TREK - Targeting Resources for Exploration and Knowledge

Project type: Minerals and Mining

Project location: Northern Interior Plateau, British Columbia

Current TREK Project Area

Geoscience BC's $4 million multi-year, multi-disciplinary Targeting Resources for Exploration and Knowledge (TREK) project generated earth science information that stimulated mineral and geothermal exploration across 24,000 square kilometers in British Columbia's underexplored Interior Plateau.

The Need
BC's Northern Interior Plateau region south of Vanderhoof and west of Quesnel is covered by a thick layer of glacial sediments and lava flows. This cover hides the complex geology of the area and potentially untapped mineral wealth and geothermal resources buried below. When New Gold announced that they had identified mineral reserves of 8.2 million ounces of gold and 61 million ounces of silver in this area at the company's Blackwater deposit in 2012, interest in the area was reinvigorated.

Inspired by the Blackwater discovery, Geoscience BC launched the TREK project in 2013 to apply the latest technology, innovation, and knowledge to generating reliable, large-scale, high-quality earth science information across the area. Since 2013, Geoscience BC has flown a new regional airborne geophysical survey and collected over 8,000 unique geochemical samples to help 'see through' the cover to the rocks below.

Project Goals
The TREK project:

  • Generated regional-scale, detailed, high-quality earth science data and information for BC's underexplored northern interior plateau region
  • Provided a clearer understanding of the geology, mineral potential, and geothermal reserves buried in central BC
  • Applied advanced tools and technologies to collect reliable earth science data and interpret the geology of the TREK area
  • Directly stimulated on-the-ground activity to discover hidden mineral deposits in an area where several rich gold, silver, and copper deposits have already been discovered

Project Benefits
First Nations, communities, mineral explorers, and land managers need access to reliable earth science information to make informed land use and resource development decisions in the TREK area where mineral and geothermal potential is high. Geoscience BC's TREK project was initiated in 2013 to collect new, high-quality detailed data over a wide area using the latest tools and innovations because the geology of the area is hidden. The TREK project has produced reports, data, and interpretations to help mineral explorers identify targets, leading to the discovery of new mines and jobs for people in remote communities. These communities can also use geothermal information gathered to assess whether geothermal energy is an appropriate option for their for their community, saving money on diesel and reducing carbon emissions by switching to a sustainable energy source.

Survey Area
The TREK project covers a 24,000 km2 area in BC's Central Interior Plateau from Anahim Lake in the north, east towards Burns Lake, Vanderhoof and Williams Lake. New Gold's proposed 8.2 million-ounce Blackwater gold mine is located in the middle of the area, about 160 kilometres southwest of Prince, and operating the New Afton mine to the southeast has over a decade of mine life left.

How was the data collected?
Since 2013, Geoscience BC-supported researchers have generated and shared new information from numerous geochemistry, geophysics, geothermal and geology and integration studies.

  • The TREK project has seen some of the most intense regional-scale geochemical sampling in the province with four media being examined: stream sediments, till, lake sediments, and biogeochemical samples, such as bark and tree tops. Over 8,000 unique geochemical samples have been collected and analyzed over the TREK area since 2013.
  • An airborne magnetic survey was flown in late 2013 at a line spacing of 250 m -- closer than previous surveys - and produced 103,839 line-km of new data.
  • Community-driven geothermal studies in the TREK are investigated the potential for geothermal resources near the community of Nazko.
  • A Geology and Integration project has compiled new geological maps and geophysical layers.
What was found?
The TREK project has generated a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary, public geoscience dataset that is rarely found in this resource sector. Download the products below. Highlight: Parlane Resource Corp. credited a geochemical sampling survey undertaken by The University of British Columbia's Mineral Deposit Research Unit as part of the 2015 TREK field season with the 2016 discovery of pure copper on their Big Bear property on the Nechako Plateau, central BC. The project was then sold to New Gold for $2.5 million in July 2017. see news release.

