Committees and Members


Richard Brissenden

Independent Corporate Director, McEwen Mining Inc., Banro Corp., Lexam VG Gold
Toronto, Ontario

Richard Brissenden is a chartered accountant with more than 25 years of experience in the mining and exploration sector. He serves as a director for several mining companies, including Canuc Resources Corporation, Excellon Resources Inc., Corona Gold Corporation, Lexam VG Gold and Valdez Gold. He formerly served as a board member of Metco Resources and Hudbay Minerals Inc., among others.

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Don Bubar

President and CEO, Avalon Advanced Materials
Toronto, Ontario

Don Bubar is a geologist with 40 years of experience in mineral exploration and development in Canada. Mr. Bubar is a graduate of McGill University (B.Sc., 1977) and Queen’s University (M.Sc., 1981). From 1984 to 1994, he worked for Aur Resources Inc. as Exploration Manager and later as VP, Exploration. Mr. Bubar has been President and CEO of Avalon since 1995.

Mr. Bubar served as a Director of the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) for nine years and as Chair of its Aboriginal Affairs Committee from its creation in December 2004 until retiring from the PDAC Board in March 2013. Throughout his career, Mr. Bubar has been advocate for increased Indigenous participation in the mineral industry, first through the PDAC and later through the Northwest Territories and Nunavut Chamber of Mines. Mr. Bubar serves on the Advisory Board to the Faculty of Science of McGill University and on the Board of Directors of Mining Matters.

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Normand Champigny

Chief Executive Officer, Director, Quebec Precious Metals Corporation
Montréal, Quebec

Mr. Champigny is a geological engineer with extensive experience with both public and private companies, both domestically and internationally, and is currently a director of Bonterra Resources. He has been involved in many facets of the mining industry, including engineering, project evaluation, and project management. Mr. Champigny is a member of the Ordre des Ingénieurs du Québec. Until recently, Mr. Champigny was an Executive Committee Member of the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada. He was Chair of the Board of Directors of Minalliance, an organization that raises awareness about the mining industry in Quebec and highlights the industry's positive contribution to Quebec's social, economic, and environmental development. Mr. Champigny is a graduate from École Polytechnique in Montréal (B.A.Sc.), University of British Columbia (M.A.Sc.), and Paris School of Mines (Specialized Diploma in Geostatistics).

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Garry Innanen

Director, Spark Angels
Toronto, Ontario

Garry Innanen has 25 years of corporate governance, sales, marketing, engagement, delivery and leadership experience serving the sustainability, business and information management needs of private and public organizations. Founded and led four service organizations, and provided board and council direction. Adept at developing actionable business strategies, engaged stakeholders, and valuable common purposes. Consistently exceeded goals.

Experience has been directed toward not-for-profit, clean tech, mining, oil and gas, retail, process and discrete manufacturing, health care, distribution, technology, government and financial organizations. Notable clients include municipal, provincial and federal governments, Thoughtwire, Daisy Intelligence, Causeview, IBM, GE, CGI, Vale, Nortel Networks, Canadian Institute for Health Information, Kraft General Foods, Empire Life, Noranda, Falconbridge, Dofasco, Manulife Financial, and ministries and agencies of the Province of Ontario.

His leadership and management roles included the founding of a national enterprise-application consulting practice, a connected smart community practice, and as Director and co-Manager of a regional Angel Investment Network.

Mr. Innanen currently serves as Ambassador (formerly as a Director) for the Ontario Board of the Nature Conservancy of Canada and is a member on the Financial Sustainability sub-committee, and a past member of the Securement and Stewardship sub-committee and the Nomination and Governance sub-committees.

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Serge Perrault

Senior Geologist (retired) at SOQUEM Inc.
Val-d'Or, Quebec

A graduate of the Université de Montréal, with a bachelor's degree (1982) and a master's degree in geology (1987), Serge Perreault has been active in the field of geological research and mineral exploration for nearly 30 years. Perreault worked for 17 years at the Quebec Department of Natural Resources between 1991 and 2008. In October 2008, he joined SOQUEM as a senior geologist, was promoted as Principal geoscientist in November 2015 and served as acting CEO from February 2020 to January 2021. He retired from SOQUEM in April 2021. Perreault is a member of the Ordre des géologues du Québec, the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM), the Mineralogical Association of Canada, and several other mining and geosciences organizations. He is a board member of the Ordre des géologues du Québec and the CIM.

