Newsletter of the Mineral Deposit Research Unit at UBC

November 2011

New Project Opportunities

MDRU is initiating several new and exciting collaborative research projects with industry for 2012 and beyond. We are looking for indications of interest from those companies who wish to consider participating. In particular we are planning to expand our successful "PIMS-Porphyry Indicator Minerals" project to include industry participants, follow-up with a second and expanded phase of the "Turkey-Tethyan Metallogeny Project", and to initiate a new "Carbonate Alteration Footprints" project to take advantage of newly developed in-house analytical technologies. Additionally, the next phase of the "Carbon Sequestration in Mine Wastes" project will go forward in 2012, and we will have a project on "Gold Grain Characterization" to supplement work we've been doing with placer gold geochemistry. As always, we are keen to start new projects related to "Kimberlites, Xenoliths & Diamonds". Lastly, we still have a couple of spots left for participants in our "Colombia Gold & Porphyry Project". We look forward to working with those interested companies in developing objects that will frame the final proposals. Read More.

New Researchers, Students & Projects

Luis Carlos Mantilla Figueroa

Luis Carlos Mantilla Figueroa - Post-Doctoral Fellow

Luis joins MDRU as a Post-doctoral Fellow for the next year to contribute to the MDRU Colombia Gold & Porphyry Project. Luis is a Professor of Mineral Deposits at the Industrial University of Santander (UIS) in Bucaramanga City, Santander, Colombia. He received his Master of Science from the Geologo- Razviedochnii Institut 'Sergo Odzhoniquidze', Moscow and his PhD from the Complutense University in Madrid, Spain, in the field of igneous and metamorphic processes.


Britt Bluemel

Britt Bluemel - MSc Candidate

Britt is starting her MSc project by researching REE Biogeochemical Signatures of Rare Earth Element and Zirconium Mineralization, Norra Karr deposit, southern Sweden with support from Tasman Minerals and ioGlobal, and supervisory input from Colin Dunn. Britt previously worked with Barrick Gold, the BC Geological Survey and ioGlobal with experience in 1:25,000 bedrock mapping, geochemical surveying & interpretation. Britt enjoys frosty pints, outdoor enthusiasm, and clean data, though not necessarily in that order.


Lauren Greenlaw

Lauren Greenlaw - MSc Candidate

Lauren is studying the Lithogeochemical Footprint of the Relincho Porphyry System, Chile. The MSc project is supported by Teck. Lauren completed her geology undergraduate degree at Queen's University and has been worked previously for AngloAmerican, Teck and Acme Analytical, mostly as a geochemist.


Eri Looby

Erin Looby - MSc Candidate

Erin also started her MSc program in September and will research Controls on High-Grade Ores in the Blackwater Gold Deposit, BC. The project was initiated with Richfield Ventures and is now supported by NewGold. Erin received her BSc from UBC in 2008 and previously worked in grassroots geothermal resource exploration, volcanic monitoring at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, and with the USGS. Other interests include traveling, being outside and dance parties.


Brian McNulty

Brian McNulty - MSc Candidate

Brian has entered the MSc program at MDRU to work on the deformed Niblack Cu-Au-Zn-Ag VMS in southeast Alaska with support from Heatherdale Resources. The project will include a geometallurgical component and supervision from Dr Melissa Gregory. Brian is a resident of Alaska. He completed his under graduate degree in economic geology at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks in 2007. Prior to arriving at MDRU he worked on the Pebble porphyry deposit in southwest Alaska.


Mike Tucker

Mike Tucker - MSc Candidate

Mike's MSc project is the Characterization of "Carlin-like" Gold Mineralization in the Conrad Zone, Nadaleen Belt, Yukon. This exciting project is funded by ATAC Resources. Mike previously completed his BSc at Laurentian University in 2010 and worked for QuadraFNX mining, then for Caracle Creek International Consulting.

MDRU Corporate Members will be hearing more of the activities and publications of these researchers and their projects.

Honours BSc Students

MDRU welcomes five Honours BSc students who will be writing research projects as part of their final year at UBC:

  • Thuvendran Ganason - Forward 3D Synthetic Inversion Modeling; with Craig Hart & Doug Oldenberg (supervisors)
  • Roy Greig - Volcanic Stratigraphy at Tarachi Gold deposit, Sonora, Mexico; with Thomas Bissig & Craig Hart (supervisors)
  • Stacie Jones - Geology and Metallogeny of Black Hill Creek, Yukon; with Jim Mortensen & Murray Allan (supervisors)
  • Chelsea Raley; Petrography of Epithermal to Porphyry Transition Veins, Colombia; Thomas Bissig (supervisor)
  • Gareth Wolf - Quartz Geochemistry of Klondike Orogenic Gold Veins; Murray Allan & Shaun Barker (supervisors)

MDRU Students Win Scholarships!

