Till Geochemistry and Lithogeochemical Exploration for Concealed KimberlitesKelvin Lake, Northwest Territories
Exploration for kimberlites in glacial till covered northern areas requires considerable effort to understand glacial histories and the effort, cost and complexities of collecting, analyzing and interpreting indicator mineral data. More direct recognition of kimberlite locations through glacial till with geochemical methods could potentially make kimberlite discovery cheaper, faster and more confident.
Discovery of Concealed Kimberlites with Microbial Community FingerprintingNorthwest Territories
With the advent of inexpensive modern sequencing technology and big-data techniques, microbiological approaches to exploration are becoming more quantitative, cost effective, and efficient. MDRU and collaborators aim to develop and utilize this technology to recognize desirable rock units buried beneath transported overburden to inform mineral exploration decision-making and discovery.
Exploration Geochemistry InitiativeBritish Columbia, Northwest Territories, Chile
MDRU's Exploration Geochemistry Initiative provides leadership and resources to implement a five-year program to significantly increase the amount and quality of research and training in the discipline of mineral exploration geochemistry.
MDRU Geometallurgy InitiativeWorldwide
MDRU’s Geometallurgy Initiative will develop and implement a range of collaborative research opportunities, strategies, and projects with industry partners to characterise and quantify variability in orebody parameters that relate to the mining value chain. We will provide the leadership required to facilitate a new era in geometallurgical research, training, and education in this rapidly developing field. We collaborate closely with the UBC NBK Mining Engineering group who have strengths in rock breakage and mine-to-mill integration.
Assessing BC Porphyry Fertility with ZirconsBritish Columbia
Zircons are a useful tool for distinguishing metal-fertile from barren plutons when exploring for porphyry copper deposits, particularly in British Columbia where many porphyry systems occur within or proximal to the edges of large batholiths. This project will develop an exploration tool that utilizes the textures and geochemistry of zircon grains to evaluate the fertility of British Columbia's plutons and batholiths for hosting/generating porphyry copper deposits.
Western Tethyan Metallogeny Project, Phase 2Romania, Serbia, Bulgaria, Kosovo, Macedonia, Turkey, Georgia
The second phase of the Western Tethyan Metallogeny Project is establishing a geologic and exploration framework that will improve Cu/Au/Zn discovery success rates in Eastern Europe and Western Asia. Geologic maps, geochronology/geochemistry databases and metallogenic frameworks are being delivered, directly impacting area selection. Eight major/mid-tier mining companies are benefiting from the pragmatic geoscience provided by the WT2 project in this highly-endowed, under-explored belt.
MDRU-GIF Geophysical Toolkit for GeologistsBritish Columbia, Canada
the MDRU-GIF Geophysical Toolkit for Geologists is a resource being developed to provide an easy entryway for geoscientists to explore magnetic and other geophysical data.
Carbonate Alteration Footprints of Hydrothermal Ore SystemsPeru; Nevada, Washington, USA; British Columbia, Canada
MDRU are global leaders in understanding and exploring for hydrothermal ore systems in carbonate-rich regions. Our researchers have developed new techniques and tools, such as our Mineral Isotope Analyser (MDRU-MIA), which helps us map hydrothermal alteration footprints around a wide variety of ore deposits. Furthermore, we are developing methods to maximize its application as a mineral exploration tool.
Regional Metallogeny and Geochemistry of ColombiaColombia
Colombia's mineral resource wealth is well-recognized and its potential to host world-class mineral deposits is supported by recent discoveries, such as La Colosa, Nuevo Chaquiro, Santa Rosa and San Matías projects. Improving political conditions with the signing of peace agreements with guerilla forces is seen as a major growth opportunity for the country to attract outside interest from exploration companies. The Colombian Geological Survey (Servicio Geológico Colombiano - SGC) has been increasing efforts to highlight the mineral resource potential of the country through the preparation of regional country-scale geophysical, geochemical, and mineral resources maps. MDRU is providing direct support to dedicated Colombian Geoscientist teams for the preparation of two of the key products of the Mineral Resources Direction (Direccion de Recursos Minerales - DRM) of the SGC: the Metallogenic Map of Colombia and the Geochemical Atlas of Colombia, as significant regional-scale tools to support the mineral exploration industry in the Country.
