string(10) "[Minerals]"

Search Phase III: Airborne Magnetic and Radiometric Survey

Lead Researcher(s):  CGG Canada Services Ltd.

Project ID:  2017-SEA02

Key Research Organization(s):  CGG Canada Services Ltd.

Project Location:  Omineca

Strategic Focus Area:  Minerals


Search Phase III, a regional constant height airborne magnetic and radiometric survey was flown in 2017, with data released to the public in 2018. The survey covered a 9,600 km2 remote area of North Central and Northeast British Columbia from the Kemess Underground mine project in the north to approximately 150 km northwest of Mackenzie. The budget for Search Phase III was $1.7 million, with approximately 30% of the budget spent locally. The project was partially funded by the Northern Development Initiative Trust.

This project is Phase III (final phase) of the Search program.

Research Statement

The Search Phase III airborne magnetic and radiometric survey was conducted using helicopters flying a terrain contouring 80 m above the ground. This is much lower than is common in public regional surveys and required significant pilot skill — resulting in high quality data.

The Search III 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 hidden mineral (e.g. copper, silver, and molybdenum) deposits; and
  • Stimulate on-the-ground exploration activities that could lead to new mineral discoveries.


Regional magnetic surveying had not been conducted on parts of the survey area since the 1960s. Technology and accuracy has improved significantly since then.

The Search Phase III survey included the northernmost geological extent of the Quesnel and Cache Creek terranes, as well as part of the Stikine terrane. The northern end of the Hogem Plutonic Suite also is within the survey boundary. Mineral exploration projects located within the survey area include Kemess East, Kliyul, Lorraine and Sustut.

The project area is adjacent to the joint BC Geological Survey – Geological Survey of Canada completed in 2003 (BCGS Open File 2004-8 / GSC Open File 4612).

Location Details

The approximate centre of the Search Phase III survey area is 250 km north of Fort St. James, 225 km northwest of Mackenzie, 200 km northeast of Smithers and 325 km west of Fort St. John.


Search Phase III field activities began in early July 2017 after a contract was awarded to Ontario-based CGG Canada Services Ltd. The survey was flown at 250 m line spacing using two helicopters fitted with the proprietary Midas horizontal-gradient multisensor package for magnetic surveying and acquired data at a nominal 80 m terrain-contouring height.

The survey also collected radiometric data as a secondary priority: flights were optimized for magnetic-data collection and not altered where radiometric data were expected to be compromised (e.g. rain-saturated ground). The survey was completed in early November 2017 and data was published in January 2018.

The Search Phase III summary report, digital magnetic and radiometric data and survey maps are all available to view and download below. Data is also available to view using the Earth Science Viewer, where it can be compared alongside other data such as mineral tenures.

Search Phase III Video

Learn more about the Search Phase III program, the aircrafts used and how the results will be beneficial to the exploration sector.