Since 1992, Perreault has been active in science awareness and in promoting the geology and mineralogy to the public. As such he was involved in the concept in two exhibitions on the mining history and the minerals treasures of the Quebec North Shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence with the Musée regional de la Côte-Nord at Sept-Îles. One of his passions is to promote the geoheritage of Quebec.

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Mac Watson

Member, Mining Hall of Fame
Montréal, Quebec

Geological acumen, entrepreneurial instincts, and an engaging personality are some of the qualities that contributed to the extraordinary success achieved by Mackenzie Watson during his 50-year career in the Canadian mining industry. His impressive track record of discovery includes involvement in the Holloway gold project in Ontario, chromite deposits in the Ring of Fire district, and the Strange Lake rare-earths project in Quebec. He also built flagship Freewest Resources into a respected project generator, and provided leadership and support to junior companies and industry associations.

Watson graduated with a B.Sc. in geology from the University of New Brunswick in 1959, and soon after participated in the discovery of the Icon Sullivan copper mine near Chibougamau, Quebec. His 1970s successes included Lynx Canada's Long Lake zinc mine in southeast Ontario, the Hebecourt massive sulphide deposit in Quebec, the Ellison gold deposit in Quebec, and a thermal coal deposit in New Brunswick. He later became a technical advisor to Q-Vest, which raised $60 million to invest in junior companies during the 1980s.

Watson came into his own after becoming president of Freewest Resources in 1986. The company's first major triumph was the Holloway gold project east of Timmins. Its discovery led to Freewest being absorbed by Hemlo Gold Mines and development of the deposit as a 1350 tons-per-day mine. His successor company, Freewest Resources Canada, went on to discover the Clarence Stream sediment-hosted gold deposit in New Brunswick. Freewest later joined a staking rush to the remote James Bay Lowlands of Ontario. Subsequent exploration led to the discovery of the Black Thor and Black Label chromite deposits in the Ring of Fire region, and the 2009 takeover of Freewest by Cliffs Natural Resources. A spin-off company, Quest Uranium, discovered a significant rare-earths deposit at Strange Lake in Quebec, near the Labrador border.

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Advisory Committee

Dr. Donald V. Doell

Medical doctor
Toronto, Ontario

Dr. Donald Doell began collecting minerals at a very young age while still in grade school grade while living in Rochester, New York, from a firm that supplied scientific supplies to high schools and colleges called wards. Dr. Doell still has some of the specimens in his collection.

He moved to Montréal in 1969 for to study Medicine at McGill. He learned that there was a quarry in Montréal that had unusual minerals and contacted the Francon company about collecting there. Initially, he was told he was not allowed to collect, but eventually gained access and became the principal supplier of mineral specimens from that quarry (weloganite, dawsonite, cryolite) to collectors and museums around the world, including the Canadian Museum of Nature. He met Bill Pinch—also from Rochester—as a result of his interest in acquiring some minerals from the Francon Quarry. Bill Pinch had what was generally accepted as one of the finest mineral collections in the world.

In 1986 Dr. Doell learned that Pinch's collection was for sale and I approached Dr. George Robinson about acquiring it for the Canadian Museum of Nature. A fundraising campaign was organized and Mr. Doell was asked to the chair the project. The campaign was successful and the Canadian Museum of Nature acquired the Pinch Collection in 1988. The story of the collection and campaign is documented in The Pinch Collection at the Canadian Museum of Nature by Michael Bainbridge, released in 2020.

Dr. Doell has had ongoing contact with the museum since, and when he learned about the Haineault Collection becoming available, he offered to help in any attempt to acquire this very important collection. Currently, he serves on the board of the Consortium of Canadian Centres for Clinical Cognitive Research ( and has been an Investigator for clinical trials in Alzheimer's Disease since 2015.

He has a personal collection of over 7000 specimens.

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Robert (Bob) Downes

Professor of Geosciences, Mineralogy and Crystallography
Tucson, Arizona, USA

Robert Downes completed his B.Sc. in mathematics at the University of British Columbia in 1986 after ten years as a construction worker. He built the Camble Street Bridge, the Burrard and Granville Street subway stations in Vancouver, and the Dempster Highway in Yukon, to name a few of his projects.