2011 Society of Economic Geologists Awards

The SEG Foundation Graduate Student Fellowships in Economic Geology have been awarded to:

  • Benjamin Hames, MSc - $10,000 Newmont Scholar
  • Lindsay McClenaghan, MSc - $10,000 Barrick Scholar
  • Tim Wrighton, MSc - $5,000 Gold Fields Scholar

Alberto Terrones L. Fund awards are to provide financial support to students from Latin American countries that are pursuing graduate studies for a M.Sc. or Ph.D. degree in the United States or Canada. The sole recipient is:

  • Alfonso Rodriguez-Madrid, $4,000, MSc; La Bodega and La Mascota prospects, Santander, Colombia.

Congratulations Alfonso. Previous MDRU winners of this award include Tatiana Alva and Jaime Poblete.

SEGF Canada Foundation Awards support study of Canadian mineral deposits or mineralized regions, research at Canadian universities, or Canadian students studying at foreign universities. Recipients from MDRU include:

  • Esther Bordet, $4,000, PhD; Metallogeny of the Nechako region, BC, Canada.
  • Abdul Razique, $3,000, PhD; Reko Diq porphyry Cu-Au deposit, Chagai District, Pakistan.
  • Evan Smith, $3,500, PhD; Fluid inclusions in gem-quality and industrial-grade diamonds.

2011 Geoscience BC Scholarship

Geoscience BC recently announced the awarding of eight scholarships for $5000 to students across North America. Successful applicants from MDRU are:

  • Esther Bordet, PhD student, Nechako Eocene Volcanism and Metallogeny
  • Erin Looby, MSc student, Blackwater-Davidson Gold Deposit
  • Lindsay McClenaghan, MSc student, Newton Gold Deposit

Thesis Completions!

Congratulations to Dr. Reza Tafti for the successful completion of his defense "Metallogeny, Geochronology and Tectonic Setting of the Gangdese Belt, Southern Tibet, China". This project was sponsored by Continental Gold. Reza has recently accepted a position at BCIT (British Columbia Institute of Technology).

Also, congratulations to Tatiana Alva on the successful completion of her MSc thesis "Variation in Hydrothermal Muscovite and Chlorite Composition in the Highland Valley Porphyry Cu-Mo District, British Columbia, Canada".

Shawn Hood is next up and will be defending his dissertation on the Minto Cu-Au Deposit, Yukon on Nov. 4, 2011

The UBC SEG Student Chapter

SEG group at Myra Falls, Vancouver Island

The UBC SEG Student Chapter continues to provide many exciting activities for its members. Earlier in 2011 the chapter ran three field trips; a major trip to the Major Ore Deposits of the Yilgarn Craton of Western Australia; an trip touring the key geological and ore deposit features of the NW USA; and a short, four-day trip to investigate Sicker Group and VMS potential on Vancouver Island. Since September this year a weekend trip to Myra Falls VMS deposit on Vancouver Island was run and attended by 11 students (photo at left). Several short-courses are being organized for the coming months including; a tour of the ACME laboratories; a structural geology course to be run by SRK Consulting; and a geochemistry software course by ioGlobal. Finally, the Student Chapter would like to announce that our 2012 International Field Trip will be to the Republic of the Philippines! This trip will focus on Cu-Au porphyry systems but will also include low-sulphidation epithermal gold as well as chromium deposits. This is exciting news and a call for industry participants will be forthcoming.

Fluid Inclusion Laboratory … in High Definition

Fluid Inclusions

MDRU's fluid inclusion facility recently received a boost, with the arrival of a new high-resolution digital video and visualization system to complement its high-quality microscope and heating-freezing equipment. The facility is designed for fluid inclusion analysis in the temperature range -196°C to 600°C which makes it suitable for fluid inclusions in almost all ore deposit environments. The optical system also transmits and detects light at near-infrared wavelengths, allowing users to detect and analyze fluid inclusions in some opaque minerals such as enargite, chalcocite, stibnite, molybdenite, and wolframite. For more information about the fluid inclusion facility, contact Murray Allan.

Upcoming Events

PER Diagram

Alteration Geochemistry Workshop – 17 & 18 November, UBC Vancouver
In conjunction with the CEMI (Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation), MDRU will be hosting a workshop on "Lithogeochemical Tools for Interpreting Alteration" to teach participants how to evaluate alteration using lithogeochemisty. This is a hands-on course and participants are encouraged to bring their own laptops and data. There are reduced registration costs for MDRU Corporate Members.
Information and registration forms.

