string(10) "[Minerals]"

Search Phase I: Airborne Magnetic Survey

Lead Researcher(s):  Precision GeoSurveys Inc.

Project ID:  2015-SEA03

Key Research Organization(s):  Precision GeoSurveys Inc.

Project Location:  Skeena

Strategic Focus Area:  Minerals


The Search Phase I airborne magnetic survey was flown in 2015, covering a 6,700 km2 area between Terrace, Kitimat and Smithers in British Columbia’s Northwest Region. At the time, Search Phase I was the most detailed regional airborne magnetic survey ever flown in the region. Final products were released in January 2016. The project supported new mineral exploration work in the area and enabled new geological mapping and interpretative work by the University of British Columbia’s Mineral Deposit Research Unit and BC Geological Survey staff, with support from Geoscience BC. The budget for Search Phase I was $750,000. The entire program was based out of Terrace using local goods and services. This project is Phase I of the Search program.

Research Statement

The Search Phase I survey was designed to bring Geoscience BC’s new standard of 250 m line-spaced airborne magnetic surveys (e.g. QUEST-Northwest, Northern Vancouver Island) to BC’s west-central interior. The survey created an opportunity for new geological interpretations at a property-scale for mineral exploration, as well as provided regional-scale coverage to further the understanding of the geology of the area.


Search Phase I focused on the Skeena Arch, which bridges the span between the highly prospective Stikine and Quesnel terranes. Several former mines, such as Huckleberry, Endako, Bell-Granisle and Equity Silver are located within the Skeena Arch. Regional magnetic surveys had not been conducted on some portions of the Search Phase I area since the 1960s, and technology and accuracy has improved significantly since then.

The project area is directly adjacent to the similar airborne magnetic survey conducted for the Search Phase II project, and overlaps airborne electromagnetic and gravity surveys conducted as part of Geoscience BC’s QUEST-West program.

Location Details

The Search Phase I survey covered 6,700 km2 between Terrace, Kitimat and Smithers in BC’s Northwest Region.

Results & Outcomes

Field activity began in August 2015, and the project was officially launched in September of that year at an event in Terrace. A contract was awarded to Vancouver-based Precision GeoSurveys Inc., who used a stinger-mounted helicopter flying a fixed height drape over the land surface. The survey plan consisted of east-west trending flight lines spaced 250 m apart, with north-south tie lines specified at 2,500 m intervals. The total flight line distance, including tie lines, was 29,821 km. The survey was completed in early November 2015, with data published in January 2016.