Cordilleran Geochemistry Project: Comparative Assessment of New Geochemical Methods for Detecting Buried Mineral Deposits in Central BC

Key Researcher(s):  S. J. Cook

Project ID:  2005-009

Key Research Organization(s):  Cook Geochemical Consulting

Project Location:  Cariboo

Focus Area:  Minerals


Project Study SiteThe study investiged the geochemical response, in soils and Quaternary materials, of a Au-Ag epithermal deposit (3T's deposit) in central BC. The study comprised an integrated field and laboratory investigation focusing on comparative analytical digestions and selective extraction studies from various soil profiles across the deposit.The project objective was to determine and recommend the most effective geochemical methods for property-scale evaluation of buried mineral targets in drift-covered terrain by evaluating and comparing commercially-available analytical methods and evaluating the most suitable soil media and horizons. Effective mineral exploration in this region has been hindered by thick forest cover, an extensive blanket of till and other glacial deposits and, locally, widespread basalt cover. Together these barriers to exploration have obscured the potential for discovery of new deposits. Regional geochemical surveys have been effective as reconnaissance exploration techniques, but few studies have been conducted into the use of surficial geochemistry to aid in prioritizing regional geochemical anomalies at property scale.


This project was complementary to the project: "Halogen Geochemistry: Development of New Geochemical Methodology, Using Soils and Vegetation, for Detecting Mineral Deposits Concealed by Volcanic Rocks and Overburden in Central British Columbia." (Dunn, Cook and Hall). Samples from a range of soil horizons were submitted for comparative analysis by several selective extraction analytical methods. This project was envisioned as a smaller Cordilleran analogue of the successful central Canadian CAMIRO Deep Penetrating Geochemistry project and its successors. No such publicly available comparative geochemical methodology studies have been conducted in the Cordillera.

Comparative extractions and analyses included:
  • aqua regia digestion/ICP-MS
  • Na-pyrophosphate extractions
  • Enzyme Leach
  • MMI Mobile Metal Ion
  • Soil Gas Hydrocarbons
  • Soil Desorption Pyrolysis
  • Soil pH

Results will assist companies in mounting effective geochemical exploration programs for blind targets, particularly those smaller exploration companies that do not have in-house geochemical staff.