Our Facilities

Offering a variety of services and opportunities for research.

Our Facilities

College of the North Atlantic maintains a number of specialized facilities for both teaching and applied research.  These facilities offer a variety of services and opportunities to assist industry and communities with their innovations. These resources include:

College of the North Atlantic has developed substantial relationships with the mining industry throughout Newfoundland and Labrador and beyond based on its more than 55 year history as the primary training institution for mining sector workforce development. More recently, however, as Colleges across Canada have leveraged their industry engagement, expertise and facilities into creating hubs for applied research, CNA has strategically focused on utilizing its mining sector relationships and in-house human and physical resources to work with industry to enhance innovations in mining exploration, processing operations and outreach.

Since 2015, the College has conducted 26 applied research projects with provincial mining sector companies that have attracted over $7,500,000 in external funding ranging from short-term NRC IRAP projects to multi-year/partner NSERC projects  that have, simultaneously, created dozens of paid experiential learning opportunities for CNA students positions that have led to full-time employment for our graduates. Dr. Gary Thompson, our Director of Industry Innovation, held an NSERC Industrial Research Chair for Colleges in Applied Mineralogy with Vale from 2011-16. From 2009-19, the College conducted over $1,000,000 in customized and continuous learning for mining sector clients. CNA hosts 2 advanced Haul Truck simulators to support heavy equipment training for the industry: one in Happy Valley-Goose Bay (underground simulator) and one in Labrador City (above ground simulator). We partner annually with the Department of Natural Resources to offer the Prospectors Course at our Bay St. George campus. Additionally, we have developed and delivered with the Labrador Aboriginal Training Partnership the Mining Foundations Program and also collaborated with the NL Prospectors Association to offer Mineral Prospecting Career Awareness Workshops.

By marshalling existing resources under the umbrella of the CNA Mining Innovation Network, is able to offer a broad array of mining innovation services to grow what is currently a $4 billion sector in the province. 
is home to three dedicated applied research laboratories:

  • Hyperspectral Scanning Unit
  • Applied Mineralogy Lab and
  • Mineral Processing Lab

Mobile Hyperspectral Imaging Applications

The human eye is only capable of seeing light over a small portion of the electromagnetic (EM) spectrum, known as the visible light region (~400-700 nm). Hyperspectral imaging is a technique that uses specialized cameras to analyze EM (“light”) over a wider range of this spectrum, both inside and outside the visible light region. The spectral signature of a given mineral is related to the chemical components of which that mineral is composed. Hyperspectral imaging allows geologists to observe mineral colours and characteristics which are invisible to the human eye. The same principle of “seeing” colours beyond that in normal light can be applied to other sectors including the agricultural and environmental industries. Check out our new project website at https://www.cna-spectroscopy.ca!

Hyperspectral Imaging (Background)

The human eye is only capable of seeing light over a small portion of the electromagnetic (EM) spectrum, known as the visible light region (~400-700 nm). Hyperspectral imaging is a technique that uses specialized cameras to analyze EM (“light”) over a wider range of this spectrum, both inside and outside the visible light region. The spectral signature of a given mineral is related to the chemical components of which that mineral is composed. Hyperspectral imaging allows geologists to observe mineral colours and characteristics which are invisible to the human eye. The same principle of “seeing” colours beyond that in normal light can be applied to other sectors including the agricultural and environmental industries.

Hyperspectral Scanning Unit (HSU):

The Hyperspectral Scanning Unit (HSU) is a mobile laboratory that offers world-class, high-resolution hyperspectral imaging capabilities over most currently accessible EM spectral ranges, spanning the Visible Near Infrared (VNIR) to the Longwave Infrared (LWIR) regions. The primary focus of the HSU will be to investigate geological materials, but there are no restrictions on the type of samples that can be analyzed - from organic samples to industrial materials.

Working in close collaboration with our mining industry partners, the HSU will primarily investigate mineralogical or other physico-chemical variability within geological samples. The HSU is designed to quickly scan diamond drill core using a 5 camera system with a scanning speed of a single box (1.5 m long) in under a minute. Other sample types, including hand samples, blast hole cuttings, and thin section offcuts can also be scanned and characterized using the HSU system. Providing a better understanding of the geology and mineralogy of a mineral deposit will allow our partners to improve their processes, from initial exploration stages through to final ore-processing and even end-of-mine-life reclamation.

