Richard Smith

Richard Smith

Department of Earth Sciences
Laurentian University of Sudbury

Chair title

NSERC/CEMI/Vale/Xstrata Nickel/QuadraFNX Mining/Wallbridge Mining Industrial Research Chair in Exploration Geophysics

Chair program

Industrial Research Chairs program


Executive Industrial Research Chairholder since 2010


The Industrial Research Chair (IRC) in Exploration Geophysics was established to develop methods for measuring the physical properties of rocks below the Earth's surface, and to design algorithms for inferring these physical properties from geophysical measurements taken above the Earth's surface and in boreholes. The emphasis will be on using the following geophysical methods: electromagnetics, radio imaging, gravity and magnetics.

The inferred physical properties will be used to help the Canadian mining sector better understand the geological environment. This will in turn help to find mineral resources that can be extracted from the ground. It is believed that most of the shallow resources have already been found; the emphasis will therefore be on finding deeper deposits of mineral resources. The mining sector is an important part of the Canadian economy, contributing a value of $55 billion per year, with a large portion of this money being spent in the North. New mineral discoveries made with techniques developed by the IRC will help sustain the industry.

The IRC will also investigate how geophysical methods can help mining companies extract mineral resources safely and more efficiently. There will be an additional research focus on characterizing and possibly finding value in old mine dumps. We expect that this will have a positive impact on the environment and the economy.

The IRC holder, Richard Smith, comes to Laurentian University with a strong background in the mineral exploration industry and the geophysical survey business. The IRC will be training eight graduate students, enabling them to acquire research skills relevant to these industries.

The industrial partners will have preferred access to research results and an opportunity to interact with the graduate students and guide their research. They will also be contributing valuable expertise and resources to IRC projects.


  • Vale Ltd.
  • QuadraFNX Mining
  • Xstrata Nickel Canada
  • Wallbridge Mining
  • Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation (CEMI)

Contact information

Department of Earth Sciences
Laurentian University of Sudbury
935 Ramsey Lake Rd.
Sudbury, Ontario
P3E 2C6

Tel.: 705-675-1151, ext. 2364
Fax: 705-675-4898


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