UBC receives over $2.3M funding contribution from PacifiCan for critical minerals R&D and a step towards the clean-energy transition

January 15, 2024

The Pacific Centre for Isotopic and Geochemical Research (PCIGR) and the Mineral Deposit Research Unit (MDRU) at the University of British Columbia (UBC) are pleased to announce a funding contribution of $2,321,672 from the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada (PacifiCan). The project was announced by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) as part of the First Regional Energy and Resource Table Collaboration Framework for Accelerating a Low-Carbon Economy.

The contribution provides PCIGR and MDRU with new instrumentation and geochemistry analytical capabilities to assist the mineral exploration and mining sector in British Columbia in unlocking its critical minerals supply. Supported in part by Newcrest Mining (acquired by Newmont Corporation) and the Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences (EOAS) at UBC, the project will focus on copper porphyry deposits in the “Golden Triangle” of northwest B.C., which are the most prospective for precious and critical mineral-rich volcanic-hosted massive sulphide and epithermal deposits.

Dr. Dominique Weis, director of PCIGR, says, “Clean resources, through the upstream development of critical metals, such as copper, are essential for society’s transition to an electrified, low-carbon economy. UBC, PCIGR and MDRU gratefully acknowledge PacifiCan’s support for the opportunity to upgrade our facilities and assist in developing these resources, which will benefit the environment and contribute to the prosperity of British Columbians and Canadians.”

“Exciting things are happening in B.C. in critical minerals,” said the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of Emergency Preparedness and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada. “PacifiCan has long been investing in clean tech and we’re committed to working with partners who share our ambition for what B.C. can contribute to the world.”

The development of copper will contribute towards Canada’s 2050 net-zero emissions goal through use in downstream clean technologies such as electric vehicles. The Canadian Critical Minerals Strategy (2022) identifies copper as one of six priority critical minerals to develop in Canada. The geology of B.C., with areas of rich and diverse mineral endowment and a low-carbon energy supply, strategically positions the province as a prime supplier and sustainable developer for copper. The project is currently underway and runs through to 2026.

Read the NRCan backgrounder: https://www.canada.ca/en/natural-resources-canada/news/2023/06/first-regional-energy-and-resource-table-collaboration-framework-for-accelerating-a-low-carbon-economy-released.html 

Read the British Columbia Regional Energy and Resources Tables Framework: https://natural-resources.canada.ca/climate-change/regional-energy-and-resource-tables/british-columbia-regional-energy-and-resource-table-framework-for-collaboration-on-th/british-columbia-regional-energy-and-resource-table-framework

En français: https://www.canada.ca/fr/ressources-naturelles-canada/nouvelles/2023/06/premier-cadre-de-collaboration-des-tables-regionales-sur-lenergie-et-les-ressources-visant-a-accelerer-la-transition-vers-une-economie-a-faibles-em.html

PacifiCan is committed to partnerships that drive innovation and economic growth. By investing in the sustainable development of the critical minerals that will be key in developing the clean technologies of tomorrow, PacifiCan is building on B.C.’s reputation as a clean energy leader and propelling B.C. forward.

PCIGR is a UBC Shared Research Platform that is dedicated to excellence and innovation in geochemistry. Welcoming researchers from academia, government and industry since 2002, PCIGR provides exceptional, high-precision, low-level isotopic and geochemical analytical services through advanced instrumentation.

MDRU is a collaborative joint-venture between UBC and the mineral industry. Established in 1989, MDRU is one of the most successful integrated mineral deposit and exploration research groups in the world, delivering industry-applicable results and providing lab services to industry members.

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