Trees, soil and snow can help detect mineral deposits: Vancouver Island researchers

Photo: Geoscience BC

A new analytical method developed by researchers on Vancouver Island uses snow, soil and trees to identify buried mineral deposits. The series of techniques could help reduce the impact of mineral exploration work while lowering costs and increasing efficiency.

Working at British Columbia’s Mount Washington gold-copper-silver prospect and the Lara zinc-copper-lead-silver-gold showing, the geologists were able to measure the concentration of the halogen elements fluorine, bromine, chlorine and iodine in samples such as fluids given off by trees -which they collected by trapping ‘tree sweat’ in plastic bags-; bits of soil recovered using buried collectors left in the ground over several months to passively absorb ions; and a few grams of snow.

The halogens found within such organic materials are commonly associated with the emplacement of mineral deposits.

“Each element or volatile compound tends to have a different expression retained in the overlying soils and vegetation and, given that so much of British Columbia’s mineral wealth is concealed by forests, Quaternary deposits and/or volcanic rocks, elucidation of these relationships could assist in mineral exploration programs,” their report reads.

Titled “An assessment of the use of halogens and volatile compounds in vegetation, soil and snow in the exploration for concealed deposits: case histories from Lara and Mount Washington, Vancouver Island”, the study is very place-specific. Its authors still don’t venture to generalize their results.

“We have now shown that these techniques are effective on Vancouver Island, but we still have a way to go before they can be widely used by the mineral exploration sector. More work is required to optimize sample types such as the spruce, lodgepole pine or Douglas-fir forests of the Interior,” said the project leader, Dave Heberlein, in a press release.

comments powered by Disqus

More from Mining & Energy

BC government rejects Ajax mine (Updated)

Kamloops First Nation says decision consistent with NDP commitment to UNDRIP

Read Article

Finning inks US$185 million deal with Lundin

Recovering mining sector improves heavy equipment distributor's bottom line

Read Article

Another jewel in B.C.’s Golden Triangle?

High-grade Red Mountain gold project enters environmental review

Read Article

Mining’s future increasingly tied to clean technology

Investors driving move to cleaner and greener operations in resource extraction sector

Read Article

Stock slump hits the province’s mining companies

Large gains for fewer resource companies keep average stock price increase at 4%

Read Article

Subscribe to our mailing lists

You may withdraw your consent at any time.

* indicates required


* You can modify your newsletter subscriptions at the bottom of any newsletter you receive.
Business in Vancouver Media Group
303 West 5th Avenue, Vancouver, British Columbia
V5Y 1J6 · Canada