Central Interior Copper-Gold Research

Key Researcher(s):  D. MitchinsonArrayW. Jackaman; D. Sacco

Project ID(s):  2018-047, 2018-050

Key Research Organization(s):  Noble Exploration Services Ltd.; Palmer, University of British Columbia - MDRU

Project Location:  Central Interior, North Central and South Central

Strategic Focus Area:  Minerals


Central Interior Copper-Gold Research (CICGR) is a major multi-year Geoscience BC series of collaborative minerals earth science projects in British Columbia between the Mount Polley (Quesnel) and Gibraltar (Williams Lake) mines in the south, and the Mount Milligan (Mackenzie) mine in the north. It is designed to highlight potential mineral deposits buried under glacial deposits in order to focus mineral exploration, attract investment and assist more informed natural resource decisions.



Central Interior Copper-Gold Research: Surficial Exploration Project

This project is generating new data about the layers of sediments deposited by glaciers (e.g. till) found in an area between the Mount Polley (Quesnel), and Gibraltar (Williams Lake) and Mount Milligan (Mackenzie) mines to provide a framework that can be used to trace till samples and geochemical anomalies back to their source, which may help to identify areas of potential mineral exploration interest.

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Identification of New Porphyry Potential Under Cover in Central British Columbia

Project Update – January 2023

Analytical results and a report for the regional subglacial till sampling and research have been published. These results infill dataset gaps identified during the reassessment of historic sample datasets. New geochemical and mineralogical analysis from over 1,500 samples combined with previously published surficial geology maps provide an improved understanding of the region’s mineral potential.

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Project Update – April 2022

While the analytical work is being completed for research on the southern section of the study area, the maps for this area have been published.

There are Surficial Geology, Drift Thickness and Till Sampling Suitability Maps for NTS map sheets: 093A/13; and 093G/01, 07, 09, 10, 16.

Project Update – July 2021

The Geoscience BC team provided a brief update and high-level overview of the CICGR program and its two current projects:

• CICGR: Surficial Exploration Project: interim report, planned fieldwork for 2021 and next steps
• Identification of New Porphyry Potential Under Cover in Central British Columbia: project update

This online community open house was designed for communities, Indigenous groups, government staff, the mineral exploration sector and others interested in minerals research in central BC. More detailed, technical updates on each project will be organized when each project completes.

Project Update – April 2021

Geoscience BC researchers provided an update on the latest research from the Central Interior Copper-Gold Research (CICGR) project series as part of the 2021 Kamloops Exploration Group (KEG) Technical Talk Lunch Series on April 27, 2021. Dianne Mitchinson, Research Associate at the University of British Columbia’s Mineral Deposit Research Unit (MDRU), and Dave Sacco, Senior Surficial Exploration Specialist at Palmer, provided updates on their CICGR projects.

View Dave Sacco, Palmer Presentation

View Dianne Mitchinson, MDRU Presentation

Research Statement

The Quesnel terrane is a distinct package of rocks that runs roughly northwest-southeast across the province and hosts significant copper-gold deposits. In the CICGR area, the Quesnel terrane is buried under thick glacial deposits. With the Mount Milligan copper-gold mine to the north and the Gilbratar and Mount Polley mines to the south, it is believed that similar mineral deposits may be hidden below the glacial deposits between these mines.

CICGR is made up of coordinated projects designed to characterize the nature of these glacial deposits including their genetic variability, depth to bedrock, chemistry, and origin. This is being accomplished through surficial mapping and sampling, geophysical interpretation, drilling and other techniques.

The information generated is contributing to understanding the region’s geology and mineral potential. It will provide data that can be used by the mineral exploration sector, governments, communities and Indigenous groups to more effectively focus attention on economic mineral exploration and development.


Parts of the Quesnel terrane to the north and south of the project area host significant copper and gold deposits, and it is likely that undiscovered mineral deposits exist beneath the glacial deposits in the project area.

Understanding the characteristics and composition of the glacial deposits and the geophysical response of the underlying bedrock will assist in understanding regional mineral potential and will help to focus mineral exploration. Mineral exploration companies, communities, Indigenous groups and governments can use this public earth science information for planning and attracting investment.