He worked as a professional mineral collector, drilling and blasting rocks. After stints as assistant curator of the UBC mineral museum under Joe Nagel and in the National Mineral Collection in Ottawa with Gary Ansell, Bob moved to Virginia Tech and obtained an M.Sc. in 1989 and a Ph.D. in 1992 in mineralogy under the joint directions of Jerry Gibbs and Monte Boisen (math). His graduate studies were focused mainly on the analysis of thermal motion in crystals. He then accepted a post-doctoral position at the Geophysical Lab in Washington, D.C., to learn high-pressure crystallographic techniques with Bob Hazen, Larry Finger and Charlie Prewitt.

In 1996, Downes took a faculty position at the University of Arizona. His research interests are currently focused on the high-pressure behaviour of pyroxenes and the analysis of electron density and bonding in minerals. Bob will be promoted to Associate Professor in 2021.

He is happily married to Dori and they have two boys, Gordie and Clay. They throw a fine party each year during the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, with an open invitation to mineralogists and Canadians.

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Dr. Carl A. Francis

Mineralogist, Curator of the Maine Mineral Museum
Bethel, Maine, USA

Carl A. Francis earned an A.B. in geology from Amherst College in 1971 and his M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. His professional interests include systematic mineralogy and the geology of pegmatites. He currently focuses on the morphology of quartz. He retired in 2011 after thirty-four years as curator of the Harvard University Mineralogical and Geological Museum. He also taught museum studies in the Harvard Extension School for twenty years. Since 2012, he has been curator at the Maine Mineral and Gem Museum in Bethel, Maine.

He is an Executive Editor of and writes for Rocks & Minerals magazine. He is a Fellow of the Mineralogical Society of America and served as chairman of the International Mineralogical Association Commission on Museums. He received the Carnegie Mineralogical Award for 1992 from the Hillman Foundation of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.

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Bob Gault

Wellsite Geologist, Goolsby Brothers and Associates
Greater Denver Area, Colorado, USA

Robert Gault is an autodidact in mineralogy and has gained deep knowledge in this field. Now retired, Gault worked as a Research Assistant at the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa. He is now a Research Associate at the museum, working with the electron-microprobe operator by providing him with samples of interest from the collection for analysis and then processing and cataloguing the data. This allowed him to investigate the chemical composition of Mont Saint-Hilaire minerals first-hand.

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Dr. Mark Graham

Vice-President (retired), Research and Collections, Canadian Museum of Nature
Gatineau, Quebec

Mark Graham, Ph.D., is an experimental biologist who has used fish to understand the impact of environmental changes on living systems. His training and experience have allowed him to research in the field and in laboratories alongside the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic Oceans. For more than 25 years, he worked in the museum community, developing and promoting natural-history research and collections for the public and many other stakeholders.

Graham's philosophy of openly sharing research findings has resulted in the entry of over 200 museum publications into the Biodiversity Heritage Library, international support and participation in the Global Biodiversity Information Facility, and the creation of a data portal for museum specimens.

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Dr. Frank Hawthorne

Canada Research Chair in Crystallography and Mineralogy, University of Manitoba
Winnipeg, Manitoba

From 1973 to 1975, Frank Hawthorne was a Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Department of Geological Science at the University of Manitoba. He was a research associate from 1975 to 1980 and University Research Fellow from 1980 to 1985.

In 1985, he was appointed an Associate Professor and in 1986, he was appointed a Professor of Crystallography and Mineralogy. He currently holds the Canada Research Chair in Crystallography and Mineralogy.

Hawthorne's early work focused on structural and crystal-chemical problems of amphiboles. He had used several experimental techniques, including X-ray and neutron diffraction, infrared spectroscopy, and Mössbauer spectroscopy. He summarised his results in a 300-page paper on amphiboles, for which he was awarded the Hawley Medal of the Mineralogical Association of Canada in 1983.

