Identification of New Porphyry Potential Under Cover in Central British Columbia

Lead Researcher(s):  D. Mitchinson

Project ID:  2018-047

Key Research Organization(s):  University of British Columbia - MDRU

Project Location:  Central Interior

Strategic Focus Area:  Minerals


This project is using existing Geoscience BC and other publicly available geophysical data to identify, map and model prospective copper-gold deposits and related rocks in the region of the Quesnel terrane between the Mount Polley (Quesnel) and Gibraltar (Williams Lake); and Mount Milligan (Mackenzie) mines that is covered by sediments deposited by glaciers (till).

This project is part of the Central Interior Copper-Gold Research (CICGR) series of research projects.

View CICGR overview page

Research Statement

The Quesnel terrane is a distinct package of rocks that runs roughly northwest-southeast across the province and hosts significant copper-gold deposits. In the Prince George area, the Quesnel terrane is buried under thick till. With the Mount Milligan copper-gold mine to the north and the Mount Polley copper-gold mine and Gibraltar copper-molybdenum mine to the south, it is believed that similar mineral deposits may be hidden below the till between these mines.

This project is using existing geophysical data to better understand the relationships between the critical ore forming rocks, their physical properties and their geophysical responses to generate new interpretations of the geology and mineral potential in the Quesnel terrane.


Mineral exploration efforts in the extensive till-covered region of the Quesnel terrane between the Mount Milligan, Mount Polley and Gibraltar mines have been limited by the perceived thickness of till. Geological knowledge of the critical ore forming rocks can be improved to understand the true cover thicknesses of till through analysis of publicly available geophysical data.


This project fits under Geoscience BC’s Strategic Objective of ‘Identifying New Natural Resource Opportunities’ and our goal to:

  • Continue regional-scale surveys that deliver large data sets in support of identifying prospective targets and increasing discovery rates of deposits.

This project is part of the Central Interior Copper-Gold Research series. It is:

  • Generating a more robust interpretation of geology in heavily covered central Quesnel terrane;
  • Ranking interpreted buried porphyries based on depth and other public data;
  • Creating a catalogue of physical rock-properties from 200 regional samples/data (magnetic susceptibility, remanence, density, resistivity, chargeability); and
  • Provide training opportunities for team members.


The data, maps and models generated by this project will identify and rank new targets for minerals exploration and provide a better understanding of the geology of BC’s North Central Region. This will help to inform mineral exploration decisions and to attract new investment.

Location Details

This project covers over 32,000 km2 of BC’s Central Interior (North Central and South Central Regions) and include communities such as Fort St James, Mackenzie, Prince George, Quesnel, Vanderhoof and Williams Lake.

View Project Area in Earth Science Viewer