Final Deliverables

Geology and Interpretation
Geophysical Surveys
  • Geoscience BC Report 2014-10: Regional Geochemical and Mineralogical Data, TREK Project, Interior Plateau, British Columbia (June 10, 2014)
  • Geoscience BC Report 2014-11: Geochemical Expression in Soil and Water of Carbon Dioxide Seepages near Nazko Volcanic Cone, Interior Plateau, central BC (October 15, 2014)
  • Geoscience BC Report 2015-02: Investigation of Tree Sap as a Sample Medium for Regional Geochemical Exploration in Glacial Sediment Covered Terrains: A Case History from the Endako area, North-Central BC (NTS map sheets 093F/14 & /15 and 093K/02 & /03) (February 16, 2015)
  • Geoscience BC Report 2015-09:Geochemical Reanalysis of Archived Till Samples, TREK Project, Interior Plateau, central BC (parts of NTS 093C, 093B, 093F & 093K) (May 28, 2015)
  • Geoscience BC Report 2015-12:Regional Geochemical and Mineralogical Data - TREK Project Year 2, Interior Plateau, British Columbia (October 7, 2015)
  • Geoscience BC Report 2015-16:Tracing the Source of Anomalous Geochemical Patterns in Soil, Water and Seepage Gas near the Nazko Volcanic Cone, BC (NTS 93B/13) (December 17,2015)
  • Geoscience BC Report 2016-05:Reconnaissance Biogeochemical Survey Using Spruce-Tops in the West Road (Blackwater) River Area, Fraser Plateau, British Columbia (April 11, 2016)

TREK Workshop - October 17, 2017
Videos and Presentations

Posters and Presentations
2015: Characterization and stratigraphic framework for Late Cretaceous Kasalka Group volcanics, northern TREK Project area, central British Columbia
- Mineral Exploration Roundup Poster (pdf, 3.3 MB)

2015: TREK mapping project year 1: correlating map units to airborne magnetic signatures
- Mineral Exploration Roundup Poster (pdf, 114 MB)

2015: Targeted geochemical and mineralogical surveys in the TREK project area, central British Columbia: Year Two
- Mineral Exploration Roundup Poster (pdf, 23 MB)

2015: Tracing the source of anomalous geochemical patterns in carbonate-rich bog soils near the Nazko volcanic cone, BC
- Mineral Exploration Roundup Poster (pdf, 66 MB)

2013: Geoscience BC's New Minerals Project in the Interior Plateau/Nechako Region of BC
- Mineral Exploration Roundup Poster (pdf, 22.3MB)

Technical Articles
2015: "Targeted geochemical and mineralogical surveys in the TREK project area, central British Columbia: year two"
- Summary of Activities 2014, Report 2014-1 p. 1-12 (pdf, 15.4 MB)

2015: "Tracing the source of anomalous geochemical patterns in carbonate-rich bog soils near the Nazko volcanic cone, central British Columbia"
- Summary of Activities 2014, Report 2014-1 p. 13-20 (pdf, 2.6 MB)

2015: "TREK geology project: recognizing Endako Group and Chilcotin Group basalts from airborne magnetic data in the Interior Plateau region, south-central British Columbia"
- Summary of Activities 2014, Report 2014-1 p. 21-32 (pdf, 6.3 MB)

2015: "Characterization of Late Cretaceous volcanic suites in the TREK project area, central British Columbia"
- Summary of Activities 2014, Report 2014-1 p. 33-40 (pdf, 2.6 MB)

2014: "Targeting Resources through Exploration and Knowledge (TREK): Geoscience BC's newest minerals project, Interior Plateau region, British Columbia"
- Summary of Activities 2013, Report 2014-1 p. 13-18 (pdf, 2.0 MB)

2014: "Targeted geochemical and mineralogical surveys in the TREK Project area, central British Columbia"
- Summary of Activities 2013, Report 2014-1 p. 19-34 (pdf, 15 MB)

2014: "Geochemical expression in soil and water of carbon dioxide seepages near the Nazko volcanic cone, central British Columbia"
- Summary of Activities 2013, Report 2014-1 p. 35-42 (pdf, 4.1 MB)

General Maps of Interest
500K Scale Maps - Existing Data
TREK Project Area - Geology (pdf, 4 MB)
TREK Project Area - MinFile and Geology (pdf, 4 MB)
TREK Project Area - Geology Hillshade Composite (pdf, 11 MB)

News Releases
March 26, 2013: Geoscience BC Launches New TREK Project
July 23, 2013:Geoscience BC TREK Project Update
January 27, 2014:Geoscience BC Releases First Results from TREK Project
April 8, 2014:Geoscience BC Releases Two Reports at KEG
June 10, 2014:Geoscience BC Releases First Geochemical Results from TREK Project
October 15, 2014:Geoscience BC Releases New TREK Project Results
May 28, 2015:Geoscience BC Releases New TREK Geochemical Results
June 3, 2015:Geoscience BC announces commencement of 2015 TREK field program
April 11, 2016:Tree-Top Sampling Program May Help Uncover New Mineral Deposits in B.C.- Geoscience BC is looking at whether concentrations of trace amounts of metals found in trees could lead prospectors to the next big mineral discovery
August 17, 2017: New minerals information for Central BC: Latest TREK maps and interactive workshop
October 16, 2018: New Report Cracks the Code for Locating Central BC's Hidden Gold, Copper and Silver

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