Canadian Discoveries and Public Geoscience Database Successes

Below are a compilation of success stories surrounding the use of public geoscience data. 

Project Title: Mel Project and Pikoo Project

Project Location: 
East central Saskatchewan and Melville Peninsula, Nunavut

Current Company Reporting: 
North Arrow Minerals Inc.

Government Geoscience Institution: 
Natural Resources Canada, Saskatchewan Geological Survey

Geoscience Report Published: 
1.Glacial geomorphology and till geochemistry of central Melville Peninsula, Nunavut – 2012, T. Tremblay and R. Paulen

2. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, Volume 42, Number 4 – April 2005
3. Geophysical Series, NTS 46-O/01, NTS 46-O/02 and part of NTS 46-O/03, airborne geophysical survey Miertsching Lake East, Nunavut, 2010


For kimberlite and diamond exploration, North Arrow Minerals Inc. are keenly interested in geophysical data sets and quaternary studies partnered with geological maps. Quaternary studies significantly aid North Arrow’s attempts to discover kimberlite pipes that have been buried in glacial till. For North Arrow’s Mel Project, a 2010-to-2012 study of Melville Peninsula’s till geochemistry and glacial morphology conducted by the Geological Survey of Canada provided the necessary background data for effective mapping of kimberlite-indicator mineral (KIM) dispersion trains in the area.

This till research study was conducted under the Geo-Mapping for Energy and Minerals (GEM) program. North Arrow found that some areas of Melville Peninsula had simple glacial KIM trains while others were too complicated to analyse without the help of this government funded research. Junior exploration companies often lack the expertise to conduct their own in-depth quaternary research as there are few qualified personnel available in Canada.

North Arrow planned an incremental till sampling program for the Mel project after consulting and incorporating information from this public access glacial study. Public access assessment reports available through the Nunavut government archives (NUMIN open files: 84769, 84822, 84727, 85010, 85242) were also incorporated into North Arrow’s exploration program on Melville Peninsula. The assessment reports submitted to the Government of Nunavut allowed for more accurate targeting of KIM trains and the associated kimberlites. One geophysical survey that provided particular value for North Arrow’s exploration program was the 2010 aeromagnetic survey over Miertsching Lake East, Nunavut funded by Natural Resources Canada (GEOSCAN open file 6480). Using the GEM report, publically funded geophysical surveys and the company assessment reports, the Mel Project has grown to consist of 56,000 hectares of minerals claims and a new exploration camp. The company has identified two diamondiferous kimberlite pipes thus far. During 2018, North Arrow Minerals is conducting a geophysical survey, till sampling program and a diamond drill program on the property to explore eight additional kimberlite targets.

In addition to their work in Nunavut, North Arrow Minerals is exploring for kimberlites in Saskatchewan. Collaborations between the Saskatchewan provincial geological survey (SGS) and Natural Resources Canada became essential in identifying kimberlite occurrences in the province. Results from these survey collaborations were published in the Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences (2005) 42 (4).  Mapping of the Saskatchewan craton is important for kimberlite exploration as most kimberlites occur in cratonic environments. Using the government’s research into cratonic occurrences in Saskatchewan, North Arrow designed their exploration program to focus on discreet cratonic and possible kimberlite signatures. North Arrow Minerals intersected kimberlite in their first drill hole of the 2013 drilling campaign. This was the first kimberlite discovery in that region of Saskatchewan and the discovery of a new kimberlite field in Canada. Since 2013, the company has completed extensive till sampling and drilling programs which have identified 10 kimberlite pipes, five of which have been proven to host diamondiferous. The Pikoo property now covers 33,374 ha and drilling will continue in 2018 and 2019 to better define kimberlite pipes and document the endowment of the pipes.

Project Title: Kwanika project & Search III Staking

Project Location:
North-Central BC

Current Company Reporting: 
Serengeti Resources Inc.

Government Geoscience Institution: 
Geoscience BC

Geoscience Report Published:
1QUEST I  2. Search Phase III


An April 2017 preliminary-economic assessment report on the Kwanika project, reported a life of mine metal production of 601 million pounds copper, 676,300 ounces gold, and 2.66 million ounces silver in concentrates. The Kwanika Project is operated under Kwanika Copper Corporation (KCC), a private company jointly-owned by Serengeti Resources (65%) and POSCO DAEWOO Corporation (PDC) (35%) who are currently advancing a Pre-Feasibility Study at a cost of $7 million funded by PDC. Exploration around the property began in the 1930’s, but it was only in 2004, when Serengeti Resources’ staked the property, that the Kwanika property really started moving forward.

While using the Geological Survey of BC’s “Mine Match” program in 2003, the executive team at Serengeti Resources became interested in the Quesnel Trough area of north-central, British Columbia. They staked the Kwanika property in 2004 (Jan 19, 2005 news release), based on it’s prospectively from past exploration and it’s potential for porphyry copper mineralization. Soon after, in 2005 Serengeti Resources partnered with Geoscience BC, on the first QUEST program, and Natural Resources Canada, to conduct a high sensitivity airborne gamma-ray spectrometric and aeromagnetic survey over the newly acquired area (August 3, 2005 news release). The company was granted one-year exclusivity to the data, with results being released to the public in 2006. This survey was a key factor in the future exploration on the Kwanika property.