Yukon Geoscience Forum, 19-23 November, Whitehorse, Yukon
MDRU will be well represented at this meeting. We will be holding a Yukon Gold Project technical meeting (sponsors only), but the students will also be presenting posters on their research activities. We will also be in the core shack showing off our rocks. In addition, we will also be presenting ...

Massive Realgar in core

Footprints of Carlin Hydrothermal Systems Short Course – 19 November, Whitehorse, Yukon
In light of the increased prominence of Carlin-style mineralization in Yukon, MDRU are happy to present findings from past research projects on Carlin systems in Nevada at the Yukon Geoscience Forum.
Information and registration forms.

Northwest Mining Association Conference, 30 November - 2 December, Reno, Nevada
MDRU will have a booth at the Northwest Mining Association Conference in Reno and look forward to meeting up with our industry sponsors down there!

Exploration Geochemistry Short Course – 21 & 22 January, RoundUp Vancouver
MDRU will be presenting a two-day short course on Exploration Geochemistry at the RoundUp 2012 conference in Vancouver.  Presenters will include: Dave Lawie – ioGlobal, Dave Heberlein-Consultant, Mary Doherty-ALS Minerals, Karen Kelley-USGS, Chris Benn-Goldfields, Colin Dunn-Consultant.   The focus will be on elemental transport in surficial materials, detection and processes, and will include a mix of basic fundamentals, new techniques and case studies.  Registration information is through the RoundUp website.  MDRU Members are encouraged to register early because past experience shows that the course will sell out.  There are reduced registration costs for MDRU Corporate Members. 
More information at MDRU. Registration is through the AMEBC Round Up website

KXD - Kimberlites, Xenoliths & Diamonds

Kimberlite thin section image

UBC's Diamond Exploration and Volcanology laboratories are open to new collaborations with industry sponsors to study kimberlites, kimberlite-derived mantle xenoliths or diamonds. Kimberlite-specific studies of volcanic facies can constrain a geological model of the pipe which is essential for accurate resource estimates and mine planning. Petrographic and thermobarometric studies of mantle xenoliths can assess diamond potential by mapping the "diamond window" below the kimberlite. Diamond research can also constrain the parent rock for the diamonds to provide customized exploration methods that use indicator minerals for specific areas. MDRU has a long history of collaborative KXD research projects. Check out for current and previous projects.

MDRU Porphyry Footprints Technical Meeting

John Dilles with map

The Final (year 3) MDRU Porphyry Footprints Technical Meeting was held in Butte, Montana in mid-Sept.  The meeting included a regional tour of the extensive variations in the Butte alteration footprint.  Results of the research was presented by John Dilles, Scott Halley, and Richard Tosdal to the assembled industry sponsors.  The results from MSc theses by Tatiana Alva (MDRU), Julia Cohen (OSU) were also incorporated.  The meeting also included a workshop on using ioGas software to interrogate the data from the project.

This project was sponsored by Barrick Gold Corp., BHP Billiton Ltd., Teck Resources Ltd., Freeport-McMcoRan Exploration Corp. and Vale Exploration Canada Inc.

Recently Published

Bordet, E., Hart, C. and Mitchinson, D., 2011, Preliminary lithological and structural framework of Eocene volcanic rocks in the Nechako Region, central British Columbia, Geoscience BC Report 2011-13.

Esther in the field

This report presents the preliminary interpretations of an ongoing PhD thesis project by Esther Bordet. The report documents new mapping and proposes an improved stratigraphic and structural model for the Eocene period in the Nechako Basin. Characterization of the nature, thickness and structural framework of Eocene volcanic rocks in the Nechako region provides new insights into the area's Early Cenozoic history and will provide a more robust framework for future mineral and oil & gas exploration in the Nechako region. For more information on this project go to

Barker, S.L.L, Dipple, G.M., Dong, F. and Baer, D.S., 2011, Use of laser spectroscopy to measure the 13C/12C and 18O/16O compositions of carbonate minerals, Analytical Chemistry, 83 (6), pp 2220–2226.

Wainwright, A.J., Tosdal, R.M., Wooden, J.L., Mazdab, F.K. and Friedman, R.M., 2011, U-Pb (zircon) and geochemical constraints on the age, origin, and evolution of Paleozoic arc magmas in the Oyu Tolgoi porphyry Cu-Au district, southern Mongolia, Gondwana Research 19, p. 764-787. March 2011

Wilson, S.A., Dipple, G.M., Power, I.M., Barker, S.L.L., Fallon, S.J., and Southam, G., 2011, Subarctic weathering of mineral wastes provides a sink for atmospheric CO2, Environmental Science & Technology 2011, 45, 7727–7736.

