Newfoundland mining company strikes gold with local students

Anaconda Mining collaborates with post-secondary students to reach buried gold deposits

Now, a new local resource — college research interns — combined with modern technology, will help Anaconda drill into a new solution for developing the placer mine.

Supported by Mitacs, students from College of the North Atlantic are helping the company find a cost-effective mining process to extract gold from Deer Cove, while leaving the natural habitat largely intact. It’s the first Mitacs project in Newfoundland to pair college interns with industry.

Over several months, the interns will perform a feasibility study, map the sediment thickness, and perform laboratory tests. The first intern, from the Geomatics Engineering Technology program at CNA’s Ridge Road campus in St. John’s, will begin this spring, with a second intern taking on the project after that.

“The challenge is to find a technology that’s appropriate for the environment. The operations require a smaller-scale technology that’s less invasive, yet economically feasible for a company to use,” explains CNA’s Associate Vice-President of Applied Research and Innovation, Dr. Michael Long. “The site has to be assessed before you decide on the kind of technology to deploy.”

The project could help Anaconda reduce costs, improve gold recovery, and extend the operating life of the mine while creating more sustainable mining methods. It can also inform further research in similar environments.

“Applied research adds capacity, and helps us do things efficiently,” says Allan Cramm, vice-president of innovation and development at Anaconda.

For the interns, the project brings hands-on experience with industrial research processes, including the decision-making you need in a business.

“Students get experiential learning,” says Michael. “Not just work-term placements.”

Mitacs projects give Anaconda the chance to do leading-edge research and development (R&D) they otherwise couldn’t support. In addition to this new project with CNA, Anaconda has also collaborated with Mitacs-supported researchers from Memorial University of Newfoundland for many years.

“I tell people that we may have 75 people on staff, but we have relationships with the college and university that give us access to 27,000 people,” says Allan.

“Innovation is high risk,” he continues. “Working with Mitacs helps us achieve research-based objectives with reasonable costs.”

Today, Anaconda is developing equipment based on research that could give them a unique ability to tap into previously inaccessible gold resources using sustainable approaches and the latest innovations. Allan believes that improving innovation in the region is beneficial for all.

“It’s in our collective interest to keep mining active here and to invest in local talent.”

Mitacs thanks the Government of Canada and  the Government of Newfoundland and Labradorfor their support of the Accelerate research internship in this story. Across Canada, the Accelerate program also receives support from Alberta Innovates, the Government of British Columbia, the Government of New Brunswick, the Government of Nova Scotia, the Government of Ontario, the Government of Prince Edward Island, the Government of Quebec, Research Manitoba and the Government of Saskatchewan.

Do you have a business challenge that could benefit from a research solution? If so, contact Mitacs today to discuss partnership opportunities:


Mitacs empowers Canadian innovation through effective partnerships that deliver solutions to our most pressing problems. By driving economic growth and productivity, we create meaningful change to improve quality of life for all Canadians.