MDRU News

Newsletter of the Mineral Deposit Research Unit at UBC

September 2011

MDRU Announces Four New Foundation Members

Four companies have decided to step up and more fully support MDRU as Foundation Members. The MDRU Board of Directors are happy to announce that ALS Minerals, Eldorado Gold Corp., Kinross Gold Corp. and Silver Quest Resources have joined with AngloAmerican, Barrick Gold, Goldcorp and Teck Resources as MDRU Foundation Members.

Foundation Memberships provide MDRU with additional funding to more fully deliver on its mandate of research, student training and professional development. In addition, these Foundation Member companies comprise MDRU's Board of Directors who determine the strategic direction of the unit. MDRU Corporate Members can be invited to become a Foundation Member. If you are interested in stepping up, please contact MDRU Director Craig Hart, or any of the current members of the Board of Directors. Click here for membership details.

Craig Hart welcomes guests at the hospitality suite at RoundUp2011 and introduces the four new Foundation members

(Photo caption) MDRU Director Craig Hart announcing new Foundation Members to more than 100 friends of MDRU at the RoundUp Reception during the 2011 AMEBC Round Up.

New Colombia Gold & Porphyry Project

Breccia textures - La Bodega

Colombia is amongst the hottest of hot spots on the gold and porphyry exploration landscape these days. Following on from early sponsorship from Ventana and Greystar to research the California District, MDRU recently kicked off a full "Colombia Gold and Porphyry Project" with start-up meetings in Bogota and Medellin. The project is off and running, and so far has six industry sponsors, but additional sponsors are welcome. Contact Thomas Bissig (tbissig@eos.ubc.ca) for additional information or a full project proposal.

Two New Researchers and Two New Projects!

Henrik Friis

Henrik Friis, Post-Doctoral Fellow – REE Mineralogy in Alkaline Intrusions

The mineralogy of REE deposits is critical in resource definition and recovery. Henrik brings his mineralogical expertise of REE minerals to a new MDRU project investigating the complex mineralogy of the REE-U-Zn ores of the Ilímaussaq Alkaline Complex, South Greenland. The project's objectives are to develop an interface between mineralogical and geochemical characteristics and metallurgical models. The ultimate goal is to quantitatively characterize the deposit's mineralogy to enhance REE recoveries. The project is sponsored by Greenland Minerals and Energy Ltd. of Perth, Australia.

Henrik comes to UBC following a Post Doctoral Fellowship at the Department of Geography & Geology, University of Copenhagen and School of Chemistry, University of Southampton. He received his PhD in 2009 from the School of Geography & Geosciences, University of St Andrews, UK upon completing his thesis entitled "Luminescence Spectroscopy of Natural and Synthetic REE-bearing Minerals". This research combined crystal structure with luminescence to document the subtle changes in structure and properties with increased REE content.

Melissa Gregory

Melissa Gregory, Research Associate – Geometallurgy of Gold Deposits

Melissa will spearhead a new two-year Geometallurgy of Gold research project. This multidisciplinary project will: (1) advance understanding of Au deportment in auriferous, multi-commodity porphyry and VMS mineral deposits; and (2) develop analytical methodologies to facilitate more widespread use of geometallurgy in the exploration and mining industry. The project will document and model the deportment, hydrothermal geochemistry and depositional controls of Au in low-grade gold, porphyry CU-Au, and Au-rich VMS deposits using a base of detailed core logging with QEMSCAN/MLA mineral mapping technology, in-situ LA-ICPMS analysis of sulfides, isotope geochemistry, fluid chemistry and shortwave infrared analyses. The project is a collaboration between Hunter Dickinson Inc. and MDRU, with support from ALS Minerals.

Melissa comes to MDRU after working with Northern Dynasty Minerals on the Pebble porphyry Cu-Au-Mo project where she was responsible for establishing geometallurgy protocols and generating 3D metallurgical models. Previously, Melissa was at the Colorado School of Mines and Monash University.

And a Familiar Face Returns

Karie Smith

Just in case you missed it, Karie Smith returned to MDRU after a nine-month leave of absence, which she spent traveling overseas, and living and working in Turkey. Karie continues to carry the ball by keeping the corporate and project finances and administration in good order.