Allan, M.A., Morrison, G.W., and Yardley, B.W.D., 2011, Physicochemical evolution of a porphyry-breccia system: A laser ablation ICP-MSsStudy of fluid inclusions in the Mount Leyshon Au Deposit, Queensland, Australia, Economic Geology v. 106, p. 413-436.

Mair, J.L., G. Farmer, G.L., Groves, D.I., Hart, C.J.R. and Goldfarb, R.J., 2011, Petrogenesis of postcollisional magmatism at Scheelite Dome, Yukon, Canada: Evidence for a lithospheric mantle source for magmas associated with intrusion-related gold systems, Economic Geology v. 106, p. 451-480.

Xu, J., Hart, C.J.R., Wang, L., Chu, H., Lin, L. and Wei, X., 2011, Carbonic fluid overprints in volcanogenic massive sulfide deposits: Examples from the Kelan Volcanosedimentary Basin, Altaides, China, Economic Geology v. 106, p. 145-155.

MDRU Corporate Members Page

Results from some past research projects, as well as publications, abstracts, posters and slide presentations by MDRU researchers are posted on the MDRU Members Area of our website. These materials are for use by MDRU Corporate Members and this part of the website is password-protected. Any members having difficulty accessing the site are encouraged to contact Arne Toma.

The following abstracts and presentations have recently been posted.

IAGS 2011-International Applied Geochemistry Symposium, Rovaniemi, Finland

  • Farhad Bouzari, Craig J.R. Hart, Shaun Barker, and Thomas Bissig - Exploration for Concealed Deposits using Porphyry Indicator Minerals (PIMs): Application of Apatite Texture and Chemistry
  • Fred Blaine and Craig Hart - Geochemical Exploration Models for BC Porphyry Deposits
  • Britt Bluemel, Colin Dunn, Craig Hart, Mark Saxon - Biogeochemical Signatures and Relationships to Rare Earth Element and Zirconium Mineralization at the Norra Kärr Deposit, Southern Sweden

SGA 2011 - Society for Geology Applied to Mineral Deposits, Antofagasta, Chile

  • Murray M. Allan and Bruce W. D. Yardley - Application of O-isotopes, trace elements, and cathodoluminescence in quartz to hydrothermal ore settings
  • Tatiana Alva-Jimenez, Richard M. Tosdal, Greg Dipple, Scott Halley and John H. Dilles - Variation in hydrothermal muscovite composition around the Valley porphyry Cu-Mo deposit, Highland Valley district, British Columbia, Canada
  • Thomas Bissig, Santiago Vaca, Craig J.R. Hart, Shaun L.L. Barker - Variations in the Late Triassic Nicola arc and the tectonic environment of alkalic porphyry Cu-Au mineralization, Quesnel Terrane, British Columbia, Canada
  • Esther Bordet, Craig J.R. Hart and Lindsay McClenaghan - Epithermal-style Au-Ag mineralization in Cretaceous to Eocene felsic volcanic complexes, central British Columbia, western Canada
  • Melissa Gregory and James Lang - Controls on Au deportment in the Pebble Cu-Au-Mo porphyry deposit, Alaska
  • Lindsay McClenaghan, Melissa Gregory, Craig J.R. Hart and Mark Rebagliati - Alteration Mineral Associations in the Newton Gold Deposit , British Columbia
  • Peter J. MacDonald, Thomas Bissig, Craig J.R. Hart, Jorge Barreno and Franklin Viera - The hydrothermal evolution of the Quimsacocha high sulfidation Au-Ag-Cu deposit, Azuay Province, Ecuador
  • Jessica R. Norris, Craig J.R. Hart, Richard M. Tosdal and Chris Rees - Mineralization and alteration at the Red Chris Cu-Au porphyry deposit, British Columbia, Canada
  • Jaime Poblete, Thomas Bissig, Manuel Rodríguez, Richard Friedman, Janet Gabites and James K. Mortensen - The Cerro Bayo epithermal Ag-Au district, Chilean Patagonia: 34 million years in the making

A Final Note... Karie Smith is Getting Married!

As some of you might already know, Karie, MDRU's long suffering Financial Officer, is off to Turkey this week to tie the knot! All of us at MDRU wish the very best to Karie and Yunis in their upcoming nuptials. Congrats guys!

MDRU - Mineral Deposit Research Unit - The University of British Columbia
6339 Stores Road, Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z4 / Ph. 604.822.6136 / Fax 604.822.6088 / /

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