The geophysical data allowed Serengeti to pin point future target areas, 2-5 kilometres up a glacial till covered valley (Oct 27, 2005 news release) from the previously known mineralized zone. The company then followed up on these new targets with IP surveys and more than 75,000 metres of drilling from 2006-2016. All of this exploration work has led to the pre-economic assessment report for the property. In 2010, Seregenti executives, David Moore and Myron Osatenko, were awarded the Association of Mineral Exploration (AME) H.H. "Spud" Huestis Award for Excellence in Prospecting and Mineral Exploration in recognition for their discovery of the Kwanika deposit.         

After the success of Geoscience BC’s QUEST program for Kwanika, Serengeti continued their involvement and monitoring of government geoscience programming data releases and exploration programs. In 2018, Serengeti Resources announced the staking of eight properties, following Geoscience BC’s Search III’s high resolution magnetic and radiometric data release. In total, 7,670 hectares were staked in north-central BC, by Serengeti, in order to target Cu-Au porphyry and Ni-Co ultramafic systems. These eight properties are currently undergoing further exploration by Serengeti Resources.

The Search III program has also helped Serengeti Resources enhance further targets, including the ATTY property, which borders the Kemess mine in north-central BC. Throughout the 2018 summer field season, Serengeti is planning on conducting an IP survey, relogging of prior drill holes and systematic grid-mapping on the Atty property, in order to better identify future drill targets.

Project Title: Lynx Diamond Project

Project Location: 
Oxford Lake–Knee Lake belt, Manitoba

Current Company Reporting: 
Altius Minerals Corp.

Government Geoscience Institution: 
Manitoba Geological Survey (MGS)

Geoscience Report Published: :
Alkaline rocks at Oxford Lake and Knee Lake, northwestern Superior province, Manitoba (NTS 53L13, 14, 15): preliminary results of new bedrock mapping and lithogeochemistry


The Knee-Lake greenstone belt area was first mapped at a reconnaissance scale in the 1950’s, and later upgraded to a 1:50,000 scale map in the 1970’s. Along with the 1970 mapping campaign, some litho-geochemical work was conducted, however the area laid dormant for many years as no major mineral prospective areas were identified. In the 1990’s, government geoscience work was conducted in the area again, under the federal government NATMAP initiative. The NATMAP initiative involved reconnaissance mapping, geochemical and geochronological work over the Knee-Lake greenstone belt. Accounts of the MGS state that; the Manitoba Geological Survey employees who were involved in this initiative, moved up to management before these final reports were completed and little of the work became open to the public and to industry.

Internally however, MGS maintained interest in the area and began a systematic mapping campaign over the Knee-Lake greenstone belt in 2012. The campaign consisted of 4-summers of mapping programming over the prospective greenstone belt rocks.  Geochemical analysis of an outcrop, conducted under this campaign, uncovered similar properties to the mineral endowed rocks in the Wawa region of Ontario. In January 2016, a local Manitoba prospector approached the MGS, noting that he had analyzed a sample of conglomerate proximal to the belt and he had found one single micro-diamond. Other kimberlite-indicator-minerals (KIMs) were also included in the sample. MGS boosted their interest in the Knee-Lake area and the 2016 mapping campaign followed up on these interesting outcrops.

The Manitoba Geological survey decided to sample Knee Lake rocks in the summer of 2016 and partnered with a group of local prospectors to analyse the potential diamond hosting rocks. One of those samples, weighing in at 8-kilograms, hosted 144 micro-diamonds.

In the fall of 2016, results of these assays and the mapping campaign were released and later presented at the 2017 PDAC Convention. From these presentations and outreach by the Manitoba Geological survey, Altius Resources became interested and staked the Lynx Diamond property.

By mid-2018, Altius Minerals had invested approximately $1-million of exploration on the property, including geophysical surveys, mapping, sampling, permitting and community relations. In addition to their exploration work, Altius Minerals signed an exploration agreement in February 2018, with the Bunibonibee Cree Nation of Oxford House. Outreach and facilitation with the first nation group was aided by the Manitoba Geological Survey. Although agreements similar to this are common in other provinces and territories, this is one of the first agreements of its kind in Manitoba.

Altius Minerals is currently producing an NI 43-101 for the property to document the geological occurrence of micro-diamonds and to show the future exploration plans over the property. The Lynx diamond project is an early exploration project, with no defined resources and has yet to be drilled. Altius Minerals notes that the next stages of the project will include a drill program for microdiamond analysis and if warranted, a bulk sample to follow.