Dawson Range–Mount Freegold Mapping, Mineralization and Magmatism, YukonDawson Range and Mt. Freegold areas, Yukon Territory
Significant gold, silver, copper, and molybdenum resources remain undeveloped and undiscovered in the Dawson Range and Mount Freegold areas of Yukon, which also host a historic and active placer industry. This project will systematically examine the three distinct magmatic suites recognised in the area in terms of their compositional, geochronological, and isotopic characteristics, and investigate regional structural controls on the location of magmatism and mineralization.
Geology, Geochronology & Geochemistry of the El Alacrán Deposit, San Matías Project, NW ColombiaSan Matías Project, Cordoba Department, NW Colombia
MDRU San Matías Project (SMP) in NW Colombia will unravel the magmatic and hydrothermal evolution of this increasingly important Cu-Au mining district, with specific emphasis on the ore genesis of the El Alacrán Cu-Au deposit formation.
Mineralogical Controls on Gold Recovery at Kişladağ, TurkeyTurkey
This is the maiden project for MDRU's Geometallurgy Initiative, which began in 2017. The project focuses on identifying the mineralogical controls that variably affect gold recovery at Eldorado Gold's Kişladağ mine in western Turkey.
Exploration Framework for Porphyry to Epithermal Transitions in the Toodoggone Mineral District, BCToodoggone District, Peace River Region, BC
The Toodoggone district in northeastern BC hosts numberous epithermal-type mineral deposits and occurrences and porphyry mineralization. Existing geochronological results indicate that the porphyry and at least some of the highly-varied epithermal systems are formed around the same time and as a result of the same processes. This project will establish district-scale exploration guidelines by determining mineral and alteration characteristics of individual mineral occurrences to construct a broader porphyry system geometry.
Yukon-Alaska Metallogeny (YAM)Yukon Territory
The Yukon-Alaska Metallogeny (YAM) Project builds on the successes of the Yukon Gold Project (2010-2014), which focused on the emerging White Gold district. Kaminak Gold Corp.'s 2010 discovery of the Coffee gold deposit in the nearby Dawson Range further emphasized the multi-million ounce gold potential of the Yukon, and spurred new research and exploration in the region. In parallel with MDRU’s deposit characterization study of Coffee, the YAM Project has generated new insights into the regional geologic and metallogenic framework of the Dawson Range, with the project scope also extending into Alaska.
Structural and Thermal Evolution of the Klondike Gold Fields, YukonKlondike gold fields, Yukon territory, Canada
The Klondike Gold Fields in western Yukon produced >13 million ounces of placer gold but hard-rock deposits remain undiscovered. Exploration success has been hindered by the lack of a robust geological and structural framework. This project will use structural mapping and thermochronological studies to produce a new structural map for the Klondike and new constraints on the Mesozoic structural and thermal history of the Yukon-Tanana terrane (YTT).
Application of Genomics to BC’s Mineral Deposit DiscoveryVarious sites, southern BC
A gram of fertile soil typically hosts more than one billion microbial cells. MDRU researchers are evaluating the capacity for molecular analyses (gene sequencing) of soil microbial communities to reveal indications and clues about buried mineral deposits.
Cordilleran Porphyry Systems: The BC Pb Isotopic AdvantageBritish Columbia
Lead (Pb) isotopes are a robust tool for identifying signatures of lithospheric and crustal controls on ore forming systems, and fingerprints of metal reservoirs.
This project's magma-to-ore approach assesses the Pb isotopic composition of various materials (whole rock, minerals, ore) from mineralized and unmineralized Cordilleran plutonic and ore systems to identify processes that may differentiate economically significant systems from similar, but unfertile, systems. The project builds upon an existing extensive Pb isotope database for BC and Yukon that has not been interrogated spatially or regionally.
Extracting Geological Value from SeArch Airborne Magnetic Data, central BCwest-central British Columbia
The Skeena Arch in west-central BC hosts porphyry Cu-Au occurrences and other mineralization but has attracted only limited exploration due in part to the poor quality of the existing 40-year-old structural and geological framework. Using high-resolution aeromagnetic data collected by Geoscience BC, field mapping and ASTER imagery, MDRU researchers are adding significant geological value to the SeArch project area to promote exploration interest.
