vh_photo2Virginia Heffernan, principal of GeoPen Communications, is a science and business writer who specializes in the mineral resource sector. She provides research and writing services to both corporate and government clients and is a regular contributor to several publications. Her clientele spans four continents.

Virginia holds a B.Sc. in geology from Queen’s University and an M.Sc. from the University of Toronto’s Centre for Environment. She is a past president of the Toronto Chapter of the Professional Writers Association of Canada (PWAC). In 2013 she was nominated for a Kenneth R. Wilson award for “Best Profile of a Company.”

Among her current clients are:

  • Geosoft
  • Ontario’s Ministry of Economic Development,  Employment & Infrastructure
  • The Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada


To reach Virginia:

Virginia Heffernan worked internationally as a field geologist before joining The Northern Miner as a staff writer. She went on to complete a graduate degree in environmental science from the University of Toronto and launched GeoPen Communications in 1997.

Virginia provides research and writing services to a broad range of international clients including newspapers, magazines, book publishers, government ministries, corporations and research groups. She has published two books with The Financial Times. Her areas of expertise include mineral exploration, mining finance, green technology and renewable energy.

A reputation for accuracy and punctuality, combined with the ability to translate complex scientific and financial concepts into lively prose, has allowed Virginia’s business to flourish.

See Virginia’s Linked In profile here: http://www.linkedin.com/in/virginiaheffernan

Writing Experience

1997 – present: GeoPen Communications – Freelance Writer

  • Contribute articles to a variety of periodicals (see Publication Credits & Writing Samples)
  • Provide writing services to a wide range of clients
  • Author of two books on the mining industry

1990 – 1993: The Northern Miner – Staff Writer

  • Researched, wrote and edited stories on exploration & mining
  • Investigated mineral properties on-site


2006 Ryerson University, Advanced Magazine Writing
1996 University of Toronto M.Sc. Geography/Environmental Science
1991 Canadian Securities Institute Securities Certificate
1986 Queen’s University B.Sc. Geology/Geography

Relevant Volunteer Work

2011 – 2013 Past President, PWAC Toronto
2009 – 2011 President, PWAC Toronto
2006 – 2009 Treasurer, PWAC Toronto
1992 – 1993 Regional Editor, Society of Economic Geologists Newsletter
1996 Media Outreach Editor, Greenest City Project (Toronto)


Virginia presents at the PWAC Toronto panel discussion on niche writing.
Virginia presents at a PWAC Toronto panel on specialty writing.


Virginia provides a range of services to periodicals (newspapers and magazines) government, and corporate clients. With her background in geology and a solid grounding in securities, she is able decipher the language of geoscientists and investment bankers alike to provide compelling articles about the science and business of exploration & mining. She is also skilled in writing web site content – from blogs to press releases – for corporate or government clients who want to convey a particular message.


Client: Glencairn Gold

Job: Produced comprehensive report on gold exploration and mining activity in Central America to increase awareness of the region among investors. The report was subsequently posted on www.kitco.com and several company web sites.

Client: Health Canada

Job: Completed international literature review on concentrations of various contaminants in environmental media and prepared corresponding reports.

Client: International Council on Metals and the Environment (ICME)

Job: Edited Case Studies on Tailings Management, a report prepared by technical experts from around the world to illustrate approaches used in managing the risks of tailings containment systems.

Client: Canadian Mining Hall of Fame

Job: Wrote script for the CMHF’s award dinner, including the speech by the master of ceremonies.

Clients, past and present

    • Canadian Mining Hall of Fame
    • Ontario Ministry of Economic Development, Employment & Infrastructure
    • Geosoft Inc
    • PricewaterhouseCoopers
    • Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC)
    • Firmex
    • Mining Family Matters
    • Romarco Minerals
    • Scorpio Mining
    • The Nickel Institute
    • Eco Oro Minerals
    • Unigold
    • Alamos Gold
    • Boliden Ltd
    • Glencairn Gold Corporation
    • Health Canada
    • International Council on Metals and the Environment
    • Kit Resources
    • Philex Gold
    • Trilogy Integrated Investor Relations
    • Wheaton River Minerals

Books & Reports

ViolaFrom the Ground Up: An Autobiography

by Viola MacMillan, Afterword by Virginia Heffernan

“a fascinating account of MacMillan’s exceptional life… (Heffernan’s) Afterword is a valuable addition to the autobiography because it provides both closure and context to matters that MacMillan found too painful to examine or discuss in detail,” The Northern Miner

“I found your Afterword incredible reading for its eloquence in capturing the times and character of Viola MacMillan. It’s the best synopsis on the Windfall episode we’ve found.” Paul Smith, descendent of Timmins area landowner.

