This project examines the chemical and textural characteristics of apatite and titanite minerals in rocks that host porphyry copper deposits, to identify features that are common to rocks formed under 'copper-friendly' conditions.
British Columbia is Canada's largest copper producer and currently exports about one million tonnes of copper concentrate each year from seven mines. Finding additional deposits to mine will help BC keep up with forecast increases in global copper demand.
Apatite and titanite are common accessory minerals in felsic intrusive rocks that host porphyry Cu (-Au, Mo) deposits. The batholiths studied in this project host copper porphyries, including the Highland Valley mine, Woodjam camp and Gibraltar mine, and are therefore considered 'porphyry-fertile plutons'.The relationship between formation processes and ore deposits like copper porphyries has long been the focus of ore deposit research, but past studies have generally concentrated on the local deposit scale. This project looked at processes on the regional district to batholith scale to identify features of enhanced prospectivity, which has not been previously documented in BC.A total of 581 apatite grains and 689 titanite grains from 41 samples representing various phases of each batholith were analyzed for major and trace elements. The analysis identified their unique geological characteristics and developed exploration tools for subsequent identification of new fertile plutons in BC.
Geoscience BC co-hosted an online webinar with MDRU – Mineral Deposit Research Unit on October 21, 2020 to discuss a series of research projects that show the potential to identify buried porphyry deposits from till or bedrock samples near the surface in British Columbia.