Canada’s Nova Scotia launches Research Association

Nova Scotia’s mining industry has established a new not-for-profit organization to manage its proposed Minerals Play Fairway project.
“The Minerals Play Fairway would be a free, best-in-class database of geophysical knowledge that would help attract investment and job creation to Nova Scotia,” said Sean Kirby, Executive Director of the Minerals Research Association of Nova Scotia (MRANS). “The oil and gas Play Fairway was a made-in-Nova-Scotia success story and we want to copy it for the mining industry.”

“The oil and gas Play Fairway was a made-in-Nova-Scotia success story and we want to copy it for the mining industry.”

In 2008, the Department of Energy commissioned a $15 million Play Fairway Analysis and geoscience data package program with the goal of stimulating offshore petroleum exploration activity.  The resulting data was made available for free to the global oil and gas industry and attracted over $2 billion in investment in Nova Scotia’s offshore.  
The oil and gas Play Fairway Analysis was government-funded but managed by the Offshore Energy Research Association.  MRANS would play the equivalent role for the Minerals Play Fairway that OERA played for the oil and gas version.
The first phase in the Minerals Play Fairway is to conduct a needs assessment of the province’s publicly-held airborne geophysical data. The needs assessment, which started in early summer, will identify strengths and weaknesses in Nova Scotia’s minerals database and make recommendations for how to improve it in order to attract more investment and job creation to the province.  The provincial government’s Mineral Resources Development Fund is providing $62,000 to conduct the needs assessment and the report is expected to be complete this fall.
When the needs assessment is done, the industry will seek government funding to implement its recommendations, including a series of geophysical surveys across the province. 
MRANS is a separate organization from the Mining Association of Nova Scotia (MANS), with its own board, legally established under the Societies Act.  However, MANS is seeding MRANS by covering costs associated with its establishment and donating staff time to manage the new organization.
A general meeting of MRANS’ membership was held on September 20 in Halifax and the following board was elected:
  1. Pat Mills, President, former plant manager of National Gypsum’s Milford quarry.
  2. John Wightman, Managing Director of the GOLDFIELDS Group of companies and Executive Director of the Prospectors Association of Nova Scotia.
  3. Dr. Sally Goodman, Chief Geoscientist, Atlantic Gold.
  4. Dr. Jacob Hanley, Chairperson and Full Professor, Department of Geology, Saint Mary’s University.
  5. Patrick Hannon, Mining and Geological Engineer and Past President of MineTech International Limited.
  6. George O’Reilly, retired Mineral Deposit Geologist.
  7. Rick Horne, Consultant.
While Minerals Play Fairway was the impetus for establishing MRANS, it is expected that MRANS will also conduct and facilitate other minerals-related research in partnership with government, industry and universities.
The Mineral Resources Development Fund was introduced in the Government of Nova Scotia’s Budget 2018-19.  MRDF is a grant program that supports prospecting, advanced exploration, minerals-related research and public education. More information about MRDF is available at
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