Project Status Active Active
Project Status Completed Completed
Project Status New Opportunity New Opportunity
No results found. View all projects.


Geology and Geochronology of the Bozshakol Porphyry Cu-Mo Deposit, Kazakhstan

northern Kazakhstan

The Bozshakol porphyry copper deposit is located in the western part of the Paleozoic Altai orogen of the Central Asian Orogenic Belt (CAOB), which also hosts the Kounrad, Aktogay, and Oyu Tolgoi porphyry deposits. The geology and the magmatic and hydrothermal evolution of the Bozshakol porphyry system provides insights into the metallogeny of this wide and well-endowed belt. This project comprises the first comprehensive description of the deposit’s geology, and focuses on the temporal evolution of its magmatism, alteration, and mineralization. New geochronological data will be supported by detailed drill core investigations shed light on the longevity of the mineralizing porphyry system.

ICaRN – International Caving Research Network

Global, currently Indonesia, Australia, Canada

The University of British Columbia, in support with the Head of Mining Engineering, the Head of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science, the Director of Geological Engineering, and the Director of the Mineral Deposit Research Unit (MDRU), are pleased to announce the formation of the International Caving Research Network (ICaRN). Building on momentum from recent industry-sponsored university research, ICaRN will consist of a multi‐disciplinary group from industry and academia, covering the fields of operations, geology, cave mining, geomechanics, and mineral processing. The objective of ICaRN is to leverage value from multi‐disciplinary research to address key knowledge gaps identified by industry by focusing on six main research areas as follows:

1. Geometallurgy/Orebody Knowledge
2. Grade Management
3. Cave Mine Design
4. Integrated Cave‐to‐Mill
5. New Measurement Technologies
6. Hazard Management

Craig Hart

Carbon Mineralization Potential Assessment for BC – CaMP

British Columbia

British Columbia's carbon offset purchase scheme provides a unique opportunity for companies that process materials that are capable of reducing greenhouse gases to significantly contribute to BC carbon offsets. Certain rock types known as serpentinites have a very high potential to react with atmospheric CO2 to form carbonate minerals that effectively reduce greenhouse gases. Identifying the locations, distribution, abundances, geometries and quality of these serpentinite bodies is the first step towards increasing awareness and quantifying the opportunity. This project will evaluate serpentinite distribution throughout the province to establish BC's potential to capture CO2 from the atmosphere and stabilize it long-term as safe carbonate minerals.

Greg Dipple Jamie Cutts Dominique Fournier Dianne Mitchinson Craig Hart

Exploration Geochemistry Initiative

British Columbia, Northwest Territories, Chile

MDRU's Exploration Geochemistry Initiative provides leadership and resources to significantly increase the amount and quality of research and training in the discipline of mineral exploration geochemistry. The initiative was spearheaded and supported by the industry, UBC, Acme Labs, Bureau Veritas, John Gravel and NSERC.

Peter Winterburn

Hydrocarbon Compounds in Soil as Mineral Deposit Pathfinders

Mount Washington, Vancouver Island BC; central BC

Organic compounds in soil are a promising and under-researched tool for non-petroleum based mineral exploration. Traditionally, commodity and pathfinder elements in soil were jused with geophysical and geolocal data to improve drilling success. However, in areas with glacially transported sediments, traditional geochemical signals are displaced and detached by clastic transport.

Peter Winterburn

Microbial-Community Fingerprints as Indicators for Buried Mineralization in British Columbia

British Columbia

A gram of fertile soil typically hosts more than 1 billion microbial cells with 10s or even 100s of thousands of bacterial species each interacting with the environment. Together, they are largely responsible for the processing of nutrients and carbon in the soil, regulating the decomposition of mineral and waste materials and the regeneration of soil fertility. Bacteria are very sensitive and responsive to chemical and physical changes in their environment. Subtle changes in metal availability
can have a dramatic impact on microbial communities and their levels of activity. In residual terrains, where chemical gradients are high over exposed mineralization, bacterial population changes have been clearly demonstrated.

