More geological maps and archived data are needed to get the most out of Canada’s mining potential, says James Franklin of the Geological Survey of Canada and Franklin Geosciences Ltd. 

At a breakfast lecture held by the Partnership Group for Science and Engineering in Ottawa on Thursday, Franklin said Canada is not investing nearly enough in its mining industry. Australia, which has a similar wealth of mining resources, invests up to five times more in mining research. 

Much of Canada’s metal and ore deposits are hidden beneath the remains of glaciers that have been retreating since the end of the last Ice Age 18,000 years ago. In fact, only five percent of the country’s surface isn’t covered. Some areas, such as Timmins and Sudbury in Ontario and Vancouver Island are well known for their mining resources, but areas like the far North and the ocean floor in Canada’s waters need to be further explored. To prioritize areas where future mining exploration should take place, digital geological maps need to be expanded such that they not only show what kinds of resources are available in which regions, but also have geologists’ observations embedded. In addition, mining data from each province and territory, all of which are archived, should be made accessible to the public, says Franklin.