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Harquail Family Invests $10 Million to Advance Mineral Exploration Research

Department of Earth Sciences will now be known as the Harquail School of Earth Sciences

*Photo left to right: James Harquail, Sofia Harquail, David Harquail, Birgitta Sigfridsson, Peter Harquail

David Harquail announced today that his family foundation is making a $10 million investment to support Laurentian University’s Department of Earth Sciences and its Mineral Exploration Research Centre (MERC). The University’s Board of Governors has unanimously decided to honour the Harquail family by renaming the Department of Earth Sciences as the Harquail School of Earth Sciences and associate ongoing MERC efforts with the Harquail name. A celebration of the Harquail family’s generosity will be held in the coming weeks.  

“Laurentian University is already a global leader in mineral exploration research,” explained David Harquail. “This is a step towards making Laurentian the leading centre for mineral exploration research in the world. Laurentian has mining in its DNA with its location next to mines and a cluster of mining related government departments and research agencies on campus. Success will come from the development of new concepts and tools to find the next generation of ore deposits.”

An $8.4 million endowment will be created to support new research chairs, lab equipment and supplies, technical support and scholarships for international PhD students. The balance of $1.6 million will allow for the immediate recruitment of a Research Chair in Exploration Targeting and other support.

“We are immensely grateful to the Harquail family for this transformative gift,” said Dr. Douglas Tinkham, Director of the Harquail School of Earth Sciences. “The mining industry’s exploration efforts are at a low ebb and are focused on the near term.  The university is committed to the longer term science that could lead to new discoveries. This investment helps us to build the capacity to do that science.”

“This research is fundamental because the discovery of ore bodies creates value for all of society,” said Harquail. “Mining companies deliver that value by building and operating the mines.  And that value is shared with all levels of government, the First Nations and the overall economy through the multiplier effect.  None of this can happen without that initial discovery.”

“Canada disproportionately benefits from its entrepreneurial strength in global mineral exploration. Even discoveries outside of Canada contribute to the well-being of Canadians.  Canada’s resource entrepreneurs have been among the most generous philanthropists in this country benefiting many universities, hospitals and other institutions,” added Harquail. 

The Harquail School of Earth Sciences is the fourth school in less than five years renamed in recognition of eight-figure private gifts at Laurentian University from Canadian resource entrepreneurs, following the Bharti School of Engineering, the Goodman School of Mines and the McEwen School of Architecture.

“This investment from the Harquail family is an exceptional gesture of support for our faculty, staff and students in Earth Sciences, and we believe it is also a testament to the momentum and growing national recognition of our university,” said Laurentian President and Vice-Chancellor Dominic Giroux.


About the Harquail Family

The Harquail family through its Midas Touch Foundation supports charities, hospitals, education and the arts. It is managed by David Harquail and Birgitta Sigfridsson along with their children, Sofia, James and Peter. Today’s announcement is the largest commitment by the foundation to date. 

David Harquail is President and CEO of Franco-Nevada Corporation, a gold-focused royalty company listed on the Toronto and New York stock exchanges.  Franco-Nevada has royalty interests on over 260 mineral properties around the world including many in the Sudbury basin and Northern Ontario. The company is a sponsor of the Goodman School of Mines at Laurentian University and Mr. Harquail serves on its global advisory board.


About the Harquail School of Earth Sciences

The Harquail School of Earth Sciences and its Mineral Exploration Research Centre (MERC) comprise 14 award-winning faculty including three Geological Association of Canada-Mineral Deposits Division winners, seven staff, six post-doctoral fellows, 78 graduate and 94 undergraduate award-winning students. It has by far the highest level of Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and Targeted Geoscience Initiative (TGI) funding in economic geology of any department in Canada. It is housed in the ultra-modern Willet Green Miller Centre, together with the Ontario Geological Survey, the Ontario Geoscience Laboratories (Geo Labs) and the Ontario Ministry of Northern Development and Mines.

Located on the southern rim of one of the world's largest, oldest, and best-exposed meteorite impact sites, Sudbury’s massive deposits of nickel, copper and platinum group elements provide unique opportunities for mining-related field instruction, co-op education, pure and applied research. The region’s geological environments include Archean volcanic/sedimentary belts, a Proterozoic sedimentary/volcanic belt, Grenville metamorphic terrains, and lower to middle Paleozoic sequences. The School constitutes an unparalleled learning environment in ore deposits, structural geology, geophysics, mineralogy, igneous and metamorphic petrology, sedimentation and stratigraphy, and paleoecology.


About Laurentian University

Laurentian University offers an outstanding university experience in English and French, with a comprehensive approach to Indigenous education.  Laurentian University, situated on the traditional territory of the Anishinabe peoples of Atikameksheng First Nation, prepares students as agents of change and empowers them to create innovative responses to local and global challenges. Laurentian’s students benefit from small class sizes and exceptional post-graduation employment rates.  With nine Canada Research Chairs and eighteen research centres, Laurentian is a recognized leader in its specialized areas of research strength, which include mining innovation and exploration, stressed watershed systems, particle astrophysics and rural and northern children’s health. Laurentian University has secured over $100 million in research income in the past five years.