The advent of high-throughput next generation sequencing (NGS) platforms has transformed our capacity to interrogate the molecular fingerprints of microbial communities. Application of NGS technologies will allow us to profile the taxonomic diversity and metabolic potential of soil microbial communities across subtle geochemical gradients developed in soils in response to concealed mineralization. Given that each soil sample comprises thousands of microbial taxa each of which contains hundreds to thousands of genes, the statistical power of this approach to identifying anomalies is unprecedented.
This project was generously sponsored by Geoscience BC.

Peter Winterburn Rachel Simister

Till Geochemistry and Lithogeochemical Exploration for Concealed Kimberlites

Kelvin 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.

Peter Winterburn

MDRU Geometallurgy Initiative


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. In partnership with BRIMM, 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.

Craig Hart Greg Dipple

Assessing BC Porphyry Fertility with Zircons

British Columbia

Zircons are a useful tool for distinguishing metal-fertile from barren plutons and provide clues to those 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 evaluate zircons as an exploration tool that utilizes the textures and geochemistry of zircon grains to assess the fertility of some key plutons and batholiths in BC, for their potential to host/generate porphyry copper deposits.

Farhad Bouzari Craig Hart

Carbonate Alteration Footprints of Hydrothermal Ore Systems

Peru; 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 the application of abundant stable isotope data from our internally developed Mineral Isotope Analyser (MDRU-MIA), which helps us map cryptical hydrothermal alteration footprints in calcareous rocks around a wide variety of hydrothermal ore deposits. Rock context is key, and we dedicate significant effort to understanding the rock and veins using UV, petrographic, mineralogic and geochemical methods. We are developing new exploration strategies and methods and to build case studies of carbonate hosted mineral deposits footprints.

Greg Dipple Craig Hart

Dawson Range–Mount Freegold Mapping, Mineralization and Magmatism, Yukon

Dawson 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.

Murray Allan

Structural and Thermal Evolution of the Klondike Gold Fields, Yukon

Klondike 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).

Tyler Ambrose

Application of Genomics to BC’s Mineral Deposit Discovery

Various 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.

Peter Winterburn Rachel Simister

Cordilleran Porphyry Systems: The BC Pb Isotopic Advantage

British 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.

Craig Hart

Extracting Geological Value from SeArch Airborne Magnetic Data, central BC

west-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.

Joel Angen Mana Rahimi Craig Hart

MDRU Colombia Metallogeny


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.

Hildebrando Leal-Mejía Craig Hart Robert Lee


Western Tethyan Metallogeny Project, Phase 2 (WT2)

Romania, 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.

Alan Wainwright Craig Hart Robert Lee Fabien Rabayrol

WTMP – Magmatic Evolution and Metallogeny of Subduction to Post-Subduction Magmas in Anatolia, Turkey

central Anatolia, Turkey

This project was completed as a PhD project by Fabien Rabayrol under the broader Western Tethyan Metallogeny Project (Phase 1), also known as WTMP.

WT2 – Regional Constraints on Porphyry-Epithermal Deposits in the Artvin Au-Cu district, eastern Pontides Belt, Turkey

This project was completed as part of the Western Tethyan Metallogeny Project (Phase 2), also known as WT2.

Fabien Rabayrol Craig Hart Alan Wainwright Robert Lee

WT2 – New constraints on magmatic rocks and porphyry Cu-Au mineralization episodes in the Timok Magmatic Complex, eastern Serbia

Bor, Timok district, eastern Serbia

This project is a component within the larger Western Tethyan Metallogeny Project (Phase 2), also known as WT2.

Alan Wainwright Robert Lee

WT2 – Magma fertility assessment for gold and copper mineralization in a frontier area: Insights from the postcollisional Middle Eocene Adjara-Trialeti metallogenic belt, Lesser Caucasus, Georgia

This is a component of the Western Tethyan Metallogeny Project (Phase 2), also known as WT2.

Fabien Rabayrol Craig Hart Alan Wainwright Robert Lee

Colombia Gold and Porphyry Project – La Bodga and La Mascota

This project was undertaken as a MSc thesis as part of the 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.

