Atlantic Canada’s commercialization and industry liaison network

Success Stories

The Rock of the Rock

An instructor of chemistry and earth sciences at the college’s Burin Campus since 2003, Dr. Gary Thompson brings 18 years of international experience in the geosciences to the classroom. A registered professional geoscientist, Dr. Thompson’s research activities are of particular interest for mining and natural resources exploration, shaping discovery and extraction strategies for operators.

Dr. Thompson’s research focuses on geochemical techniques used in research for mineral exploration. In 2009, Dr. Thompson was awarded an Industrial Research and Innovation Fund grant of $97,000 to explore methods for the discovery and extraction of ore below bedrock. Most, if not all, exposed ore has already been discovered in Newfoundland and Labrador. Any remaining economic deposits are hidden below the surface of exposed bedrock, making geophysical and geochemical methods for mineral exploration increasingly important.

Dr. Thompson’s more recent research has focused on trace element mineral chemistry and application methods for finding buried uranium deposits and orthomagmatic nickel sulfide deposits. Over the summer of 2009, with support of Aurora Energy Inc. and Memorial University, a study was initiated to examine biogeochemical exploration techniques in the Central Mineral Belt, Labrador.

In addition to his research in geochemical exploration, Dr. Thompson is working with Dr. Barry Hicks, college researcher at the Carbonear Campus, to examine the possible role of heavy metals as a contributing cause of autism. A pilot study examining the variation of heavy metals in the teeth of autistic and normally developing children is underway in an effort to identify any possible correlation between the presence of heavy metals and the disorder.