Editorial: Industry urged to support research centre

If ever a project deserved the support of the mining industry in this country, it’s the new Earth Sciences Centre at the University of Toronto.

A funding program for the new $46-million facility, due to be completed late in 1988 to house a totally refurbished and technologically up-to-d ate geology department as well as forestry and botany departments, has been kicked off by campaign chairman Adam Zimmerman.

The Noranda president will be on industry doorsteps over the next three months, he tells us, and will be seeking some $7 million to $9 million from industry sources, including the forestry and botany sectors. (The remainder will come mainly from the Ontario government, which has committed $30 million and from other sources.)

Mr Zimmerman obviously views anything the mining industry does to assist as an exercise in self-help. “This is something different than a donation,” he says, stressing that the new centre with its vastly improved research facilities, will provide something that is “part of the essential fabric of our business.”

In a booklet prepared for the information of potential donors (and printed as a service to the industry by Norgraphics (Canada)), he spells out the rationale for building of the Resources Centre, and the greater and more significant amount of research that will be possible in the centre’s new geology department. He concludes, in part:

“Our competitive position now depends on productivity gains, which today means technological advance. Investing in education must surely be the key to our future standing. Our Third World competitors can duplicate our physical plant, buy technology and borrow capital. But they can’t transplant the production processes dependent on knowledge and skill.

“In the old economy, we lived off our capital: our natural resources. In the economy now emerging, where we’ll have to do more with less, intellectual capital will be the important resource.”

It’s fitting that the campaign chairman will be looking not only to the major mining companies for support, but to juniors as well. Some of these for instance, he points out, have capitalized on the genius of a David Bell (a geologist noted for his role in discovery of the famous Hemlo camp), and should be prepared to support an institution that could spawn more of such achievers.

We believe, with Mr Zimmerman, that the new U. of T. Centre will bring far-reaching benefits to the mining industry. We urge the industry to support it.



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