GeoScience BC released the results of their most recent mineral survey. Close to 20% of Northern Vancouver Island was covered. The village of Tahsis and parts of Regional District A, in the Strathcona Regional District (SRD), are within this area. Thirty-five new claims were staked within a month of this information being made public. On Feb 26, 2020, GeoScience BC made a presentation to the SRD Board.
Encouraging Mineral Exploration
Then Jim Abram, Regional Director Discovery Islands-Mainland Inlets, had them scroll back to the beginning of their slide show, “Encouraging mineral exploration, that’s what the group is all about, right?”
Cliff replied, “Yes, that’s one of our missions, to help encourage mineral exploration.”
Well Received By Industry
In their handout, the organization boasts that “For every $1 spent on Geoscience BC minerals research, there is $6.60 invested in mineral exploration.”
There are also some recommendations from industry.
“This high-resolution airborne geophysical data… will be key to new mineral exploration and potential discovery creating economic benefits to communities, businesses and First Nations.” said Greg Neeld, President & CEO, Hawkeye Gold and Diamond Inc. (TSX.V: HAWK)
“The publicly available data from this project is used and valued by all types of AME members, from grassroots prospectors to multinational mining corporations – as well as by the communities and Indigenous groups in the research area,” said Kendra Johnston, President & CEO, AME (Association for Mineral Exploration).
An Indigenous Recommendation
Dallas Smith, President of the Nanwakolas Council Board of Directors, agrees, “I am confident that Geoscience BC’s Vancouver Island North Regional Project’s high-resolution, public geoscience data will bring new mineral exploration interest and investment to the Island.”
Do People Want It?
“So this process is information gathering for people who are interested in doing this sort of work, but I would hope they still have to go through a massive public process to find out whether people want it. You are talking about everything from small mineral explorations to major industrial mines,” said Abram.
Cliff responded, “Yes, the same process applies. The work we did covered the whole area that you see on the map. What we did was a helicopter survey. We collected all the data, and made it publicly available. Geologists and Geophysics can now take that data and use it how they like because we provide it all for free. If someone stakes an area and they find something that really interests them, they still have to apply for all the permits, work within the regulations and do what the permit tells them to do.”
“With the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Resources, if that is still their name, we have absolutely nothing to say … We get notified. Whether it fits into our community plan is not considered. There is a bit of a problem there, as far as I am concerned,” said Abram.
Two Campbell River Directors Respond
“I applaud you for your efforts. The basic information provided by the government isn’t far enough down (Vancouver Island) in detail to get people to invest in that next stage of exploration. The information you provided makes it a heck of a lot more financially viable,” said Director Charlie Cornfield.
He mentioned potential benefits to the Campbell River area, including training programs at the community college.
“Thanks for the presentation. It is really exciting to see this happen … Two questions. What sort of things did you find? And, in terms of the present political climate … how optimistic are you that anything is going to happen?” said Director Ron Kerr.
Cliff mentioned a number of promising mineral signatures, adding “you don’t really know until you actually put your boots on the ground and start chipping away at rocks.”
EVs Use 5 Times More Copper Than Gas Cars
“In reference to the political climate, it is hard to say what is going to happen. Hopefully, this will lead to some sort of economic development … Things you have to consider when you think about mining, especially in Canada, is that right now an electric car takes five times more copper than a fuel combustion vehicle and copper is one of the principal minerals you find on the island,” he said.
“Beyond that, I don’t know how other countries mine their materials. They may not be as environmentally sound as what we can do here, are capable of, or have been legislated to do. Big companies like Apple are looking for more sourced copper resources. They are looking at places like Canada that have these resources available, can do it responsibly and do it well.”
What Sort Of Things Are You Trying To Detect?
One of the new mineral claims is less than ten miles north of the village of Tahsis.
Director Miles Davis, representing Tahsis, asked, “When you do these geomagnetic surveys, what sort of things are you trying to detect?”
“The magnetic survey that we did … basically detects iron, but it really tells us … where the rocks change. You aren’t really seeing iron, you are seeing the amount of iron in the different kinds of rock. When you look at this particular image and see the circle in the middle, that would be low magnetism surrounded by high magnetism. This probably means something happened in the middle that destroyed the magnetism. That’s what we are looking for, places where the magnetism goes from high to low very quickly,” said Cliff.
“In this survey we also collected radiometric data, the natural radiation that is emitted from rocks. We can tell the difference from three different minerals from that radiation: uranium, thorium and potassium. The one we are interested in is potassium …. The question becomes: does it have any precious metals associated with it? Is it barium? Or is it copper?”
Are You The Only Company Doing Explorations Like This?
Director Leigh asked if GeoScience BC is the only company conducting surveys like this? What about large oil and mineral companies?
“Other companies doing work like this will usually do it within their claims. A large claim block might be 50 square kilometres. The area we just covered was over 6,000 km,” said Cliff.
Geoscience BC’s core funding is received from the Province of British Columbia’s Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources. This funding leverages significant additional partner funding and contributions from other sources.