I grew up in a quiet suburb north of Toronto, Ontario, third child to a couple of science-loving professionals. I wasn’t excellent at being told what to do, and I was decidedly weird. Beginning in Grade 4, I convinced myself that I was terrible at math, and read books under my desk during class instead. My parents were annually successful at getting me to put down my books around July 1, by sending me and my siblings up north to the local YMCA camp for a couple of months. It was there that we learned to love and respect the temperate deciduous forest and glacial landforms of southern Ontario. Up there we learned to navigate with map & compass, solo canoes, scout rapids, and plan enough food for 12 hungry adolescents on a 30 day out-trip. I snuck in the occasional page during those summers, but I spent most of my time mesmerized by the landscape. It was not until high school, after my father hid all my books in the basement somewhere, that I discovered math was pretty cool, and definitely required for science.
I decided that I liked animals enough to give biology a try as my major at Queen’s University in Kingston, ON. After two years of large class sizes and very general science, I was looking for some excitement in my curriculum, and a class entitled “History of Life” caught my eye. I was intrigued by the ~4.5 billion years of Earth’s history that I had somehow missed in high school. Geology became my minor, and after a semester, my major as well. I worked hard to catch up with my year-mates and managed to convince my professors to let me graduate in my fourth year. A professor named Dan Layton Matthews was not deterred by my extreme enthusiasm, and let me do my undergraduate thesis with him. Using LA-ICP-MS to understand mechanisms of gold deposition in the submarine volcanic Kermadec Arc of northern New Zealand was like reading a new piece of Earth’s history, and I asked Dan to refer me to professors with similar interests. Steve Piercey at the Memorial University of Newfoundland agreed to take me on as an MSc student in his economic geology group. With the help of Steve and his research group, I studied the paragenesis of the gold-bearing Lemarchant volcanogenic massive sulphide (VMS) deposit in central Newfoundland. Summers were spent logging core in an old bar north of Millertown, NL – liquor license expired – and the rest of the year I ran laboratory equipment and analyzed data in the mostly-rainy, always-cheerful provincial capital of St. John’s. Steve kept me on track as best he could, and after two years I was back in Ontario and ready to apply my classroom skills to the mining industry.
I found myself in a subdued industry in late 2014. After two years of punching buttons alone in a laboratory, the idea of “networking” was daunting. Finally, in 2015 I wound up in a motel apartment in Matheson, ON, looking forward to my first day of work with the St. Andrew Goldfields exploration group. I started as a database administrator, digitizing historic drilling and assay data from the plethora of properties SAS had consolidated over the years. Eventually, by doggedly following the geologists around and logging backed-up drill core at night, my manager let me take on the duties of the rig geologist and help with the database in my spare time. Many a driller pulled my truck out of the mud that year. Despite my mistakes, my exploration team was always supportive, and that first year as a working geologist in the Abitibi greenstone belt of Ontario was formative.
In 2016, I was offered a job with the exploration department at the Kinross office in Toronto. Having the opportunity to work with exploration data from operations across the globe was an eye-opening experience. The corporate role added so much to my interest in exploration geology, exposing me to the variety of exploration methods deployed based on deposit type, extraction method, and geographic location. The role also allowed me to spend some time annually as a site exploration geologist, and in my second year with Kinross I was sent to the Nevada regional exploration team to help out for the summer. I will never forget my first day with that team, promptly dumping my bags in a new apartment after deplaning in Reno, hopping in a truck, and hitting highway I-80 to Elko. The basin and range landscape was unlike the boreal forest and frozen tundra I learned geology in; It was stark and the rocks were far too young. I was enchanted.
That summer was spent RC chip logging, soil and stream sediment sampling, prospecting, sifting through the legacy of exploration data in Nevada, and learning how not to set my truck on fire driving through the Great Basin desert. At the end of my 6 month secondment, I asked the Reno team if I could come back the next year and I took their lack of protest as a firm “Yes”. I knew I had only just scratched the surface of the complexity of the basin and range, and the characteristic gold endowment of the region had me hooked. I helped wrap up with year-end reporting in Toronto in 2018 and was back in Nevada that April. Geology has taken me some distance from my suburban origins, but it has been and will continue to be exciting and rewarding.
Email Address firstname.lastname@example.org
Company Kinross Gold Corporation