Geological Survey of Newfoundland and Labrador – Supporting Mineral Exploration through Public Geoscience

Alana Hinchey, Ph.D., P.Geo

Published on March 18, 2021
Work 096

The collection and dissemination of pre-competitive public geoscience information by the Geological Survey of Newfoundland and Labrador (GSNL) is based on regional programs (bedrock mapping, surficial geology, mineral deposit studies, airborne geophysics).  Our geologists record observations on bedrock and surficial geology in the field and collect samples (rock, soil, till) for subsequent analysis. These data and information are used to prepare geological maps and reports that explain the distribution of rock types, structural features, geochemical signatures of rocks and surficial materials, alteration signatures associated with mineralization, and geophysical signatures of the rocks.

The GSNL’s scientific products include data, maps, and reports in a variety of formats, and may be regular or timed releases. Some recent examples include: timed-release un-interpreted (“raw”) geochemical data (Deer Lake Map area, Cormack Map area); bedrock geology maps (Silver Mountain Map area; Bellburns Map area); surficial maps (Silver Mountain Map area); and regional reports (Till Indicator Hopedale; Current Research).

The diverse and unique geology of Newfoundland and Labrador offers a wide spectrum of opportunities for exploration and development. Potential commodities range from base metals (Ni-Cu-Co-Pb-Zn) and precious metals (Au, Ag, etc.), to industrial minerals, solid fuels (uranium), and the critical elements and minerals (REE, Co). This unique geology encourages continual development of diverse mineral exploration targets and projects, and this diversity is the key to levelling the cyclic swings in individual market- and socioeconomic-driven commodity demands and prices.  

The Geological Survey plays a critical role in attracting and supporting private investment from the mineral exploration and mining industry through the generation, collection, interpretation and dissemination of geoscience data.  Our geoscience products are a critical component for developing a successful mineral exploration program. The exploration community relies on our products to make informed decisions—pre-competitive public geoscience reduces the risk of investing in the inherently risky business of mineral exploration. In an increasingly competitive market, the availability of public geoscience data will be even more essential to ensuring that Newfoundland and Labrador remains an attractive and competitive province for mineral exploration.



Alana earned a B.Sc.Hons. (Geological Science) from Queen's University in 1999, followed by a M.Sc. (Earth Sciences) from Memorial University in 2001, and a Ph.D. (Earth Sciences) from Carleton University in 2005. Alana joined the provincial Geological Survey of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador in 2006 as a bedrock mapping geologist. In 2012, Alana was promoted to Senior Geologist for the Regional Geology Section and is accountable for the collection, development and interpretation of bedrock-geological data for the Province, as well as various research projects including deciphering the evolution of the Makkovik Province.