The Terra Lab


Natural Miners

From the earliest days of human activity, we have crafted everything from simple hand tools to architectural wonders. These achievements all require resources, and many of those resources are mined from the earth.

In many ways mining has shaped civilization, determining the tools we use and the technologies that enhance our lives. Mining has also shaped the planet we live on, altering its landscapes and ecosystems, sometimes radically. 

How do we fulfill our need for resources without overly disrupting our environment? Is it possible for humanity to find a way to prospect for materials, even extract them, while minimally disrupting the ecosystem that we depend on for our existence?

Just as humankind is discovering new ways to meet our demand for mineral resources, we are also developing new technologies and techniques for preserving the environments in which those materials are found.

This is the focus of the TerraLab: exploring the story of human mineral exploration, from our earliest ancestors, through to the latest research in low-impact resource extraction, all while acknowledging the conflict between our resource demand and the need to protect fragile habitats.

Surprisingly enough, some of the latest advances in low-impact exploration come not from complex tools, but from plants! Come visit, and discover for yourself the ways that mining and environmental stewardship can go hand in hand.


Click here to download a PDF with more information about the Terra Lab.


The Museum gratefully acknowledges the following financial supporters and educational partners in the development of the TerraLab: Government of Canada, Province of British Columbia, Finning International, Teck Resources Inc., CIM Underground Mining Society, Canadian Mineral Processors (National), Jerome Renwick III Endowment Fund (Canadian Geological Foundation), EPCOR Utilities Inc., Prof. Neil Banerjee and Dr Lisa Van Loon /Western University.