Regional Metallogeny of Ratanakiri, CambodiaRatanakiri, Cambodia
MDRU Colombia MetallogenyColombia
MDRU recognized the importance of Colombia as an aspiring jurisdiction in 2010 due to its unexplored historical gold production, favourable geology, and its high-potential for precious and base metal world-class discoveries. Since that time, we have been active to increase the geological, magmatic and mineral deposit knowledge through a series of industry-supported research projects. Despite a complex internal social and political history in the past decades, the opportunity to increase the exploration success in Colombia is directly related to generating additional geological knowledge, and this is well-recognized as a high-priority objective for many major and junior exploration companies within the mining industry.
Through different industry- and government-funded research projects, MDRU has built up substantial knowledge of Colombia's tectono-magmatic history and its key role in the formation of mineral deposits and mineralizing processes.
SeArch Mapping Project: Extracting Geological Value from SeArch Airborne Magnetic Data, west-central British Columbiawest central British Columbia
Characteristics and Formation of the Jeronimo Sedimentary rock-hosted Disseminated Gold Deposit, Atacama Region, Chile
The Jeronimo sedimentary rock-hosted disseminated gold deposit is located within the Potrerillos district of the Atacama region of northern Chile, to the east of the Potrerillos-El Hueso porphyry Cu-Mo-(Au) system of Eocene to Oligocene age. Jeronimo occurs within a zone of thrust and reverse faulting and folding associated with middle Tertiary compressional deformation along the Domeyko fault system. The deposit contains a resource of 16.6 million tonnes of gold averaging 4.80 grams/tonne. Jeronimo is manto-shaped, and is on average six metres in thickness.
MSc thesis by VANESSA GENEVIEVE GALE, completed 1999, supervised by John Thompson.
Sponsored by Homestake Mining Inc. and NSERC.
The timing and structural evolution of the Donlin Creek gold deposit, southwest AlaskaAlaska, USA
The >30 million ounce Donlin Creek deposit in the Kuskokwim Mountains of southwestern Alaska (Fig 1.1) has characteristics of epithermal, reduced granite, Carlin style and orogenic gold deposits. It has
been classified as alkalic-rock-related (Bundtzen and Miller, 1997), low sulphidation epithermal (Ebert et al, 2000a), shallow reduced intrusion related or high level intrusion related (Ebert et al, 2002; Hart et al., 2002), and orogenic gold mineralization (Goldfarb et al., 2002). The structural evolution of this gold deposit and host rocks as well as the timing of those events with respect to the geologic history is critical to any of these models.
Donlin Creek is a high tonnage, low grade gold deposit that has measured and indicated resource potential of 371.7 Mt @ 2.46 g/t Au (29.38 Moz Au) with an additional inferred resource of 46.5 Mt @ 2.46 g/t Au (3.46 Moz Au) (NovaGold Resources inc. press release February 7, 2008). Gold mineralization is refractory and is associated with arsenopyrite. The highest gold grades are located at intersections between mineralized fracture zones and granite porphyry intrusions.
This MSc project was sponsored by Barrick.
Thallium Mineralogy of the Taron Epithermal Cesium Deposit, Argentina: Implications for Economics, Mining, Metallurgy and the EnvironmentSalta, Agrentina
The Taron Project is a Miocene epithermal cesium deposit. It is situated in a graben-like structure composed of late Tertiary sedimentary and volcanic rocks (graben fill) straddling the contact between the Eastern Cordilleran Ranges and the Altiplano-Puna volcanic complex in the eastern central Andes. This project is part of the MDRU Exploration Geochemistry Initiative and is supported by Cascadero Copper Corporation.
Structural, Stratigraphic and Temporal Constraints of Gold Mineralization in the Bigar Hill Deposit, Timok Region, SerbiaTimok Region, eastern Serbia
The Timok Magmatic Complex (TMC) is a well-endowed mineral district in Serbia that hosts world-class Cu-Au porphyry deposits (Majdanpek, Veliki Krivelj, Borska Reka) and high-sulfidation deposits (Bor, Čukaru Peki). Recent exploration activities on the northwestern margin of the TMC have led to the discovery of three sediment-hosted disseminated gold deposits (SHDG). The largest one, Bigar Hill deposit contains 1.48 Moz of gold at an average grade of 1.19 g/t Au of indicated reserves. SHDG deposits represent a previously unrecognized style of gold mineralization within the TMC and the central Balkan Peninsula - although they share many characteristics with the Carlin-type and distal disseminated gold deposits of Nevada, US. This MSc project is one of many that were completed as part of the MDRU Western Tethyan Metallogeny Project.