Yukon Gold Project Gets a Million Dollar Boost

Yukon gold nuggets

MDRU is pleased to announce that its application for Collaborative Research and Development (CRD) funding from NSERC for its "Yukon Gold Project" has been successful. The total grant amount is $1,005,000, which includes $885,000 from NSERC's CRD program and $120,000 from the NRCan-GEM initiative. These funds were leveraged from cash and in-kind contributions from the project's industry sponsors and allows the project to move forward and fire on all cylinders.

The final project budget allows for the hiring of a Post-doctoral Fellow to tackle structural-geophysical interpretation at the regional and camp scales; (2) hiring of support for project management and GIS assistance; (3) scaling up of geochemical and geochronological analysis; (4) expanding the 2011 field program; (5) additional resources for the rental of field-portable equipment.

The Yukon Gold project is improving the geologic and metallogenic framework for gold exploration projects in the Dawson Range and White Gold District of the west-central Yukon. Project sponsors include: Aldrin Resource Corp., Barrick Gold Corp., Full Metal Minerals Corp., Gold Fields Canada Exploration, Kinross Gold Corp., Northern Freegold Resources Ltd., Radius Gold Inc., Silver Quest Resources Ltd., Taku Gold Corp., and Teck Resources Ltd.

The Yukon Gold Project supports four MSc students (Leif Bailey, David Cox, Greg Mackenzie, and Tim Wrighton), two BSc research projects, and is providing support to one PhD student (Witold Ciolkiewicz). The project is led by Craig Hart, Jim Mortensen, and Murray Allan.

Recently Completed Graduate Theses

Ayesha Ahmed, M.Sc., Beyond the confines of the ore deposit : mapping low temperature hydrothermal alteration above, within, and beneath Carlin-type Gold deposits - Ken Hickey, Supervisor

Rebecca-Ellen Farrell, M.Sc., Volcanic facies architecture of the Chilcotin Group basalts at Chasm Provincial Park, British Columbia - J. Kelly Russell, Supervisor

Janina Micko, Ph.D., The geology and genesis of the Central Zone alkalic copper-gold porphyry deposit, Galore Creek District, northwestern British Columbia, Canada - Dick Tosdal, Supervisor

Shelley Oliver, M.Sc., The Eastgate-Whipsaw metamorphic belt as Paleozoic underpinnings to the Nicola Group - J. Kelly Russell, Supervisor

Jaime Poblete, M.Sc., Geology, geochronology and structural reconstruction of the Cerro Bayo Epithermal District, Chilean Patagonia - Craig Hart and Thomas Bissig, Supervisors

Bram van Stratten, Ph.D., The eruption of kimberlite: Insights from the Victor North Kimberlite Pipes, northern Ontario, Canada - Maya Kopylova, Supervisor

EOSC531 Exploration Methodology Course

To provide graduate students with exposure to the business of exploration, MDRU Director Craig Hart and UBC Prof Jim Mortensen teamed up to orchestrate an Exploration Methodology graduate course that focuses on the mechanics of exploration with presentations on Exploration Targeting, Junior vs Major Exploration Strategies, Stock Market Financing, Mineral Economics, Legislative Framework, Advanced Property Evaluation, Exploration Game Changers, QA/QC, Innovations in Mining Technologies, Advanced Geochemical Exploration, and Corporate Social Responsibility. We have been fortunate to have invited presentations from across the industry including John-Mark Staude, Michael Doggett, Scott Dunbar, Jeff Wilson, Dave Heberlein, Alastair Sinclair, Gerry Carlson, Neil Adshead, John Thompson, and Bob Holland. Final student presentations required the development of a positive feasibility study of a porphyry copper project.

Mapping Field Courses

Yerington 2011 field mapping course

Yerington, Nevada was the site once again for the Yerington Field Mapping Course, where John Dilles and Richard Tosdal provided training to more than 30 industry geologists and graduate students. This week-long mapping course is also a joint University of British Columbia - University of Oregon credit course, and was oversubscribed despite being made available only to MDRU members. Thanks to Dick and John for running this again, for the eighth time!!

Copper Mountain 2011 field mapping course

Due to the enormous demand for mapping instruction, MDRU introduced a NEW Copper Mountain Field Mapping Course in southern BC. The week-long course was held in mid-May with Anthony Harris (CODES), Thomas Bissig, Murray Allan, Farhad Bouzari and Craig Hart leading about 25 industry and student participants through surface and pit mapping, and core logging exercises in and around the alkalic Copper Mountain porphyry system. A big high-five to Peter Holbek and Copper Mountain Mining Corp. for allowing us to access their property.