FinancialTimes1Worldwide Mineral Exploration: Preparing for the next boom

by Virginia Heffernan, published by Financial Times Energy 146pp US$175
Read the Executive Summary and Table of Contents

“an excellent report,” J. David Lowell, world-renowned geologist, in Engineering & Mining Journal, November, 2001

“What’s happening (in the mining industry) bears out the predictions made in this Financial Times special report,” Brendan Ryan in South Africa’s Financial Mail, August 1999

FinancialTimes2Growth Strategies for the mining industry: acquisition or exploration?

by Virginia Heffernan, published by Financial Times Energy
131pp US$175
Read the Executive Summary and Table of Contents

“a well-researched, clearly written treasure trove of information about how companies grow and why some go bust,” The Northern Miner, June 18, 2000

TailingsCase Studies on Tailings Management

International Council on Metals and the Environment, edited by Virginia Heffernan

Case Studies on Tailings Management was prepared by technical experts from around the world to illustrate approaches used in managing the risks of tailings containment systems. Virginia edited each of the 21 case studies and compiled a glossary for the publication.

Periodical Credits

Virginia’s work appears in several trade, business and consumer publications, including:

      • CIM Magazine
      • Global Mining Finance (London)
      • MinerAndina Comunicaciones (Lima)
      • Buyside
      • Investment Executive
      • Canadian Consulting Engineer
      • Mining Markets
      • Canadian Mining Journal
      • National Post
      • Diamonds in Canada
      • Nickel
      • Earth Explorer
      • Nunatsiaq News
      • Engineering & Mining Journal
      • The Globe and Mail
      • Financial Post
      • The Northern Miner



Virginia’s Blogs

Virginia writes regularly about new developments and issues in the fields of:

Writing Samples


A selection of unsolicited comments about Virginia’s work:

“Earth Explorer is becoming a credible voice, and the credit for that goes largely to you. I can’t thank you enough for your efforts.”
– Carmela Burns, Corporate Marketing Director, Geosoft Inc. and Editor of Earth Explorer Magazine

“I’m so happy you’re writing for CCE. Your research is sound and your writing is excellent.”
– Bronwen Parsons, editor of Canadian Consulting Engineer

“I just wanted to congratulate you on doing such a tremendous job with the financial incentives story: not an easy topic, and it looks fabulous.”
– Nadim Kara, Senior Program Director, PDAC

“That was very good work you did for us. All your reads were well-written, interesting, & informative.”
– James Walker, former managing editor of Investment Executive

“I think you did an excellent job on the property valuation assignment. It’s a tough topic to get your arms around, but you did a masterful job of weaving the various trends and developments together.” – Russell Carter, Managing Editor of Engineering & Mining Journal

“I wish to compliment you on your Black Hawk piece. It is refreshing to see attention to the details.”
– Michael Gareau, former vice-president exploration, Black Hawk Mining

“Thank you for the copies of From the Ground Up. I take pride in the fact that we have achieved something beneficial for Canada. For this, I pay tribute to ECW Press and to Virginia Heffernan.”
– Robert Evans, executor of Viola MacMillan’s estate

“Your article on Monroe Minerals was very, very nicely done.Your lead on the piece was one of the most vivid leads I’ve read in The Northern Miner for a long time. The other key point from our perspective is that you had all the facts straight, which is often the toughest thing in this kind of writing.”
– Olav Svela, former editor of The Northern Miner

“Bloody hell, this is fantastic Virginia.”

- Lainie Anderson, editor, Mining Family Matters