August 09, 2017 Research results show how snow, soil and trees can detect mineral deposits under ground
Vancouver, BC - August 9, 2017 - A research project funded by Geoscience BC has developed new techniques that use snow, soil and trees to identify buried mineral deposits and has resulted in new laboratory techniques.
The new made-in-BC analytical methods measure the concentration of the halogen elements fluorine, bromine, chlorine and iodine in samples that have been collected in a way that has the potential to significantly lower the environmental impact of mineral exploration.
"This is British Columbia at the cutting-edge of technology for mineral exploration," said Geoscience BC Vice President of Minerals and Mining, Bruce Madu. "Bringing these techniques closer to practical application helps to reduce the impact of mineral exploration work and builds valuable intellectual property right here in British Columbia."
Called "An assessment of the use of halogens and volatile compounds in vegetation, soil and snow in the exploration for concealed deposits: case histories from Lara and Mount Washington, Vancouver Island", the project centered on two well-studied field sites.
Research samples were collected on Vancouver Island at the Mount Washington gold-copper-silver prospect and from the Lara zinc-copper-lead-silver-gold showing. One technique was to capture fluids given off by trees by trapping 'tree sweat' in plastic bags. Halogen elements in soils were sampled using buried collectors left in the ground over several months to passively absorb ions. Snow was also sampled because it can intercept and hold halogen elements.
Project leader Dave Heberlein said: "We have now shown that these techniques are effective on Vancouver Island, but we still have a way to go before they can be widely used by the mineral exploration sector. More work is required to optimize sample types in other common forest types such as the spruce, lodgepole pine or Douglas-fir forests of the Interior."
Significant in-kind support for the project was provided by ALS Minerals Ltd., who developed the new procedures and techniques needed to measure low-level halogen element concentrations in the project's samples. The project was also supported by the British Columbia Ministry of Environment, and Activation Laboratories.
Final reports are now available on the Geoscience BC website www.geosciencebc.com, which includes the free Earth Science Viewer web mapping application.
An assessment of the use of halogens and volatile compounds in vegetation, soil and snow in the exploration for concealed deposits: case histories from Lara and Mount Washington, Vancouver Island
Geoscience BC is an independent, non-profit organization that generates earth science information in collaboration with First Nations, local communities, governments, academia and the resource sector. Our independent earth science enables informed resource management decisions. Geoscience BC gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Province of British Columbia.