Field trip to the Osisko mine in Malartic, Quebec
Earth and Planetary Science students on a field trip to the Osisko mine in Malartic, Quebec.

Supporting the school of rock

Much of what makes Canada prosperous is right under our feet. In 2010, mineral exports were valued at some $84.5 billion, accounting for nearly one quarter of all exports. To help train the next generation of geologists, Robert Wares, BSc’79, and his company Osisko Mining Corp. have committed $4.1 million to endow the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, with part of the gift matched by the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation.

“During the last mineral exploration boom, we had a hard time finding geologists,” says Wares, President of the Ordre des géologues du Québec. “I’m interested in backing dynamic young talent and encouraging students to enroll in earth sciences. New mineral discoveries and the future of the mining industry depend on a steady supply of qualified geologists, and industry leaders in this country need to get more involved.”

The donation has enabled the Department to take on two promising faculty members – Christie Rowe and Vincent van Hinsberg. Professor Rowe, the Robert Wares Faculty Scholar, specializes in how earthquakes are generated along seismic faults; she plans to investigate the mechanism of the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake that devastated Japan. The Osisko Faculty Scholar, Professor van Hinsberg, is building a new hydrothermal lab that will help understand how aqueous fluids play a roll in mineral distribution.

The donation will also be used to support outstanding graduate students, provide undergraduate scholarships and finance field studies.

“We are tremendously grateful for Bob’s leadership,” says Professor John Stix, Chair of the Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences. “This generous gift will help us to attract and retain the very best junior faculty members, as well as the top students from around the world. To receive this kind of visionary support from an industry executive is truly gratifying.”