  • In-house hyperspectral scanning
  • Hyperspectral data analysis
  • Characterization of deposit geology (allowing vectoring towards mineralization)
  • Applied research in ore-processing

Current equipment and capabilities:

The HSU system is currently equipped with five hyperspectral cameras capable of scanning wavelengths within the 400–5000 nm and 8000–12000 nm ranges, an RGB camera, and a 3D profiler.
Equipment Spectral range Minerals Other
Visible-Near Infrared (VNIR) 400–1000 nm REE-bearing minerals
Shortwave Infrared (SWIR) 1000–2500 nm Hydrated minerals Oil
Midwave Infrared (MWIR) 2500–5000 nm Carbonates Plastic, wood, vegetation, food products
Longwave Infrared (LWIR) 8000–12000 nm All silicates
RGB Core box images
3D profiler 3D core profile

The spectral response of a specific material is related to the elemental makeup of that material. Because of this, the equipment used for each project will be chosen based on the needs of the partner and the materials being scanned. The data provided will be project specific and could include:
  • Processed data displaying the minerals or material of interest
  • Raw data
  • High-quality RGB images
  • 3D profiler data 

  External Rate Research Rate Collaboration Rate
Cost/meter $30/m $15/m Contact for Quote
Suggested Reading
  1. Lypaczewski, P., Rivard, B., Lesage, G., Byrne, K., D’Angelo, M., & Lee, R. G. (2020). Characterization of Mineralogy in the Highland Valley Porphyry Cu District Using Hyperspectral Imaging, and Potential Applications. Minerals, 10(5), 473.
  2. Harraden, C.L., Berry, R., Lett, J. (2016). Proposed Methodology for Utilizing Automated Core Logging Technology to Extract Geotechnical Index Parameters. Third Ausimm International Geometallurgy Conference, Perth, WA, pp. 1–6.
For more information on the capabilities and availabilities of the HSU, submit a Request for Analysis form to HSU@cna.nl.ca. Publically available data can be viewed at can-spectroscopy.ca/sampledatabase.

Hyperspectral Scanning Unit (HSU) - Request for Analysis Form


Applied Mineralogy Lab – Prince Philip Drive Campus

The Applied Mineralogy Lab is home to a number of instruments to conduct advanced mineralogical analyses. Among those are:
  • An Applied Spectra Laser Induced Breakdown Spectrometry (LIBS) and a Bruker Portable XRF can be used to gain insights into the composition of various types of geological samples including minerals, rocks, soils, and fluids
  • A Zeiss Polarizing Microscope with reflected light capabilities can be used to characterize the mineral makeup and textures of both ore and regular rock samples
  • Agilent Gas Chromatograph and Agilent Gas Chromatograph-Mass Spectrometer system
  • Lambda 850 UV-Vis system

For more information on the Applied Mineralogy Lab, please contact Stacey Parmenter at Stacey.parmenter@cna.nl.ca

Mineral Processing Lab – Baie Verte Campus

The Mineral Processing Lab engages the province’s mining industry to explore mineral processing challenges and their solutions. The lab is home to several mining research projects, including as the NSERC funded “Improving Methods for Grade Determination and Ore Characterization” and the development of an Autosampler - an automatic sorting and bagging device to improve sample representation from blast hole and RC drilling.

The Mineral Processing Lab houses a lab-size Knelson Concentrator. Several mining operations have availed of the concentrator and gained valuable knowledge about their processes. The lab also assists with the development and testing of innovative equipment and technology. A miniature ball mill was designed, fabricated and extensively tested at the lab along with an underground rock face sampler.

The lab is instrumental in facilitating and hosting work terms students where students have performed geomatics-related internships with local mining operations (GIS, LIDAR, survey, etc) and also has been the setting for mining se ctor workshops

Additional mineral processing equipment includes a jaw crusher, SWECO classifier, sieve shaker, riffle splitters, planetary ball mill, thin section cutter, XRF analyzer, froth flotation machine, microscopes, glassware, pH analyzer, and standard lab accessories.

Services include:
  • Determination of amenability of ore sample to gravity separation technology using e-GRG, GRG, GAT.
  • Thin section preparation
  • Particle size analysis
  • Sample collection, preparation and analysis consulting.
  • Down-hole ore identification for blast hole and RC drilling.
  • Study of placer morphology and determination of recoverability.

For more information on the Mineral Processing Lab, please contact Jeff Hennebury at jeff.hennebury@cna.nl.ca  

Applied Entomology Lab – Carbonear Campus

College of the North Atlantic’s Applied Entomology Laboratory in Carbonear studies the impact of insect activity on humans. Entomology is the study of insects, and it’s a very valuable science when we start looking at how insects affect plants in Newfoundland and Labrador. Dr. Barry Hicks is an entomologist at the Applied Entomology Laboratory, and bees represent just one area of his research. Bees and their pollination activities are highly beneficial to many of our native plant species of course, but there are also insects that threaten our plants. Notorious examples include the spruce budworm and the hemlock looper, two destructive species that have wreaked havoc on our forests in the past. Is there a safe, natural way to control such pests? That’s exactly the focus of Dr. Hicks’s research into a fungus called Beauveria bassiana. It grows naturally in soils worldwide, and – conveniently – kills various insect species, including the budworm and the looper.

