The science behind the Geo-mapping for Energy and Minerals Program (GEM)


Narrator: Canada’s North is one of the most challenging frontier areas on Earth for resource exploration.

Narrator: In most areas, the geology is poorly understood, and insufficient information exists to support resource investment decisions.

Narrator: The Geo-Mapping for Energy and Minerals Program or GEM is helping the North to realize its full economic and social potential by providing the public geoscience required to complete its modern regional geo-mapping.

Narrator: GEM activities are designed to target areas of the North where critical geoscience knowledge gaps exist.

Narrator: GEM conducts research based on scientific questions to complete regional-scale mapping of areas with the highest resource potential across the three territories and the northern parts of the provinces.

Narrator: In each region, we apply a customized suite of tools to bring our knowledge of northern geoscience up to modern standards.

Narrator: For example, in the Coastal Mountains, researchers have hypothesized that one of the key terranes in the region is an ancient ocean core complex.

Narrator: Testing this hypothesis will help us to understand the controls on mineralization for the region. In the Northwest Territories, improved tectonic interpretations will help us to understand the energy resource potential in the vast region that lies between the Canadian Shield and the Selwyn Basin of today’s Mackenzie Mountains.

Narrator: Offshore, GEM researchers are studying evidence in the Arctic Ocean to better understand which of three competing models best explains the opening of the Canada Basin – and each model has different implications for mineral and hydrocarbon potential.

Narrator: Elsewhere, scientists are attempting to define the boundaries between the Slave and Rae domains, to provide the geologic framework needed to target areas of diamond and gold potential.


We are developing an innovative tectonic model that is based on the recent discovery of low-grade metamorphic rocks with the conditions for gold potential for the area of northern Quebec and Labrador, which was already recognized for its iron ore potential.

Narrator: On Baffin Island, researchers are looking for previously unrecognized mineral systems by studying how ancient events defined the Precambrian architecture, controlling the distribution of mineral resources such as diamonds and nickel.

Narrator: This work is led by the Geological Survey of Canada, but can be fully delivered only through collaborations with the territories and provinces, university experts and students, Indigenous peoples, members of industry and members of local communities who support our field activities.

Narrator: The training opportunities offered by GEM provide participants with the knowledge and skills that will increase geoscience capacity in the North.

Narrator: Once completed, GEM’s scientific results are all made publically available online, at no cost to users.

Narrator: Public geoscience produced by GEM helps northerners and industry to find common ground and make informed decisions about resource investment in the North.

Narrator: We know that there is a lot of resource potential in Canada’s North, and GEM continues to provide modern, regional geoscience knowledge essential for sustainable resource development in the future.

To find out more about GEM activities or to access our data, visit: