking water in the community of Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Labrador. The Labrador Institute of Memorial University of Newfoundland, Happy Valley-Goose Bay, NL, Canada, 76 pp.
Merline L.D. Fonkwe and Stefan Trapp (2016): Analyzing tree cores to detect petroleum hydrocarbon-contaminated groundwater at a former landfill site in the community of Happy Valley-Goose Bay, eastern Canadian subarctic. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 1-15. DOI 10.1007/s11356-016-6802-2
Merline L.D. Fonkwe (2016): Documenting spatial and temporal variations of subsurface contaminants using tree cores: Implications for the design of effective waste management strategies. Report to the Harris Centre, Memorial University of Newfoundland, 45p.
Sparkes G.W., Dunning G.R., Fonkwe M. and Langille A. (2016): Age Constraints on the Formation of Iron Oxide-rich Hydrothermal Breccias of the Moran Lake Area: evidence for an unrecognized unconformity and potential IOCG-style mineralization within the Central Mineral Belt of Labrador. Current Research, Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Natural Resources, pages 71-90
Valvasori, A., Fonkwe, M.L.D., Piercey, S.J., Conliffe, J., (2015): Orthomagmatic Fe-Ti-V oxide mineralization hosted in Paleoproterozoic anorthosite in the Cape Caribou River Allochthon, Grenville Province, southeast Labrador: preliminary results. Current Research, Newfoundland and Labrador Geological Survey, Report 13-1, 137-165. Current Research, Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Natural Resources Geological Survey, Report 15-1, pages 1-15.
M. L. Djouka-Fonkwé, K.T. Kyser, A H. Clark, C. J. Oates et al. (2012): Recognizing propylitic alteration associated with porphyry Cu–Mo deposits in lower greenschist facies metamorphic terrain of the Collahuasi district, northern Chile – Implication of petrography and carbon isotope relationships: Economic Geology, 107, 1457–1478.
Djouka-Fonkwe, M., Schulz, B., Schuessler, U., Tchouankoue, J.-P. & Nzolang,C (2008): Geochemistry of the Bafoussam Pan-African I- and S-type granitoids in western Cameroon. Journal of African Earth Sciences, 50, 593–618.
Djouka-Fonkwe, M., Kyser, K., Clark, H.A., Oates, J.C. & Ihlenfeld, C. (2009): Petrographic characterization of propylitic alteration associated with porphyry Cu–Mo deposits in the Collahuasi District, Northern Chile: implications for mineral exploration. International Applied Geochemistry Symposium (IAGS), June 1–4, 2009 (Fredericton, Canada).
Kyser, K., Alexandre, P., Polito, P., Djouka-Fonkwe, M., Majdi Geagea & Uvarova, J. (2009): Exploration strategies for uranium deposits. International Applied Geochemistry Symposium (IAGS), June 1–4, 2009 (Fredericton, Canada).
Djouka-Fonkwe, M., Kyser, K., O’Connor, T., Thomas, T.D. & Marlatt, J. (2008): Uranium mineralization potential in Finland: Evidences from Satakunta Basin and Karelian domain. GAC-MAC, May 26–28, 2008 (Québec, Canada).
Djouka-Fonkwe, M., Schuessler, U., Schulz, B. & Tchouankoue, J.-P. (2004): Petrogenesis of Neoproterozoic granitoids within the Central African Fold Belt in Western Cameroon. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Mineralogischen Gesellschaft, 19–22 September 2004, Karlsruhe, Germany- European Journal of Mineralogy 16, Beih. 1: 32.
Djouka-Fonkwe, M., Schuessler, U., Schulz, B. & Tchouankoue, J.-P. (2004): Geochemistry and petrogenesis of Neoproterozoic granitoids within the Central Africa Fold Belt in the Bafoussam area, Western Cameroon (Central Africa). 20th Colloquium of African Geology, 2–7 June 2004, Orléans, France, Abstracts volume, p. 140.
Djouka-Fonkwe, M., Schuessler, U., Schulz, B. & Tchouankoue, J.-P. (2004): Shoshonitic Magmatism within the Central African Neoproterozoic Belt: the case of the Bafoussam area (West Cameroon, Central Africa). TSK 10 Conference, 30 March–2 April 2004, Archean, Germany. Terra Nostra, p. 15.
Prior to joining the Labrador Institute, Merline worked at Queen’s Facility for Isotope Research (QFIR), Department of Geological Sciences of Queen’s University as Postdoctoral fellow (2006-2010) in the field of Geochemistry applied to mineral exploration and environmental monitory and at Kingston Process Metallurgy Inc. (KPM), a consulting company providing Research and Development services to mining, metallurgical and chemical industries, specializing in Applied and Process Mineralogy for two years.
Merline is equally passionate about things outside the world of geosciences, including indoor and outdoor activities, fine cuisine, home decor, and most importantly music and dance.