Hyperspectral Scanning Unit (HSU) Laboratory

College of the North Atlantic, St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador
What the facility does

Hyperspectral scanning of drill core for precious metals, vectoring minerals, critical minerals, rare earth metals

Areas of expertise

The Hyperspectral Scanning Unit (HSU) Laboratory is a mobile laboratory that offers world-class, high-resolution hyperspectral imaging capabilities over most currently accessible EM spectral ranges, spanning the Visible Near Infrared (VNIR) to the Longwave Infrared (LWIR) regions. The primary focus of the HSU is to investigate geological materials, but there are no restrictions on the type of samples that can be analyzed - from organic samples to industrial materials.

Research services

Working in close collaboration with our mining industry partners, the HSU is primarily investigating mineralogical or other physio-chemical variability within geological samples. The HSU is designed to quickly scan diamond drill core using a 5 camera system with a scanning speed of a single box (1.5 m long) in under a minute. Other sample types, including hand samples, blast hole cuttings, and thin section offcuts can also be scanned and characterized using the HSU system. Providing a better understanding of the geology and mineralogy of a mineral deposit allows our partners to improve their processes, from initial exploration stages through to final ore-processing and even end-of-mine-life reclamation.

  • In-house hyperspectral scanning
  • Hyperspectral data analysis
  • Characterization of deposit geology (allowing vectoring towards mineralization)
  • Applied research in ore-processing
Sectors of application
  • Clean technology
  • Forestry and forest-based industries
  • Manufacturing and processing
  • Mining, minerals and metals
  • Tourism and hospitality

Specialized lab



Mobile Hyperspectral Laboratory

Photon etc. self-contained 20ft Sea Can:


  • 3D Laser Profiler on a conveyor system


  • Red Green Blue (RGC)

  • Visible Near Infra-Red (VISNIR)

  • Short-Wave Infra-Red (SWIR)

  • Mid-Wave Infra-Red (MWIR)

  • Long-Wave Infra-Red (LWIR)

  • High throughput scanning of materials for light signatures

Applied Mineralogy Laboratory

Applied Spectra J200 LIBS

Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) instrument.

Applied Mineralogy Laboratory

Zeiss Polarizing Microscope

To characterize the mineral makeup and textures of both ore and regular rock samples.

Applied Mineralogy Laboratory

Agilent Gas Chromatograph and Agilent Gas Chromatograph-Mass Spectrometer system


Mineral Processing Laboratory

Malvern Instruments Mastersizer MSS Particle Size Analyzer

Laser diffraction particle size analyzer to determine particle size distributions of both wet and dry dispersions.

Mineral Processing Laboratory

MOLS Autosampler

Mine On-Line Service (MOLS). An automatic sorting and bagging device to improve sample representation from blast hole and RC drilling.

Mineral Processing Laboratory

Knelson Gravity Concentrator

To understand mining processes.

Mineral Processing Laboratory

RO-TAP Sieve Shaker

Standardized particle sizing test methods instrument.

Geomatics Laboratory

Hyperspectral Drone

Remotely operated aerial drone with a short-wave infrared (SWIR) hyperspectral camera to collect images of surfaces for materials present.

Geomatics Laboratory

ExynAero UAV

Autonomous uncrewed aerial vehicle (UAV) used for mapping high-risk, GPS denied, environments.

Geomatics Laboratory

GeoSLAM 3D Mapping Scanner

Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM). Handheld 3D mapping instrument to create a 3D image of an area or structure.

Geomatics Laboratory

GeoSLAM Cradle system

To mount the GeoSLAM 3D mapping scanner for vertical deployment underground and difficult to access or hazardous areas such as manholes, vent shafts, silos, sinkholes, and bridges.

Geomatics Laboratory

GeoSLAM Pano

Combine mobile LiDAR with 360-degree panoramic imagery ideal for producing floorplans and virtual walkthroughs of sites.

Geomatics Laboratory

Creaform Metrology Scanner

Handheld self-positioning laser scanner system for metrology and reverse engineering.

Geomatics Laboratory

Leica BLK360 G2 terrestrial laser scanner

3D scanner with integrated high-speed high dynamic range (HDR) spherical imaging systems and Visual Inertial System (VIS) for real-time pre-registration.

Geomatics Laboratory

GeoSLAM Discovery Kit

Backpack mounted mobile mapping system that combines high-resolution 360-degree imagery with LiDAR.

Geomatics Laboratory

ASTRALiTe Edge Topo-Bathy Scanning LiDAR System

For UAV mount. Capable of performing topo-bathymetric scans from a UAV.

  • Iron Ore Company of Canada (IOC)
  • Agnico Eagle Mines



Groundbreaking project ongoing in Baie Verte


College of the North Atlantic introduces cutting-edge technology to mine new opportunities


CNA ranks first in Atlantic Canada for college applied research


Dr. Gary Thompson named Geoscientist of the Year