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TitleMineral markers of base metal mineralization: progress report on the identification of indicator minerals in the fine heavy mineral fraction
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AuthorLougheed, H D; McClenaghan, M B; Layton-Matthews, D
SourceTargeted Geoscience Initiative: 2017 report of activities, volume 2; by Rogers, N (ed.); Geological Survey of Canada, Open File 8373, 2018 p. 101-108, (Open Access)
PublisherNatural Resources Canada
Documentopen file
Mediaon-line; digital
RelatedThis publication is contained in Rogers, N; (2018). Targeted Geoscience Initiative: 2017 report of activities, volume 2, Geological Survey of Canada, Open File 8373
File formatpdf
Subjectseconomic geology; surficial geology/geomorphology; mineralogy; mineral deposits; mineral exploration; exploration methods; base metals; porphyry deposits; ore mineral genesis; mineralization; heavy mineral analyses; grain size analyses; size fractionation; glacial deposits; tills; alluvial deposits; stream sediment samples; ore systems approach; indicator minerals; methodology; mineral liberation analysis
Illustrationstables; photographs; schematic representations; photomicrographs
ProgramTargeted Geoscience Initiative (TGI-5), Knowledge Management Coordination
ProgramTargeted Geoscience Initiative (TGI-5), Porphyry systems
Released2018 03 01
AbstractIndicator minerals from heavy mineral concentrates have long been used in exploration for diamonds and gold, and more recently porphyry copper and volcanic massive sulphide deposits. This study is investigating the application of rapid automated mineralogy to identify and characterize indicator minerals in till and stream sediment samples. The fine (<0.250 mm) heavy mineral fraction is well suited to automated mineralogy as a large number of mineral grains can be analyzed from an individual sample. These small grains are difficult to visually recognize using traditional microscopic methods.
The initial phase of this study has assessed methods to process and analyze the <0.250 mm heavy mineral concentrate using archived samples from three test sites. Investigations focused on identifying key areas of loss and contamination during processing and workflow, and establishing mitigating protocols. Concentrates were split into four size fractions to better represent the large number of grains in a sample. Single-use sieves were developed to reduce potential for cross-contamination. Fractions were mounted into an epoxy plug, which were quartered and remounted to capture both basal and cross-sectional planes to compensate for any density settling, prior to rapid automated scanning by mineral liberation analysis.