Biogeochemical Expressions of Buried REE Mineralization at the Norra Kärr Alkaline Complex, southern SwedenGranna, Sweden
Biogeochemical exploration is an effective but underutilized method for delineating covered mineralization. Plants are capable of accumulating rare earth elements (REEs) in their tissue, and ferns (pteridophytes) are especially adept because they are one of the most primitive land plants, therefore lack the barrier mechanisms developed by more evolved plants.
Geologically-Constrained UBC-GIF Gravity and Magnetic Inversions, Agnew-Wiluna Greenstone Belt, Western AustraliaWestern Australia
Geologically-constrained inversion of geophysical data is a powerful method for predicting geology beneath cover. The process seeks 3D physical property models that are consistent with the geology and explain measured geophysical responses. The recovered models can guide mineral explorers to prospective host rocks, structures, alteration and mineralisation. This thesis provides a comprehensive analysis of how the University of British Columbia Geophysical Inversion Facility (UBC–GIF) gravity and magnetic inversions can be applied to subsurface mapping and exploration by demonstrating the necessary approach, data types, and typical results.
Physical Property Mineralogy Relationship of Ultramafic Rock-hosted Mineral Deposits with Geophysical DataKabanga, Tanzania; and Mapaktulik Lake, Northwest Territories
Inversion of potential field geophysical data to generate physical property models is becoming increasingly common in the exploration industry. This study aimed to develop relationships between physical properties and mineralogy in ultramafic rock-hosted mineral deposits, based on an analysis of the crater facies-dominated Anuri kimberlite (Canada) and the intrusive magmatic sulfide deposit at Kabanga (Tanzania).
Colombia Gold & Porphyry Project (CGPP)Middle Cauca Au-Cu Belt and Vetas-California Au-Ag (Cu-Mo) mining district, Colombia
In 2010, MDRU initiated a 3-year industry-funded consortium-style research project that focused on porphyry-type and spatially related LS, IS and HS epithermal systems within two of the most prospective areas in the Colombian Andes: the Middle Cauca Au-Cu Belt and the Vetas-California Au-Ag (Cu, Mo) Mining District.
Mineralogical and Geochemical Characteristics of Porphyry Fertile Plutons: Guichon Creek, Takomkane and Granite Mountain Batholiths, BCBritish Columbia, Canada
Exploration for porphyry copper deposits is mostly focused on following-up on alteration patterns or empirical geochemical or geophysical data, which are ineffective in areas of cover, such as glacial till or regolith. Distinguishing porphyry-fertile from barren plutons in the earliest stages of exploration could provide a significant advantage by immediately identifying those plutons that had the potential to form porphyry copper deposits. This study identifies the mineralogical and geochemical characteristics of porphyry fertile plutons and develops exploration tools that allow for the identification of such plutonic bodies.
Carbonate Alteration Footprint of the Cortez Hills Carlin-type Gold Deposit, NevadaCarlin district, Nevada, USA
Surficial Geochemical Models of British Columbia Porphyry SystemsBritish Columbia
Geochemistry of surficial materials is an effective method for the the exploration and discovery of British Columbia (BC) porphyry deposits but is fraught with challenges in areas of cover that conspire to diminish success. Porphyry systems are invariably diverse and their surficial geochemical responses and signatures (tenor, patterns, trends) can vary considerably over large areas. Post-mineralization dispersion of surficial materials by glacial, alluvial and mass-wasting processes further diffuses the signal. Additionally, the pedogenic processes involved in soil formation, such as oxidation, bio- and cryoturbation, leaching and hydromorphic dispersion, further contribute to modifying the geochemical signal and patterns. This Geoscience BC sponsored project project provides empirical examples of the surficial geochemical datasets for BC porphyry deposits.