Hawthorne then turned his attention to a series of complex crystal-chemistry problems involving rock-forming minerals, such as staurolite, vesuvianite, pyroxenes, beryl and tourmaline. He used a multi-technique approach and applied novel analytical and spectroscopic methods to solve these mineralogical problems. These results have been used to provide indication of the conditions prevailing during the progressive crystallisation of magmas.

Hawthorne's work on the energetic content of the chemical bonds in mineral structures has advanced solid-state chemistry and crystallography.

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László (Les) Horváth and Elsa Pfenninger-Horváth

Amateur mineralogists, Pinch Medal winners
Montréal, Quebec

The Horváths are passionate amateur mineralogists who have had a lasting impact on the development of the mineralogical sciences in Canada and abroad. Les and Elsa have been heavily involved in the mineralogy of the Monteregian alkaline igneous complexes for over thirty years. At Mont Saint-Hilaire, they were the first to find more than 60 of the 365 species known from the locality, including five new mineral species that they discovered by themselves and two others in cooperation with other colleagues.

Their vast mineralogical knowledge is not the product of advanced degrees in the Earth sciences at well-established universities. Les studied metallurgy in Hungary and metallurgy and management in Canada. He was born in Hungary in 1937, and came to Canada at age 20, at a time of great upheaval in his country. Elsa was born in Switzerland, arrived in Canada in 1968, and worked for many years as a research technician in the Department of Biochemistry at McGill University. Both are now retired, which allows them to focus on their passion: mineralogy, especially that of alkaline complexes. Currently, Les is involved with Igor V. Pekov of the University of Moscow in an encyclopedic survey of the mineralogy of alkaline complexes. Both are busy reading and compiling data from the most obscure sources to all the mainline journals.

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Dr. Andrew McDonald

Professor, Harquail School of Earth Sciences, Laurentian University
Past President, Mineralogical Association of Canada
Sudbury, Ontario

Andrew McDonald's research is directed at using mineralogy as a tool in the geosciences. Although McDonald, Ph.D., still conducts investigations/characterizations of new mineral species, he is also interested in applying mineralogy and crystal chemistry as a means of understanding the evolution of alkaline rocks, exploring for Au and rare metals (for example, Ta, Nb) and understanding how the atomic structures of minerals relate to their observed physical and optical properties.

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Dr. Peter Megaw

Geologist, Chief Exploration Officer of MAG Silver Corp
Tucson, Arizona, USA

Peter Megaw, C.P.G., has a Ph.D. in geology from the University of Arizona and more than 27 years of relevant experience focused on silver and gold exploration in Mexico. He is a Professional Geologist certified by the American Institute of Professional Geologists and an Arizona Registered Geologist. Megaw has been instrumental in a number of mineral discoveries in Mexico, including new ore bodies at existing mines, Excellon Resources' Platosa Mine, and MAG Silver's Juanicipio, Batopilas and Santa Eulalia properties. Megaw is the author of numerous scientific publications on ore deposits, and is a frequent speaker at academic and international exploration conferences.

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Frank and Wendy Melanson

McDougall Minerals
Bancroft, Ontario

Frank and Wendy Melanson are retired mineral collectors who are instrumental members of the Bancroft Gem and Mineral Club, located in Bancroft, Ontario. Wendy serves as the curator of the Bancroft Club's collection.

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Dr. Paula C. Piilonen

Research Scientist, Mineral Sciences, Research and Collections, Canadian Museum of Nature
Former President and former Vice-President, Mineralogical Association of Canada
Gatineau, Quebec

Paula Piilonen, Ph.D., specializes in studying the minerals in alkaline rocks that contain rare-earth elements such as zirconium, niobium and titanium. Her work focuses on understanding how these rare elements form minerals, how they behave in different geochemical environments, and what their presence or absence can tell us about the rocks in which they formed. Her work spans the globe, from Norway all the way over to Southeast Asia.

In southern Norway, Piilonen is studying the mineralogy and origin of the Larvik alkaline complex, which lies at the centre of the Oslo Rift Valley. The Larvik complex is historic from a geological perspective, and has been designated a UNESCO GeoPark.

Meanwhile on the other side of the globe, she can be found trekking across the Cambodian jungle in search of gems including zircon (ZrSiO4), topaz and beryl. Examining the chemistry of the zircon crystals will help shed light on the geological evolution of Cambodia.

