Evaluation of Plant Exudates to Assist in Mineral Exploration and the Development of Simple and Cost Effective Field Procedures and Analytical Methods

Key Researcher(s):  D. R. Heberlein

Project ID:  2012-001

Key Research Organization(s):  Heberlein Geoconsulting

Project Location:  Cariboo

Focus Area:  Minerals


Plant Exudate Project Plant exudates (saps, fluids transpired through leaf pores, salts and particulates on leaf surfaces that have crystallized from the plant fluids) can contain metals translocated from underlying mineralization into the saps and plant material, potentially making them a simple and cost-effective sample medium. This project is aimed at using plant exudates as part of establishing a geochemical strategy to detect blind porphyry copper-gold mineralization.

Test sites for the project lie within Gold Fields Canada Exploration and Consolidated Woodjam Copper Corp.'s Woodjam property, northeast of Williams Lake. Results from the project will be presented at the Mineral Exploration Roundup conference in January 2013, and final results released in early 2013. The project is being undertaken in conjunction with a Mineral Deposit Research Unit (MDRU, UBC) initiative focused on detecting a geochemical signal of mineralization covered by Chilcotin basalt lavas (GBC Project 2011-016).


  • Posters and Presentations

    2013: The Use of Organic Media in the Geochemical Detection of Blind Porphyry Cu-Au Mineralization at the Woodjam Project, BC

    – Mineral Exploration Roundup Presentation (pdf, 5.6 MB)

  • Technical Articles

    2013: “Use of organic media in the geochemical detection of blind porphyry copper-gold mineralization in the Woodjam property area, south-central British Columbia”

    – Summary of Activities 2012, Report 2013-1 p. 47-62 (pdf, 9.4 MB)

  • Final Deliverables

    Geoscience BC Report 2013-20

    Use of Organic Media in the Geochemical Detection of Blind Porphyry Copper-Gold Mineralization in the Woodjam Property Area, South-Central British Columbia (NTS 093A/03, 06)

    Plant exudates can contain metals that have been transported from underlying mineralization. These materials include saps, transpired fluids, salts and particulates on leaf surfaces and may offer simple and cost-effective sample media for detecting mineralization under cover.

    Geoscience BC Report 2013-20 describes a “proof of concept” study carried out at the Woodjam project in central BC that tested the geochemical response of exudates and spruce tissues collected over the “blind”, or covered Deerhorn and Three Firs porphyry Cu-Au systems. Both systems are concealed beneath glacial cover and/or basalt. HR-ICP-MS (High Resolution ICP-MS) was required to obtain low detection limits for some ore and pathfinder elements in the exudates. Results are compared with data from Ah horizon and soil charcoal samples.

    Extensive analyses proved that each sample medium had a signature that could be related to the buried porphyry mineralization, though several “responsive” elements common to most sample media were not always the same. This was likely due to the fact that different components of the geochemical cycle are collected, stored and discarded by each sample medium.