Neil Fernandes

Doctoral Candidate, Queen’s University

Mineral Deposits in Sedimentary Rocks Around the World

Neil's Final Report
  • Travel on 5 continents in 8 months
  • Visits to over 30 active underground and open pit mines and exploration projects through partnership with 11 mining and mineral exploration companies.
  • Collaboration and shared learning at 9 universities in 5 countries.
  • Visits at 3 national and 2 provincial/territorial government geological surveys.
  • Networking at two of the world’s biggest international mineral exploration conventions in Canada.
  • Technical training at a prestigious research conference with some of the world’s most influential economic geologists.

This is a snapshot of what I was able to accomplish with the support of the Kimberley Foundation through the Hugh C. Morris Experiential Learning Fellowship and I have been so fortunate to share so many experiences with such a diverse global community. From underground miners in Tennessee who wanted to know about my background, to young government geologists in Namibia talking about what we wanted for our countries, to conversations with Iñupiat elders in Alaska about how they see mining impacting their ways of life, to learning about challenges for students at universities in Peru and Brazil, to technological advances in exploration in Ireland, to the history and cultural awareness of mining in Sweden, to the potential for government to play an active role in improving the public’s knowledge of mineral resources of Canada, Namibia, U.S.A, Australia. Importantly, I have seen the steps that all the different parts of the natural resources sector are taking to make our impact sustainable and environmentally responsible, to provide tangible socio-economic benefits for local communities, to make shared information a cornerstone of a collective decision-making process.

I am especially proud that I was able to share my knowledge in so many parts of the world. It has been an uplifting and humbling experience to discuss science with so many colleagues that I respect, against the backdrop of some of the most stunning places on the planet. The scenes for these discussions have included: camping beneath the most spectacular starry nights in the Namib Desert, climbing through the central Andes in Peru, hiking in Swedish forests in full autumn colours, to helicopter flights above mountain ranges in the Arctic Circle.

Every place that I have visited has given me a piece of the big puzzle. I have begun to integrate all the technical, cultural and professional learning that I have been exposed to. I know that my education will never be done, but I also realize that the foundation that I have been able to build throughout my experiential learning fellowship is beyond anything I could have imagined at this stage of my career. My horizons have been expanded and I know that I will forever be impacted. I hope that the Kimberly Foundation and the Hugh C. Morris Fellowship will continue to enable and empower young people with the right vision and the desire to be changed.

Neil's Amazing Journey
Mid Term Report

“My Experiential Learning Program (ELP) thus far has taken me all to so many different parts of the globe and led to so many experiences that have made fundamental impacts on my personal and professional development. Improving my technical expertise in mineral deposits formed in sedimentary rocks is at the core of every one of the sites on my ELP. However, the real beauty of my experience is that I have been able to see so many of the different layers (cultural, technological, economical, environmental) that are built upon the premise of mineral resources. From interacting with indigenous Alaskans at a remote mine 170 km North of the Arctic Circle, to travelling and camping underneath the stars across Namibia with colleagues at Queen’s University and geoscientists from the Geological Survey of Namibia, to being underground at mining operations in Tennessee. I’m only halfway through my journey but I already feel that my perceptions have changed and paradigms have shifted. I cannot wait to use the knowledge that I have gained and to share my perspectives with the world! ” (by Neil Fernandes)

Neil's Experiential Plan

Many important metals, such as Zinc, Copper, and Silver can be sourced from mineral deposits hosted in sedimentary rocks. As the global population and its technological needs grow, finding and transforming these natural resources in a sustainable, environmentally friendly, and culturally sensitive manner, is critically important.  Neil Fernandes, a doctoral candidate researching sediment-hosted mineral deposit systems at Queen’s University in the Department of Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering, is setting out on a global trek to develop a comprehensive understanding of how to achieve this vital goal.

Beginning in  April 2018, Neil’s near year-long experiential learning journey will take him across 5 continents to learn about some of the world’s most important geological and mineral provinces in Canada, U.S.A., Peru, Brazil, Ireland, Sweden, Namibia and Australia. And whilst he studies the entirety of the global mineral resources chain – exploration, extraction, processing and remediation – he will showcase innovative Canadian geoscience research through presentations, workshops, community engagements, and seminars to young geoscientists.

We invite you to “join” Neil on his journey as he shares posts and footage of his experiences here on our website.

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