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George Robinson

Former Curator and Senior Collections Specialist, Canadian Museum of Nature
Carnegie Mineralogical Award Recipient
Ogdensburg, New York, USA

George Robinson's interest in minerals began with a hobby show in grade 3 and continued to grow throughout his high school years, leading him to attend SUNY – Potsdam, where he earned B.A. in geological sciences. For the next six years, he taught high-school Earth Science, during which time he married his wife, and well-known mineral artist, Susan. From 1974 to 1978, he attended Queen's University (Kingston, Ontario), where he studied under the eminent mineralogist Leonard Berry and received his Ph.D. in Geological Sciences.

For the next four years, he and Susan became full-time mineral dealers, but returned to Canada in 1982, where he served as a Curator and Senior Collections Specialist at the National Museum of Natural Sciences (now Canadian Museum of Nature) for 14 years.

In 1996, he joined the faculty at Michigan Technological University, where he was employed as Curator of the A.E. Seaman Mineral Museum and Professor of mineralogy in the Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences. His research interests include paragenetic studies of classic and new mineral occurrences, descriptions of new mineral species, and topographic mineralogy.

He has over one hundred professional papers and publications to his credit, including a best-seller book, Minerals, published by Simon & Schuster in 1994. Other books he has authored include Mineralogy of Michigan (second edition), The A.E. Seaman Mineral Museum: Its History and Collections, Minerals of the Lake Superior Iron Ranges, and The Collector's Guide to the Minerals of New York State.

Robinson is well known in the mineralogical community. He is a Research Associate at the New York State Museum, an advisory board member for the Hudson Institute for Mineralogy, and has been cited in Leaders of American Secondary Education, Dictionary of International Biography, International Directory of Distinguished Leadership, and Marqui's Who's Who in Science and Engineering. He has served as an associate editor for The Mineralogical Record, Rocks and Minerals, The Canadian Mineralogist and The Canadian Gemmologist, and was an abstractor for Mineralogical Abstracts. He was also a Director for the Mineralogical Record, Inc. for 25 years, and has served as a committee member for the Rochester Academy of Science Mineralogical Symposium since 1985. In 2009, the rare lead chromate mineral georgerobinsonite was named in his honour, and in 2012, he was the recipient of the prestigious Carnegie Mineralogical Award.

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Dr. Peter Tarassoff

Metallurgist, Retired, Vice President and Chief Scientist of Noranda Inc.
McGill University, Redpath Museum
Montréal, Quebec

Peter Tarassoff was born in Montréal, Canada, in 1934. He holds a bachelor's degree in metallurgical engineering from McGill University and a doctorate in chemical metallurgy from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

As an undergraduate student in 1953, Peter had the opportunity to work for the Geological Survey of Canada in Yukon, which resulted in a mineralogical term paper and a dynamite box of mineral specimens. Peter was further introduced to the New England pegmatites by members of the Boston Mineral Club while he was a graduate student at MIT.

Tarassoff began to explore and collect at some of Canada's most important localities. In 1962, he discovered the Saint-Amable alkaline sill (Demix-Varennes Quarry), first visited the now world-famous site of Mont Saint-Hilaire in 1963 and has been collecting there continuously until the present day. After his retirement, Peter turned his energies towards mineralogy and ornithology. Of the more-than-400 mineral species found at Mont Saint-Hilaire, Tarassoff has been the first person to identify at least 35 of these species. In addition, his collecting and subsequent examinations have resulted in him discovering 12 new species from not only Mont Saint-Hilaire, but also other alkaline localities. Considered to be the dean of Mont Saint-Hilaire mineral collectors for his long and sustained contributions to Mont Saint-Hilaire mineralogy, Tarassoff was honoured with having the new species petarasite named after him in 1980 by George Y. Chao, T.T. Chen and J. Baker.

In addition to providing to the scientific community, in 2007, Peter returned to his roots to work as a volunteer at the Redpath Museum, where he has helped to completely renew the mineral exhibitions and reorganize the mineral collection, and has written a scientific guide to the mineral gallery. He is an associate at the museum with the title of Honorary Curator of Mineralogy. Peter knows where his passion for the minerals sciences began and he is doing his utmost to ensure that the next generation has the same opportunities that he did.

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