Stratigraphic and petrographic characterization of HS epithermal Au-Ag mineralization at the TV Tower district, Biga Peninsula, NW Turkey

Canakkale, Biga district, northwestern Turkey

This project was completed as an MSc thesis by Graham Leroux, and is one of the many projects that were done undertaken within the WTMP - Western Tethyan Metallogeny Project (Phase 1) umbrella.

Magmatic-hydrothermal evolution and post-ore modifications of the Halilağa porphyry Cu-Au deposit, NW Turkey

Canakkale, Biga district, northwestern Turkey

This project was completed as an MSc thesis by Paula Brunetti, and is one of the many projects that were done undertaken within the WTMP - Western Tethyan Metallogeny Project (Phase 1) umbrella.

Craig Hart

Structural and fluid evolution of the Efemçukuru epithermal gold deposit, western Turkey (WTMP)

Izir region, western Turkey

This project was completed as an MSc thesis by Kaleb Boucher, and is one of the many projects that were done undertaken within the WTMP - Western Tethyan Metallogeny Project (Phase 1) umbrella.

Craig Hart

Structural, mineralogical and fluid evolution of the Shahumyan intermediate sulphidation vein deposit, Kapan district, Armenia

Kapan district, southern Armenia

This project was completed as an MSc thesis, and is one of the many projects that were done under the WTMP-Western Tethyan Metallogeny Project (Phase 1) umbrella.

Exploration Framework for Porphyry to Epithermal Transitions in the Toodoggone Mineral District, BC

Toodoggone 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. This project was sponsored by Geoscience BC.

Farhad Bouzari Craig Hart

Metallogenesis of the Iskut River Area, Northwestern British Columbia

Iskut River area, northwestern British Columbia

MDRU undertook the Iskut River Metallogeny project in response to intense interest by the mineral exploration and mining industry in the 1980s and 90s. In 2012, Geoscience BC worked with MDRU to update and re-elease updated products generated during the original project. Both of these endeavors are presented here.

Discovery Tools for Buried Copper Deposits in the Atacama Desert, Chile

Atacama 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.

Peter Winterburn

TREK Geology, Magmatism and Metallogeny, Interior Plateau region of central BC, Canada

Interior 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.

Joel Angen Mana Rahimi Craig Hart

Paragenetic Relationships and Timing of Orogenic Gold, Klondike District, Western Yukon

Klondike, Yukon

Part of the Tintina Gold Province, Western Yukon is host to many economical mineral deposits of various styles. Specifically, the Klondike is one of the world’s richest and most productive placer gold districts, with over 20 million ounces recovered. Efforts made to determine and analyze the lode sources of these placer deposits has lead to the discovery of a widespread episode of orogenic gold mineralization in the Middle to Late Jurassic within the Klondike and other nearby mineral districts in the Yukon Tanana terrane. A general understanding of the orogenic vein distribution, structural control, and correlation with regional cooling ages has been established. However, the occurrences remain ambiguous in terms of their detailed timing of veining/mineralization relative to deformation and genesis. Additionally, no knowledge exists on how gold was introduced into the veins and if U-Th-Pb geochronometers can reliably determine an absolute age of the mineralizing event(s). Through detailed petrographic and analytical analysis, this study will establish controls on vein/alteration paragenetic relationships and gold mineralization. Wherever possible, the absolute age(s) of mineralization will be determined by U-Th-Pb dating of hydrothermal monazite.

Craig Hart

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 Alaska

Alaska, 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 Environment

Salta, 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.

Peter Winterburn

WTMP – Structural, Stratigraphic and Temporal Constraints of Gold Mineralization in the Bigar Hill Deposit, Timok Region, Serbia

Timok 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 project was completed as an MSc thesis and is one of the many projects that were done undertaken within the WTMP - Western Tethyan Metallogeny Project (Phase 1) umbrella.

Craig Hart

Biogeochemical Expressions of Buried REE Mineralization at the Norra Kärr Alkaline Complex, southern Sweden

Granna, 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.