Project Title: Separation Rapids

Project Location:
Kenora district, Northwestern Ontario

Current Company Reporting:
 Avalon Advanced Materials

Government Geoscience Institution: 
Ontario Geological Survey (OGS)

Geoscience Report Published:
1. New Discovery of Rare-Element Pegmatite Mineralization, Separation Lake Area, Northwest Ontario – Breaks & Tindle, 1996

2. Summary of Activities, Ontario Geological Survey, 1994


Quite possibly one of the most direct examples of successful geological survey programming is for the Separation Rapids project in Kenora District of Ontario. The first sign of possible rare-element mineralization in the area was document in 1932. In 1994, the Ontario Geological Survey conducted follow up work to investigate the Separation Lake pegmatite geology and occurrences of REE-enriched outcrops. After the OGS published the report, prospectors picked up the property which was then acquired by Avalon Advanced Materials in 1996. The property hosted the originally named Big Whopper pegmatite, so called by the OGS geoscientist Fred Breaks who is credited with the discovery of the deposit. After a 1997 geological mapping and sampling exploration program conducted by Avalon, the property showed strong potential for lithium, tantalum, cesium and rubidium mineralization (1997 Annual Report).

 In 1999, Avalon finished a pre-feasibility study on the property focusing on the petalite endowment. The company then had to put the project on hold due to low market interest. After laying dormant for over a decade, the green energy boom and interest from glass/ceramic developers re-sparked market interest in the property. Avalon released an updated NI 43-101 report in 2016 and has since completed multiple drilling campaigns to further extend the lithium and REE mineralization. In August of 2018, Avalon Advanced Materials released a Preliminary Economic Assessment report for the property outlining stages of lithium production and plans for a 20-year mine life.

Project Title: Foxtrot Deposit, Port Hope Simpson (PHS) REE District

Project Location: 
South-east Labrador, Newfoundland & Labrador

Current Company Reporting: Search Minerals Inc.

Government Geoscience Institution: Geological Survey of Newfoundland and Labrador

Geoscience Report Published: 

1. Gower, C.F., 2010. Geology of the St. Lewis River area (NTS sheets 03D/04 and 05; 13A/01, 02, 07 and 08), southeastern Labrador. Geological Survey, Mines Branch, Department of Natural Resources, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, Map 2010-24, Open File LAB/1566.

2. Gower, C.F., 2007. Protolith recognition of metamorphosed volcanic/volcaniclastic rocks, with special reference to the Grenville Province in southeast Labrador. In Current Research. Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Natural Resources, Geological Survey, Report 07-1, 11-23.


On April 28, 2016 Search Minerals published their third installment of a Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) for the Foxtrot REE deposit located in south-eastern Labrador. The Life of Mine (LOM) plan for the Project indicates that 4.9 Mt, at an average grade of 0.98% Total Rare Earth Elements (TREE), could be mined over a 14-year period, including open pit mining for the first eight years followed by an underground mine.

In 2009, a local group of prospectors brought their Port Hope Simpson (PHS) properties to Search Minerals` attention as they exhibited high levels of radioactivity and potential for REE mineralization; Search Minerals signed an option agreement for these properties at that time. The company then carried out an airborne radiometric and magnetic survey in the region and staked additional claims, including those in the Foxtrot area. In January 2011, the company acquired 100% of all claims and in December of 2011, the company released their first NI 43-101 resource estimate at the Foxtrot property within the PHS district. Exploration continued on the property for the next 3 years as Search Minerals compiled their own database of geological information including drilling, mapping, geophysics and geochemical analyses. In 2014, Search re-examined the Foxtrot property and the surrounding geological environment. A 2010 geological map created by the Newfoundland Geological Survey of the St. Lewis area (including PHS District and Foxtrot) became an integral piece to this re-evaluation. The company incorporated their own data, satellite imagery, magnetic and radiometric data from previous company’s assessment reports and referenced this information to Gowers’ map of the St. Lewis area. The re-examination of the geological environment, uncovered a district scale mineralized volcanic belt over 62-kilometres. The company also identified 20-25 additional prospects along the belt. Search was initially targeting REE-enriched pegmatites within the Port Hope Simpson area. After the large-scale analysis of the geological environment, the team concluded that the REE-enriched pegmatites lacked the volume necessary to explore any further. The team is now focusing efforts on the 20-25 volcanic-hosted prospects that exhibit lower grades but higher volumes; including a potential resource announcement on the Deep Fox prospect in 2019. The use of the government geological maps by Gower and the public access assessment data, in combination with their own data, allowed Search Minerals to define a whole district of mineralization. Exploration by Search Minerals is now focused on determining the REE resources at Deep Fox, Fox Meadow and their other more greenfield projects.

The completed PEA on the Foxtrot deposit means that Search Minerals can begin focussing on research for mine development. Search Minerals notes that the regional geochemical lake sediment and water sampling data from government survey programming in NFLD & Labrador will become an asset to help their environmental assessment report. These data provide some baseline levels for lake sediment and water geochemical metal concentrations prior to mining activity in the area. Companies save time and money when governments have been proactive in lake water and sediment sampling and data archiving.