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TitleGeoenvironmental characteristics of Canadian critical metal deposits
DownloadDownload (whole publication)
LicencePlease note the adoption of the Open Government Licence - Canada supersedes any previous licences.
AuthorParsons, MORCID logo
SourcePublic presentations, Environmental Geoscience Program (EGP), current status of research projects; by Jacob, N; Craven, J A; White, DORCID logo; Savard, M MORCID logo; Rivard, CORCID logo; Kao, HORCID logo; Parsons, M BORCID logo; Galloway, J MORCID logo; Geological Survey of Canada, Scientific Presentation 49, 2017 p. 78-92, Open Access logo Open Access
PublisherNatural Resources Canada
Mediaon-line; digital
RelatedThis publication is contained in Public presentations, Environmental Geoscience Program (EGP), current status of research projects
File formatpptx; pdf
ProvinceCanada; British Columbia; Alberta; Saskatchewan; Manitoba; Ontario; Quebec; New Brunswick; Nova Scotia; Prince Edward Island; Newfoundland and Labrador; Northwest Territories; Yukon; Nunavut; Canada
NTS1; 2; 3; 10; 11; 12; 13; 14; 15; 16; 20; 21; 22; 23; 24; 25; 26; 27; 28; 29; 30; 31; 32; 33; 34; 35; 36; 37; 38; 39; 40; 41; 42; 43; 44; 45; 46; 47; 48; 49; 52; 53; 54; 55; 56; 57; 58; 59; 62; 63; 64; 65; 66; 67; 68; 69; 72; 73; 74; 75; 76; 77; 78; 79; 82; 83; 84; 85; 86; 87; 88; 89; 92; 93; 94; 95; 96; 97; 98; 99; 102; 103; 104; 105; 106; 107; 114O; 114P; 115; 116; 117; 120; 340; 560
Lat/Long WENS-141.0000 -50.0000 90.0000 41.7500
Subjectsenvironmental geology; economic geology; geochemistry; mineralogy; hydrogeology; environmental studies; environmental impacts; mineral deposits; carbonatites; metals; rare earths; niobium; mining; tailings; groundwater; trace metals; uranium; thorium; radionuclides; radium; lead; limnology; geochemical analyses; St. Lawrence Columbium Mine; mitigation; Mitigation
Illustrationstables; graphs; location maps; photographs; satellite images
ProgramEnvironmental Geoscience
Released2017 02 15
AbstractIn recent years, there has been a rapid increase in the global demand for many elements used in high-tech, environmental, and/or defense applications, including antimony (Sb), cobalt (Co), indium (In), lithium (Li), niobium (Nb), rare earth elements (REE), and tungsten (W). These elements are used in a broad range of devices, including hybrid vehicles, photovoltaic cells, clean energy lighting, rechargeable batteries, mobile phones, LCD screens, and wind turbines. The term "critical metal" has been used to designate elements that are deemed essential, but whose supply is at risk because of rapid growth in demand, scarcity, political control of exports, low recycling rates, or concerns over the environmental impacts of mining (NRCan 2015).
Of all critical metals, the supply of REE is currently deemed to be most at risk because of rising global demand and recent restrictions on exports from China. Likewise, the demand for Nb is predicted to rise faster than most other elements over the next decade (>8% per annum) because of its importance in producing high-strength, low-alloy steel (EU 2014). Canada has abundant reserves of both REEs and Nb and there are currently numerous exploration projects underway across the country and several projects at the environmental assessment stage. However, our understanding of the environmental characteristics of critical metals is immature compared to that for other commodities (e.g., Au, Cu, Pb, Zn, U). Detailed geoenvironmental studies of Canadian critical metal deposits are required to assess the environmental risks associated with these resources, and to mitigate the impacts of future development activities.
This activity will provide geochemical and mineralogical data and knowledge of key geological processes controlling the environmental signature of carbonatite-hosted Nb and REE deposits. Field activities will be conducted at the former St. Lawrence Columbium Mine in Oka, QC, which is enriched in REEs and was a major Nb producer from 1961 to 1976. Research will focus on understanding groundwater-tailings reactions that control the mobilization of trace metals (Nb, REE, U, Th) and radionuclides (Ra-226, Pb-210) in seepage from mine tailings, and on the processes that control the cycling of these elements in flooded pit lakes. Outputs from this work will provide new information that can be used to assess, monitor, and manage mining impacts, and help to establish Canada as an environmentally responsible supplier of critical metals.
Summary(Plain Language Summary, not published)
The environmental geoscience program is a federal research program that aims to provide Canadians with advanced scientific information to differentiate the effects of the development of natural resources on the environment of those of natural processes. Following this mandate, the development of new geoscientific approaches is used to support the developement and responsible use of Canada's natural resources by making informed decisions while protecting Canadians and their environment. Advancing scientific understanding about natural resources development will inform policy makers and have direct implications on future decisions. To increase the program visibility, a public session was offered in May 2016 to the Earth Science Sector and other key partners from Natural Resources Canada. All the information presented during the public session is included in this Open File.

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