A Year in Review: Geoscience BC Minerals Projects in 2020

By: Christa Pellett, Vice President, Minerals

Geoscience BC recently released the Summary of Activities 2020: Minerals which contains 15 papers from Geoscience BC-funded projects or scholarship recipients. The papers contribute to meeting two strategic objectives from the Geoscience BC Strategic Plan 2018-2022: identifying new natural resource opportunities; and advancing science and innovative geoscience technologies. They describe minerals research from across the province, including innovative exploration sampling strategies, advanced data analysis, and improved mine reclamation techniques.

Links to project and scholarship website pages, where copies of each paper can be found, are provided. Alternatively, the complete Summary of Activities 2020: Minerals document can be downloaded as one document here.

Identifying New Natural Resource Opportunities The first two papers in Summary of Activities 2020: Minerals focus on the Central Interior Copper-Gold Research (CICGR) series of projects, which are aimed at increasing our knowledge of the highly prospective Quesnel terrane where it is obscured by extensive glacial-till cover. A Surficial Exploration Project paper includes updates on the development of till-sampling–suitability maps and reanalysis of archived till samples, and on fieldwork undertaken in 2020 to collect new till geochemical samples. An update on the Identification of New Porphyry Potential Under Cover in Central British Columbia CICGR project, which aims to look below the surficial material by using geology and 3-D geophysics to model the thickness of the glacial cover and resolve geophysical anomalies that may indicate prospective host rocks, is also included. Ongoing research in the Golden Triangle in BC’s Northwest Region includes an update on the Golden Triangle Geophysics Data Compilation Project, a Geoscience BC initiative to purchase industry geophysical data and compile it with existing publicly available data to create new public geophysical products. In the same area, scholarship recipient Cameron Peddle of the University of Alberta describes structural-geology investigations at the Brucejack deposit. Characterization of Gold Compositions in British Columbia project researchers discuss progress over the last year in their establishment of a database containing microchemical characterization of gold particles in different styles of mineralization from across the province, and the identification of gold signatures using exploratory data analysis. Three papers focus on regions across southern BC. Scholarship recipient Rebecca Morris of the University of Victoria describes ongoing geochemical investigations at the Merry Widow deposit on Vancouver Island. The Geochronology, Deposit Studies and Geological Mapping, Penticton Map Sheet paper details new geochronological analyses and mapping investigations conducted last summer in the Penticton map area, and ongoing work on the potential to extract rare earth metals from coalfields is detailed in a Characterization and Extraction of Rare Earth Elements from East Kootenay Coalfields paper. Advancing Science and Innovative Geoscience Technologies Scholarship recipient Taylor Ledoux of the University of British Columbia’s Mineral Deposit Research Unit presents continuing research into porphyry-indicator minerals, particularly the use of zircon to potentially distinguish variability in magmatic-porphyry fertility in the Quesnel terrane. Two papers turn their attention to the Toodoggone district in BC’s North Central Region. Lead researchers on the Porphyry Vectoring Techniques in Advanced Argillic Altered Rocks in British Columbia project detail ongoing research into using mineralogy and geochemistry to vector toward deposits within advanced argillic-altered rocks. Scholarship recipient Gabrielle Jones presents new zircon geochemistry that will help characterize the magmatic evolution and mineral potential of northern Hogem batholith. Switching from papers with a mineral-exploration theme to work that supports responsible natural-resource development, scholarship recipient Anne-Martine Doucet describes research into potential methods to measure carbon dioxide fluxes between the atmosphere and mine tailings containing ultramafic minerals, which relates to the Carbon Mineralization Potential Assessment for BC project. Two papers describe ongoing research at Thompson Rivers University focused on biological studies to support improved mine reclamation in the South Central Region. The Biodiversity in Ecosystem Reclamation, Central Interior, British Columbia project paper details the response of invertebrates as a measure of examining reclamation success. The Soil Amendments in Mine Closure project considers changes in geochemical and microbial properties as they relate to depth in topsoil stockpiles. Finally, an update is provided on the Smithers Exploration Group Restoration of the Collection of the Cordilleran Rock Suites on the improvements to the Rock Room and getting their message out during the COVID-19 pandemic. Published Reports in 2020 Geoscience BC also released interim and final Geoscience BC reports and maps in 2020.