In keeping with the Office of Applied Research and Innovation’s mandate to pass along benefits of applied research to our communities, the lab readily shares its information and expertise. Dr. Hicks has worked with the provincial Department of Natural Resources, and occasionally is a guest of CBC’s Radio Noon call-in show, answering questions on entomology.

For more information on the Applied Entomology Lab, please contact Dr. Barry Hicks at barry.hicks@cna.nl.ca  

Innovative Product Development Centre – Prince Philip Drive Campus

The Innovative Product Development Centre (IPDC) is CNA’s in-house design support space to support (1) faculty and students on process and product deisgn projects and (2) assist industry partners with their design challenges. The IDPC utilizes CAD design, 3D laser scanning, and 3D printing to support companies and the College community with challenging design tasks in sectors across a number of sectors including, but not limited to, mineral processing, historic sites, event management, food and beverage operations and tourism.

For more information on the Innovative Product Development Centre (IPDC), please contact Randal Power at Randal.power@cna.nl.ca   

Nanotechnology Lab – Labrador West Campus

It might be located in “The Big Land”, but research at the Nanotechnology Research Lab in Labrador deals with some incredibly small stuff. It is science and engineering at the scale of atoms and molecules. Nanotechnology is an emerging field, but already it boasts a vast array of both potential and working applications. This is because particles at such a small scale exhibit very unusual properties, which have been harnessed to produce such things as stain repellent khakis, golf club heads that are lighter yet stronger, and sunscreens that spread more easily, cover better, and are transparent on the skin.
In the Materials and Nanotechnology Research Lab, Dr. Gurinder K. Ahluwalia pursues research in various areas of nanotechnology such as Materials Characterization, Amorphous Semiconductors, Surfactants and Polymers, Self Assemblies, Nano-photo-mechanical Systems and Nonlinear Optics. Resulting applications in electronic and optoelectronic devices will yield improvements in, among other areas, optical data storage technologies.
In other areas, Dr. Ahluwalia’s work on synthesizing gold nano-particles (under ambient conditions in aqueous phases by using surfactants as soft templates) has been published in peer-reviewed journals. 

For more information on the Nanotechnology Lab, please contact Dr. Gurinder K. Ahluwalia at Gurinder.kaur@cna.nl.ca    

Wave Environment Research Centre (WERC) – Burin Campus

The southeast coast of the Burin Peninsula is home to the ‘perfect storm’ of conditions for wave energy research: a unique combination of geography (significant waves, winds, tidal currents, and year round ice free harbours) and technological capability (metal fabrication, welding QA/failure analysis, electronics, control systems, biologists, chemists, and more) at the CNA campus in Burin. The centre has conducted research on developing an economical wave powered pump to deliver water to an on-shore aquaculture farm and on developing the methods and technology necessary for a land-based multi-trophic aquaculture farm.
To support that research, significant work has been done at the WERC site in Lord’s Cove: building and wharf renovations, and installation of piping, data acquisition equipment and telecommunications equipment, for example. The data from the site’s weather station is available on their website. This infrastructure, and the expertise and technology found at the college’s Burin Campus, are available to interested parties.

The Wave Environment Research Centre (WERC) occupies four buildings on the wharf in Lord's Cove and the site currently has six mooring sites within 1.5 km of the station that are permitted under the Canadian Navigable Waters Protection Act.

In addition to a weather station, wave data collection and device mooring sites, WERC also houses the pilot aquaculture farm, a lab and workshop space. The site is equipped with an emergency backup power supply sufficient to run the farm, data acquisition equipment and high speed data connections for on-site monitoring and control of equipment.

The wharf has paved road access and is within 100 km of major onshore construction facilities and the fabrication facilities and labs (including chemical, biological, materials evaluation and electronics) at the Burin campus of College of the North Atlantic.

Lord's Cove harbour can accommodate vessels up to about 15 m; larger vessels can be accommodated in nearby ports in St. Lawrence, Grand Bank and Marystown, as well as the French territory of St. Pierre and Miquelon. There is also a commercial 27 MW wind farm near St. Lawrence (30 km from Lord's Cove), indicating good potential for the study of wind-wave hybrid technologies.

For more information on the Wave Environment Research Centre (WERC), please contact Dr. Mike Graham at mike.graham@cna.nl.ca
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/WERCCNA