Nfld. & Labrador

Movers, shakers, even rock-breakers meet for mining conference in St. John's

Old meets new as 700 delegates and exhibitors hold event billed as largest of its kind in Atlantic Canada.

More than just rocks: Prospectors, new app part of Mineral Resources Review

Mark Stockley, right, loves his chosen career path of prospecting. He and his brother Steve (left) were among hundreds who attended a huge mining conference and trade show in St. John's. (Amy Joy/CBC)

Old meets new at the Mineral Resources Review in St. John's — billed as the largest event of its kind in Atlantic Canada, with more than 700 delegates and exhibitors.

The four-day conference, which started Thursday, has courses, technical sessions and a trade show — and it's a chance for participants to network and show their strengths.

CBC caught up with a couple of them: prospectors who are keeping it in the family, and the creator of a new app for rock enthusiasts or the curious types.

'I love it'

Prospecting might seem like a trade of the past, but it's still very much alive. 

Just ask Mark Stockley who, with his brother Stephen and cousin Troy, "go out in the woods, cracking open rocks" in Gambo.

"I love it," Stockley told CBC's On the Go. 

He said events like this are where they show off their finds in the hope of cashing in. 

"We'll say, 'We got gold in the ground here, but we're kind of poor, we got no money to take this project any further,'" Stockley said. 

"So we're looking for junior mining companies to help us out, whether they put a hole in the ground, a drill core, take it to the next step, to make a mine."

Alana Hinchey created the app called Bonavista! A Geological Tour. (Amy Joy/CBC)

Stockley said they scour not just the land, but the Internet, too. 

"We can read up on stuff ... that mining companies have done in the past," he said. "Could still be resources in the ground, but the company ran out of money at the time, so we're kind of picking up where those guys left off." 

Stockley said gold, copper, nickel and zinc are what the big mining companies are looking for these days.

He's optimistic about the industry's future.

"I think it's a good time," he said. 

"There is a lot of big mining companies coming into Newfoundland, they're staking up big plots of land and giving prospectors a chance — giving them jobs to go out and prospect the land for them."

'Go off the beaten path'

Bonavista is a sought-after spot for tourists and nature enthusiasts — and now there's an app that delves deep into the geology of the area. 

Alana Hinchey, who works with the province's department of natural resources, created the app called Bonavista! A Geological Tour. 

The app includes 35 stops along the Bonavista Peninsula. (Amy Joy/CBC)

"There are 35 stops along the peninsula. It gives people the ability to go out and explore the peninsula ... but also to learn a little bit about the rocks in the area," she told On the Go.

Hinchey said the area already has "good tourism infrastructure," but people might not be aware of all it has to offer. 

"I mean they have some of the fossils that are the same as Mistaken Point [on the southern Avalon Peninsula], but you can go out and you can actually set foot on them and you can explore and find them yourself," said Hinchey.

"You really ... go off the beaten track and find different rock types, evidence of sea floors, volcanoes."

With files from Amy Joy and On the Go