Short Courses

Short Course at the 2011 Round Up

MDRU sponsored a very successful "Porphyry Cu-Au Deposit Short Course" prior to this year's Round Up, with 220 attendees. Presentations started off with Jeremy Richards (University of Alberta) who provided the tectonic framework of such deposits, then followed on by John Dilles (University of Oregon) who explained the mineralization and alteration of these systems. Robert Loucks provided insights on the geochemical constraints of fertile magmatic systems, and Eric Seedorf (University of Arizona) gave an update on the nature and distribution of porphyry systems in the SW US. The two days were wrapped up by Claire Chamberlain (Teck Resources) who presented her highly anticipated overview of alkalic porphyry systems.

Short Course at the 2011 Round Up

The short course also provided rock and poster displays of porphyry deposits by (from left to right) Jessica Norris (Red Chris-BC), Farhad Bouzari (El Galeno-Peru), Abdul Razique (Reqo Dik-Pakistan) and Tatiana Alva (Highland Valley-BC).

MDRU also ran a "GIS Exploration Targeting" course in August. The course was led by Dr. Stephen Gardoll from Western Australia and utilized a range of GIS tools, weights of evidence and fuzzy logic approaches to data manipulation and exploration targeting. The course was sold out with 30 industry participants.

A Leap to 3D

In order to provide its students and members with exposure to 3D modeling, MDRU and Aranz Geo Ltd. provided a two-day introductory course on Leapfrog 3D software. Andy Abraham and Rob Ferguson of Aranz Geo Ltd. introduce "The next leap forward for 3D mineral exploration modelling..." The course was attended by 30 geologists and graduate students, and organized with help from Post-Doctoral Fellow Shaun Barker.

It's a GAS

IoGAS plot example

The SEG UBC student chapter hosted Rob Wall and Britt Bluemel of IoGlobal Solutions Inc. to provide an introduction to their ioGAS software program. IoGAS is a geochemical analysis tool designed specifically for mineral exploration datasets, which facilitates quick and detailed evaluations of geochemical data. Graduate students were introduced to all aspects of the program and were encouraged to experiment with their own datasets. Technical explanations of the various statistical tools was provided, as well as a "geochemist's perspective" on analyzing data. The students recognized the potential use of the program for their own research, and for use in industry. Because of the positive response, a second session was organized which attracted an additional tranche of graduate students.

Alteration Rocks

MDRU and the UBC SEG Student Chapter recently hosted Anne Thompson of PetraScience Consulting Inc. for a lecture on spectroscopy applied to mineral exploration. Anne is a consultant specializing in alteration mapping of hydrothermal deposits, and is the co-author of the "Atlas of Alteration", a field and petrographic guide to hydrothermal alteration minerals. Anne presented spectral analysis techniques and case studies from her consulting experiences, and demonstrated the applications of spectral analysis to exploration, grade control, and mineral identification. She also highlighted the importance of applying spectral analysis in combination with other tools, such as whole rock geochemistry, petrography, and good old-fashioned study of hand samples and drill core. The presentation meshes well with the research activities of most MDRU students who are utilizing SWIR and XRD data in their alteration studies. Like all good things, beer and pizza followed.

Visiting Speakers

MDRU was very fortunate to have several top tier speakers drop by UBC to present their latest research. Steve Scott (University of Toronto) presented "Seafloor massive sulfide mining - The dawning of a new industry". Wayne Barnett (SRK Consulting) was invited to present "Structural Controls on Kimberlite" to the SEG Student Chapter and others. Steve Beresford (Chief Geologist, MMG) presented "How Do You Know You Are In A World Class Ni Camp?" and in late March, Robert Creaser (University of Alberta) presented "Re-Os Geochronology of Hydrothermal Sulfide Minerals: A Review of Recent Discoveries, Successes and Failures". Finally Alfredo Bernasconi (Ventana Minerals) presented on the La Mascota/La Bodega epithermal gold deposits in Colombia. Thanks not only to the presenters, but to the many industry geologists that attended.

Mineral Deposit Research Unit (MDRU) - The University of British Columbia
6339 Stores Road, Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z4 / Ph. 604.822.6136 / Fax 604.822.6088 / mdru@eos.ubc.ca / www.mdru.ubc.ca

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