Search Mapping Project: Extracting Geological Value from Search Airborne Magnetic Data, West Central British Columbia

Project code: 2016-038

Project type: Minerals and Mining

Proponent: Mineral Deposit Research Unit (MDRU), The University of British Columbia

Partners: British Columbia Geological Survey

Project location: West central British Columbia

This project helps to understand how and why the known mineral deposits are where they are, and if similar deposits might be found in parts of the Skeena Arch -- including parts of the area of Geoscience BC's Search Phase I geophysical survey, and greater detail in an area 30 km east of Terrace and 75 km southwest of Smithers, British Columbia.

The Need
The Skeena Arch in west central BC hosts several producing and past-producing mines such as the Endako molybdenum mine and the Huckleberry, Bell and Granisle copper-gold mines. The origin of these deposits is only partially understood. Some parts of the project area have not seen new detailed mapping since 1976, and the discovery of new deposits could attract mineral exploration investment to the region.

Project Goals
The Search Mapping Project set out to:
  • Interpret data from parts of Geoscience BC's Search Phase I project to produce a structural framework map and dataset
  • Use available imagery of ASTER data to develop an alteration intensity map
  • Integrate the new datasets with existing geological data into a newly compiled geological map
  • Ground-truth and field check geophysical data to generate a new regional geological map
  • Develop a structural and geological framework for the western Skeena Arch with an emphasis on porphyry copper-gold mineral deposits
Project Benefits
Combining complementary data sources into a single map helps mineral explorers, land managers and others to make more informed decisions, and may bring new investment to the area. The new 1:50,000 scale geological map covering the area southwest of Smithers (NTS map sheet 093L/13) will develop a detailed understanding of the local structural controls on mineral deposits.

Survey Area
This project compiles data for the greater Search Phase I area and provides greater detail in the NTS 093L/13 map sheet area approximately 30 km east of Terrace and 75 km southwest of Smithers.

How was the data collected?
In 2015, Geoscience BC's Search Phase I survey mapped the distribution of magnetic minerals below the surface for an area from Terrace in the west to Smithers in the east. In 2016, a field mapping team composed of geologists from the British Columbia Geological Survey and the University of British Columbia's Mineral Deposit Research Unit (MDRU) compared the Search Phase I survey magnetic data and archive data collected by satellites with materials on the ground.

What was found?
The team identified rock structures that may have provided paths for mineralizing fluids from deep within the earth to move toward the surface and be trapped to form mineral deposits.

This knowledge will be recorded on a new 1:50,000 geology map of NTS 093L/13. The potential for undiscovered copper, silver, and molybdenum deposits in west-central BC is high and this map will provide an invaluable tool for on-the-ground mineral exploration activities.

The Detail

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