Discovery Tools for Buried Copper Deposits in the Atacama Desert, ChileAtacama Desert, Chile
Porphyry copper deposits and their associated supergene enrichments are key mineral exploration targets. The Atacama region of the Andean Mountains of Chile are well-endowed with large high-grade porphyry copper ore bodies. Traditionally, most discoveries had outcropping mineralization or alteration, ancient mine workings or near-mine brownfields drilling. More recent discoveries have been made through the Miocene and younger piedmont desert gravels, either from pattern drilling within known mineralized clusters or along structural corridors. These Atacama gravels present a major challenge to ongoing exploration efforts—no significant methodological breakthroughs had been achieved prior to this study.
This MDRU research project was supported by an industry consortium of AngloAmerican plc, QPX Chile and First Quantum Minerals Ltd. and is carried out as part of MDRU's Exploration Geochemistry Initiative.
Protected: Seeing through Chilcotin basalts: the geochemical signal of what is hidden underneathCentral BC
In central British Columbia, rock units prospective for porphyry and other styles of base and precious metal mineralization are covered by extensive regions of barren Neogene basalt flows, most importantly the Miocene to Pleistocene Chilcotin Group. Effective exploration of targets covered by Chilcotin Group basalts is difficult because of the masking effect these basalts have in interpreting geophysical data (e.g., high magnetic susceptibility) and hindering development of regional stream and lake sediment geochemical anomalies.
TREK Geology, Magmatism and Metallogeny, Interior Plateau region of central BC, CanadaInterior Plateau, British Columbia
BC's Interior Plateau region is difficult to explore because of the lack of outcrop due to the significant thicknesses of glacial till and young volcanic cover. The region is underlain by Stikine Terrane and has the potential to host a variety of arc and intrusion-related mineral deposits. A Geoscience BC defined region known as TREK-Targeting Resources for Exploration and Knowledge was targeted for a $4M, multi-year, integrated earth science program across 24,000 km2 in central BC (NTS 093B, C, F and G). Using new geophysical, geochemical and geological data, MDRU researchers generated a new and significantly improved geological understanding and data framework for the Interior Plateau. This project result of new maps, data and reports is the most significant geological advance and contribution to central BC in several decades, has already led to new mineral occurrence discoveries, and will stand as the definitive work for the next 50 years.
PIMS-Porphyry Indicator MineralsBritish Columbia, Canada
Porphyry indicator minerals (PIMS) are minerals, such as apatite, rutile and titanite, that form during porphyry copper deposit formation and are resistant to weathering. These minerals commonly display unique physical properties such as color, size and shape that allow their presence to be used as a prospecting tool in a similar manner to which kimberlite indicator minerals are used. Therefore, by evaluating the presence, abundances, relative proportions, and compositions of PIMS from surficial materials, it is possible to evaluate and better rank geophysical and geochemical anomalies to vector towards covered porphyry copper deposits.
MDRU is accumulating research knowledge to build a tool kit of indicator mineral features and chemistry to provide insights for exploration decision-making to aid in the discovery of covered porphyry deposits. Much of our work to date has been within British Columbia and funded by Geoscience BC.
Structural Controls on Barkerville and Related Orogenic Gold Camps of Interior British ColumbiaBarkerville Gold Camp, central BC, Canada
Much of BC's historic gold production is from orogenic quartz vein networks along the eastern margin of the Intermontane terranes. The Barkerville camp alone accounts for 1.2 Moz of gold from such lodes, and another 2.5-3 Moz were extracted from related placer deposits. The revival of brownfields exploration in the district emphasizes the importance of establishing ore controls for this mineralization style. Structural models for orogenic gold systems emphasize major crustal-scale strike-slip faults as a first-order ore control, but these are absent from Barkerville and related orogenic gold camps such as Cassiar and Sheep Creek.
This project will generate a new series of maps, sections, and structural datasets that incorporate public domain geologic data and new structural mapping to place gold mineralization into a regional structural and kinematic framework that can enhance structural targeting.
Oyu TolgoiSouth Gobi Region, Mongolia
This PhD research project focused on the volcanostratigraphic framework and magmatic evolution of the Oyu Tolgoi porphyry Cu-Au district in Mongolia. Drill core logging, field mapping, geochronology and geochemistry were used to constrain the stratigraphy, structure, timing and origin of the world-class Cu-Au deposits in the South Gobi Desert. Project results indicate that magma mixing, adakite-like magmatism and rapid uplift and erosion in a juvenile marine arc setting differentiate the ore-stage geologic environment at Oyu Tolgoi from other settings in active and fossil volcanic arcs.
