Groundbreaking project ongoing in Baie Verte

CNA students team up with Novamera

11/16/2021 2:11:41 PM

BAIE VERTE, NL – College of the North Atlantic (CNA) continues to play an active role in supporting the province’s mining industry.

CNA has paired up with mining company Novamera to work on a full field trial of Sustainable Mining by Drilling (SMD).

“We have a wonderful partnership with the college,” said Shannon McCrae, Vice-President of Business Development with Novamera.

The startup company has employed five CNA work-term students from the Mechanical Engineering Technology (Manufacturing) Co-op, and Geomatics/Surveying Engineering Technology Co-op programs.

“Our collaboration includes facility usage at the Baie Verte campus, engagement with Gary Thompson (Director of Industry Innovation at CNA) for new and innovative ideas, such as existing tripods for core photography, and using technology like hyperspectral imaging to scan core within our project,” she said. 
Using Baie Verte campus and a CNA-designed tripod to take high resolution photos of the core drilled from Novamera’s pilot project helps in multiple ways, such as the driller being able to see an image of what lies ahead and preserving the geological record.

McCrae says the CNA students are also a highlight of the partnership.

“Another large impact is the students we have been able to access through the college to work on our field trial,” she said. “The skillsets of the students we have employed to date have been fantastic and have ranged from programming to field engineering, and some are joining us post-graduation.”

She says there are many benefits for the students involved in the mining project.

“First and foremost, real-world experience and exposure to innovation in mining, how to collaborate with a team, both remote and in person, and helping out a company to bring new technology to the industry – it really does take a village of keen and enthusiastic people,” said the company vice-president.  “We hope that the students can see the value of innovation and not only what it can bring to them personally but also to the province as a whole.”
A large rainbow appears showing the large diameter drill being set up at the proof of concept site.

Thompson agrees, highlighting the long-standing partnership between the college and companies in the mining industry like Novamera.

“Our partnership dates back to the early days of SMD when CNA students from our Graphic Design program helped to produce a video for Gold Corp’s 2019 Disrupt Mining competition,” he said. “Having the chance to be involved in the development of a disruptive technology for mining is a great opportunity for our researchers and students. They are getting to experience how ideas are developed, how problems are solved and solutions are provided.”

Precision Mining
Novamera is a private company funded by venture capital (BDC Capital and Chrysalix) and by government grants, such as Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and Sustainable Development Technology Canada.

“We are a startup looking to rethink and change the way narrow vein deposits are extracted in a more sustainable, compact manner,” said McCrae.  “We are a small, but growing, team focused on bringing innovation to the mining industry.” 

She says Novamera’s focus is sustainable mining by methods considered to be a more meticulous way of drilling.
An overhead photo of the compact nature of the site where Novamera’s proof of concept is being held. 

“This is a precision mining method that involves innovation using proprietary downhole sensor tools for vein/wall rock interface detection and commercially available drilling equipment for extraction. It takes vision and a leap of faith to move forward with creating a new company and finding partners to help make it become a reality. We’ve secured funding and kicked off our field trial of sustainable mining by drilling in June of this year. We are collaborating with experts, not only locally, but globally.”

For more information about the Mechanical Engineering Technology (Manufacturing) Co-op and Geomatics/Surveying Engineering Technology Co-op programs, or others, visit:

For more information about Novamera, visit:

Media contact:

Ryanne McIsaac
Content Specialist
College of the North Atlantic