Christopher Lawley
PhD P.Geo., Natural Resources Canada

Artificial intelligence, sustainability, and the search for critical minerals

The federal budget recently announced billions of dollars of new investments to support critical mineral exploration and development in Canada. This presentation will provide a brief overview of new critical mineral research activities underway at the Geological Survey of Canada as part of that budget announcement. Research examples will include applications of natural language processing to predict the location of pegmatite, carbonatite, and other rare rock-types that host critical minerals based on the unstructured rock descriptions contained within geological map databases. These and other applications of machine learning are part of broader efforts to build artificial intelligence capacity and support the sustainable development of critical minerals in Canada.


Lawley has been working as a research scientist at the Geological Survey of Canada since 2012. His research experience blends analytical method development with field studies to investigate the sources and drivers of mineral systems. More recently, Lawley has become interested in the application of machine learning to sustainable development issues. His research results have been applied across Canada, the United States, and Australia to support mineral exploration and strengthen the global supply chains of critical raw materials.