Use of a Field Portable Photometer for Rapid Geochemical Analysis of Stream and Spring Waters: A Case History from Poison Mountain, Southwestern British Columbia
(NTS 092O)

- R. Yehia and D. Heberlein

A range of portable analytical instruments called spectrophotometers, or photometers, is available for field-based surface water testing that can provide close to real-time results. These photometers can measure concentrations of dissolved ions at a fraction of the cost of analysis at a commercial laboratory.

This proof-of-concept study was carried out at the Poison Mountain copper-gold-molybdenum deposit in southwestern BC in late August and again in October of 2014 to demonstrate repeatability of this technique. Final interpretation of the photometer results will include testing the reliability, accuracy and precision of its readings based on: comparison with results of identical samples analyzed in a commercial lab, duplicate photometer readings and results of field duplicate samples. The interpretation will also address the dispersion of key ions from exposed mineralization at the Poison Mountain deposit and discuss the advantages of using this technique for mineral exploration in BC. The project is expected to be complete in early 2015.

Posters and Presentations
2015: Use of a Field Portable Photometer for Rapid Geochemical Analysis of Stream and Spring Waters: A Case History from Poison Mountain, British Columbia (NTS 092O/02)
- Mineral Exploration Roundup Presentation (pdf, 5.6 MB)
Technical Articles
2015: "Use of a field portable photometer for rapid geochemical analysis of stream and spring waters: a case history from Poison Mountain, southwestern British Columbia"
- Summary of Activities 2014, Report 2015-1 p. 47-52 (pdf, 3.0 MB)

Final Deliverables
Geoscience BC Report 2015-17
Use of a Field Portable Photometer for Rapid Geochemical Analysis of Stream and Spring Waters: A Case History from Poison Mountain, British Columbia (NTS 092O/02)

Hydrogeochemistry has been used as an effective tool in the hunt for geothermal resources, but has not yet been widely used in mineral exploration. With the use of portable analytical instruments to test water, explorers can identify pathfinder element dispersion patterns related to mineralization. This method is low cost, quick and can also be a useful for exploration of terrain with challenging access.

Geoscience BC Report 2015-17 describes a "proof of concept" study carried out around the Poison Mountain copper-gold prospect in central BC. The study tested the effectiveness of the Palintest Photometer 8000 by comparing field measured results with those of laboratory results, for each site. The results were also compared with the results from conventional stream sediment geochemistry. Sampling included the testing of 70 water samples with the photometer, the collection and laboratory analysis of 40 water samples, and the collection and laboratory analysis of 66 stream sediment samples.

The results of this study demonstrated the photometer as a effective, low-cost exploration tool providing same-day indications, that can support explorers with on-site decision making. The instrument showed good accuracy and precision, with field analytic results comparing well with laboratory results. The sites tested with the photometer provided much lower absolute concentrations than stream sediment samples; however, to obtain a more comprehensive suite of analytical determinations, laboratory analysis would be required. A comprehensive report documents the collection and analytical methods, as well as quality control methods and results. A series of multi-element maps and dispersion profiles are included. Data files in excel format document field information and analytical results.

 


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