Public Geoscience Data

Mineral exploration is the first stage in the mineral development cycle. The purpose of this stage is to locate economically viable mineral deposits that could be developed into a mine. Mineral exploration involves a high degree of uncertainty and risk; the probability that an early drilling exploration project will result in a mine is approximately one in one thousand, but it is a necessary step to mine development. One vital ingredient for making a mineral discovery is the availability of public access geoscience data.

This public access geoscience data is generated through Canada’s provincial, territorial and federal geological surveys. This work can include geophysical and geochemical surveys, glacial morphological studies and geological mapping campaigns as well as many other research and compilation efforts. More and more, mineral exploration companies are conducting desktop exploration for its low financial impact on the company and zero environmental impact on the land.

Canadian geological surveys, including the Geological Survey of Canada and the Manitoba Geological Survey, are experiencing budget cuts year over year. This will soon create a crisis for the mineral development industry.  Exploration companies often lack the expertise and funding to conduct the highly valuable research programs that geological surveys and their employees complete. This public access data is also highly valuable for government infrastructure and land withdrawal planning. Government costs to generate this public access data are generally minimal when compared to the return of mineral exploration activity and economic benefit for local communities including the creation of jobs.

To exemplify the importance of public geoscience data to exploration in Canada, PDAC has undertaken the task of compiling anecdotes of successful uses cases of public access geoscience data. Thanks to work conducted and published by the federal, provincial and territorial geological survey, companies were able to discover mineral deposits, support local economies and better target their prospects for less environmental impacts.