​Arctic Resources Geochemistry Laboratory

The Arctic Resources Geochemistry Laboratory is a world-class geochemical research laboratory that focuses on using trace element and radiogenic isotopes to understand the formation of solid-Earth natural resources in Canada’s Arctic and beyond.

The new laboratory was funded by a $10M Canada Excellence Research Chair grant to Graham Pearson, with matching funds from the University of Alberta, together with a $1.6M CFI - Alberta Innovates – Isomass Scientific grant. The Arctic Resources Geochemistry Laboratory is the newest node of the Canadian Centre for Isotopic Microsampling (CCIM), which houses over $22M of laboratories and equipment. The new facility combines a 2200 sq.ft ultra-clean lab plus a 1300 sq.ft mass spectrometry suite that houses 6 new state-of-the-art mass spectrometers plus two laser sampling systems. It is the largest facility of its kind in Canada with a research focus on diamonds and other minerals that are key economic drivers to Canada’s North.



Using state-of-the-art instrumentation, we are able to date and trace, via elemental and isotopic fingerprinting, a spectrum of Earth materials, from diamonds and gold, through meteorites, to volcanic rocks and ash-falls. Our aim is to determine their age, process of formation and place of origin, in the case of “conflict diamonds”. We develop methods for geochemical fingerprinting that allow predictions of the potential of new deposits, such as diamond-pipes, and platinum-group metal mineralisation. The techniques developed for rocks have led us to extensive collaborations with pharmacologists interested in studying new generations of “metallo-drugs” noble metal bearing compounds that are very effective against certain types of cancer.