Structural evolution of the Mitchell Au-Cu-Ag-Mo porphyry deposit, NW BCIskut-Stikine River region, British Columbia
The Mitchell Cu-Au-Ag-Mo porphyry deposit in the Stikine terrane of northwestern British Columbia together with the Kerr-Sulphurets-Mitchell porphyry deposits (KSM) are amongst the largest undeveloped gold-rich porphyry resource in Canada. These deposits, along with the Brucejack high-grade gold deposit and the Snowfield porphyry deposit are hosted in volcanosedimentary rocks of the Late Triassic Stuhini Group and unconformably overlying Early Jurassic volcanosedimentary strata and allied plutonic rocks of the Hazelton Group. Part of the Sulphurets district, these deposits lie at the northern end of a 60-km-long north-northwest trending Cu-Au porphyry and related mineralization.
Controls on Gold Mineralization at the Coffee Gold Deposit, Dawson Range, Yukon, CanadaDawson Range, Yukon, Canada
With the discovery of the Coffee gold system in 2010, Kaminak Gold quickly built a >5Moz gold resource that facilitated a $520M takeover by Goldcorp. Significant advances had been made to characterize the deposit's geology, alteration, and mineralization, but questions remained about the geological controls of gold distribution and grade, styles of mineralization, the age and structural evolution of the hydrothermal system. Answers to these questions not only impact the knowledge and decision-making at Coffee, but also contribute to exploration throughout the region.
This project was completed as a PhD project that was part of MDRU's Yukon-Alaska Gold Metallogeny multi-company consortium project which also focuses on deposit-scale and regional ore controls. The project was sponsored by Kaminak, Goldcorp and NSERC.
Host Rock Characteristics at Copper Mountain Mine, BCCopper Mountain, British Columbia
Alteration styles and patterns, and grade variations in alkalic porphyry projects are notoriously difficult to assess, in part because of host rocks controls. This project characterized host rocks and their controls on alteration, Cu, Au and Ag mineralization and grade distribution at Copper Mountain mine in southern BC.
CMIC – Copper Exploration Footprints: Highland Valley Copper PorphyryHighland Valley Copper Mine, BC
The NSERC-CMIC Footprints Copper sub-project characterized the numerous detectable components that comprise the footprint around the large Highland Valley Copper porphyry system in British Columbia, and produced an integrated, multi-parameter footprint model for porphyry copper systems. The project is part of the NSERC-CMIC Footprints research network, one of the largest mineral exploration research project ever run in Canada. MDRU was a co-leader of this project.
Western Tethyan Metallogeny ProjectTurkey, Serbia, Armenia, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Greece, Iran, Romania
The first Western Tethyan Metallogeny Project contributed pre-competitive geoscience that will impact copper and gold discovery success rates from the Balkans to Iran. Major accomplishments include the completion of MSc and PhD graduate projects which characterize the geologic framework of recent discoveries, as well as large regions of poorly understood arc magmatic rocks. Sponsor companies continue to benefit from the competitive advantage provided for this highly-endowed, under-explored belt.
Predicting Magmatic Fertility & Detecting Hydrothermal Alteration of Porphyry Copper Systems with Porphyry Indicator Minerals (PIMS)Global
MDRU’s successful porphyry indicator mineral (PIMS) research has established the viability of certain resistate minerals to inform exploration decision-making for the discovery of porphyry copper systems. Our research recognizes opportunities of these minerals to contribute information about both the potential (fertility) or an intrusion to generate a porphyry copper system, and to record interactions with mineralizing porphyry fluids. A research consortium of interested industry collaborators looking to gain a competitive exploration advantage is now being assembled.
BRIMM CO2 Sequestration of Mine Tailings
Ultramafic mine waste has an inherent but untapped capacity to permanently trap the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) thus affording environmental and regulatory benefits through greenhouse gas offsets or trading credits. This project is exploring how to accelerate direct capture of CO2 from the atmosphere and documenting how to incorporate carbon sequestration activities into mine operations from planning to comminution to tailings storage.