string(10) "[Minerals]"

Search Phase II: Airborne Magnetic and Radiometric Survey

Lead Researcher(s):  Sander Geophysics Ltd.

Project ID:  2016-SEA02

Key Research Organization(s):  Sander Geophysics Ltd.

Project Location:  Bulkley Nechako

Strategic Focus Area:  Minerals


The Search Phase II airborne magnetic and radiometric survey was flown in 2016, and data was released in January 2017. Covering a 24,000 km2 area of Northwest and North Central British Columbia, the budget for Search Phase II was $2.5 million. This project is Phase II of the Search program.

Research Statement

The Search II project was designed to:

  • Produce higher resolution regional magnetic and radiometric data for central BC, which can be used to modernize and update previous geological maps;
  • Highlight areas with potential for mineral (e.g. copper, silver, and molybdenum) deposits; and
  • Stimulate on-the-ground exploration activities that could lead to new mineral discoveries.


Although this area had been the focus of Geoscience BC’s QUEST-West project in 2008, regional magnetic surveying had not been conducted on some portions of the Search area since the 1960s.

The Search Phase II area is home to the former Bell-Granisle porphyry copper-gold mines and the idled Endako mine, one of the largest molybdenum mines in North America. Just beyond the survey’s border is the proposed Blackwater gold mine to the south and the Huckleberry copper mine to the southwest.

The project area is directly adjacent to similar airborne magnetic surveys conducted through Geoscience BC’s Search Phase I and TREK projects and overlaps airborne electromagnetic and gravity surveys conducted through Geoscience BC’s QUEST-West project.

Location Details

The survey covered a 24,000 km2 area – more than double the size of Jamaica – extending north to Pathway Lake and south to Ootsa Lake and east-west from Fort Fraser to Smithers.


The survey was flown by Ottawa-based Sander Geophysics Ltd.   Three Cessna aircraft were flown along parallel lines spaced 250 m apart, to provide more precise data about the region’s geology than was previously available.

The aircraft were equipped with sensitive magnetometers, which recorded local disturbances in the Earth’s magnetic field that are caused by magnetic minerals in the upper regions of the Earth’s crust.

Data packages and maps of the results were released to the public for mineral explorers to use and pursue further. The survey did pick up some geological anomalies that may indicate the potential for undiscovered copper, silver, and molybdenum deposits.