Physical Property Mineralogy Relationship of Ultramafic Rock-hosted Mineral Deposits with Geophysical Data – Kabanga

Kabanga, 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). This project "Physical Property Mineralogy Relationship of Ultramafic Rock-hosted Mineral Deposits with Geophysical Data" is part of the "Building 3-D Earth Models: Integrating geology, physical properties, and geophysics" undertaken as part of the MDRU-GIF collaboration.

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.

Hildebrando Leal-Mejía Craig Hart

Mineralogical and Geochemical Characteristics of Porphyry Fertile Plutons: Guichon Creek, Takomkane and Granite Mountain Batholiths, BC

British 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.

Farhad Bouzari Craig Hart

Assessing BC Porphyry Fertility with Zircons

British Columbia

Zircons are a useful tool for distinguishing metal-fertile from barren plutons and provide clues to those 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 evaluate zircons as an exploration tool that utilizes the textures and geochemistry of zircon grains to assess the fertility of some key plutons and batholiths in BC, for their potential to host/generate porphyry copper deposits.

Farhad Bouzari Craig Hart

Surficial Geochemical Models of British Columbia Porphyry Systems

British 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.

Craig Hart

CMIC – Copper Exploration Footprints: Highland Valley Copper Porphyry

Highland 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.

Robert Lee Peter Winterburn Craig Hart

Linking Porphyry Deposit Geology to Geophysics via Physical Properties: Adding Value to Geophysical Data

British Columbia

In order to better understand the relationships between the geophysical responses and exploration for ores, it is essential to understand the empirical relationships between these components and all variables that affect them.

This project presents physical rock property data from the six above-listed BC porphyry deposits, and discusses observed trends within the detailed QUEST and QUEST-West geophysical datasets and mapped geology. The resulting physical rock property data compilation has implications for improving interpretations of geophysical data from porphyry deposits. A synopsis of physical property criteria defining hydrothermally altered or mineralized rocks in BC porphyry settings is provided, which can ultimately be used for ranking similar mineral exploration targets throughout BC, thereby minimizing exploration risk.

This project was sponsored by Geoscience BC.

Dianne Mitchinson Craig Hart

Geologically-Constrained UBC-GIF Gravity and Magnetic Inversions, Agnew-Wiluna Greenstone Belt, Western Australia

Western 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.

Protected: Seeing through Chilcotin basalts: the geochemical signal of what is hidden underneath

Central 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.

Yukon-Alaska Metallogeny (YAM)

Yukon Territory; Alaska

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 the Coffee gold deposit, 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 eastern and central Alaska. This project was sponsored by Kaminak Gold Corporation, Goldcorp, Copper North Mining Corp., Sumac Mines Ltd., Yukon Geological Survey with funding support from NSERC and NRCan.

Murray Allan Craig Hart

Structural Controls on Barkerville and Related Orogenic Gold Camps of Interior British Columbia

Barkerville 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.

Murray Allan Craig Hart

Reconstructing the Oyu Tolgoi porphyry Cu-Au deposit, Mongolia

South 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.

Alan Wainwright

Structural evolution of the Mitchell Au-Cu-Ag-Mo porphyry deposit, NW BC

Iskut-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.

Craig Hart

Controls on Gold Mineralization at the Coffee Gold Deposit, Dawson Range, Yukon, Canada

Dawson 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.

Murray Allan Craig Hart

Host Rock Characteristics at Copper Mountain Mine, BC

Copper 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.

Farhad Bouzari

Western Tethyan Metallogeny Project (WTMP Phase 1)

Turkey, 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.

Craig Hart

New Opportunity

Predicting Magmatic Fertility & Detecting Hydrothermal Alteration of Porphyry Copper Systems with Porphyry Indicator Minerals (PIMS)


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.

Farhad Bouzari Craig Hart Robert Lee Alan Wainwright

CO2 Sequestration of Ultramafic Tailings (SCO2UT)

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.

Current research activities under this theme have been spun off to CarbMinLab at

Greg Dipple