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File Created: 24-Jul-85 by BC Geological Survey (BCGS)
Last Edit:  15-Feb-08 by Karl A. Flower(KAF)

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NMI 092H16 Cu1
Name BRENDA, BRENDA MINE, COPPER KING Mining Division Osoyoos
BCGS Map 092H090
Status Past Producer NTS Map 082E13W, 092H16E
Latitude 49º 52' 46" N UTM 10 (NAD 83)
Longitude 120º 00' 23" W Northing 5529525
Easting 715063
Commodities Copper, Molybdenum, Silver, Gold, Zinc, Lead Deposit Types L04 : Porphyry Cu +/- Mo +/- Au
Tectonic Belt Intermontane Terrane Plutonic Rocks, Quesnel
Capsule Geology

The Pennask Mountain area is mainly underlain by a roof pendant comprising westerly younging, Upper Triassic sedimentary and volcaniclastic rocks of the Nicola Group. These are intruded and enclosed to the north, east and south by plutonic rocks of the Early Jurassic Pennask batholith and Middle Jurassic Osprey Lake batholith. Both the Nicola rocks and the Pennask batholith are unconformably overlain by Tertiary sediments and volcanics of the Princeton Group.

The Brenda copper-molybdenum deposit is within the "Brenda stock", a composite quartz diorite/granodiorite body which forms part of the Pennask batholith. Several ages and compositions of pre and post-ore dikes cut the stock. The deposit is approximately 390 metres from the contact with Nicola Group rocks to the west.

Nicola Group tuffs, volcanic breccias and flows adjacent to the Brenda stock have been altered to "schistose hornfels". This hornfels, which is as wide as 450 metres, is characterized by the development of bands and aligned lenses of felted brown to black biotite. Schistosity generally strikes roughly parallel to the intrusive contact and dips west at 30 to 70 degrees. The schistose hornfels grades westerly into recognizable west-dipping volcanic rocks which in turn are overlain by greywacke, argillite and shales.

The Brenda stock is a composite, zoned quartz diorite to granodiorite body which can be divided into two units. Unit 1 is of quartz diorite composition and contains abundant mafic minerals (hornblende > biotite) and angular quartz grains, whereas unit 2 is porphyritic granodiorite and contains fewer mafic minerals (biotite > hornblende), well-defined biotite phenocrysts and subhedral quartz grains. The contact between units 1 and 2 is generally gradational, but locally sharp. At sharp contacts, unit 2 is chilled against unit 1.

Dikes of several ages and compositions cut the Brenda stock. At least four types, aplite-pegmatite, andesite, trachyte porphyry and basalt, have been identified in the Brenda orebody. Similar dikes, as well as felsite, dacite and quartz diorite have been mapped beyond the limits of economic mineralization. The aplite-pegmatite dikes are cut by all other dikes and by all mineralized fractures. The andesite dikes have been altered and mineralized during ore formation. Two types of quartz diorite dikes are found and both are cut by quartz-sulphide veins. Dacite porphyry and felsite dikes are also cut by quartz-sulphide veins.

A trachyte porphyry dike up to 4.5 metres wide and 300 metres in strike length is exposed in the Brenda pit. A weakly mineralized vein was observed in the dike which suggested an intermineral age for the dike. Further evidence has clearly shown that the dikes cut all stages of mineralization, except some of the latest quartz veins (Canadian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy Special Volume 15). Several post-mineral hornblende lamprophyre dikes also occur within the Brenda orebody and are probably genetically related to the trachyte porphyry dikes.

Irregular, branching basalt dikes, probably related to Tertiary volcanism, have been intruded along pre-existing fault zones. They cut all phases of mineralization and alteration.

Initial potassium-argon dating of two samples from the Brenda mine area resulted in different ages for hornblende (176 Ma) and biotite (148 Ma). Interpretation of these results suggests that the Brenda stock crystallized about 176 million years ago. Biotite samples from the pit area have been dated at about 146 Ma, which probably represents the age of mineralization (Canadian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy Special Volume 15).

Faults in the Brenda pit are expressed as fracture zones in which the rock is intensely altered to clay minerals, sericite, epidote and chlorite. These fracture zones range in width from a few centimetres to 9 metres. Most strike 070 degrees and dip steeply south. Northwest-striking faults exhibit left-lateral movement. The faults transect all mineralization, except some calcite veins. Sulphides, especially molybdenite, have been smeared along fault planes. Shear zones are wider and more numerous in the north half of the pit, where they control bench limits.

The Brenda orebody is part of a belt of copper-molybdenum mineralization that extends north-northeast from the Nicola Group-Brenda stock contact. Mineralization of economic grade (0.3 per cent copper equivalent) is confined to a somewhat irregular zone approximately 720 metres long and 360 metres wide. Ore-grade mineralization extends more that 300 metres below the original surface. Lateral boundaries of ore-grade mineralization are gradational and appear to be nearly vertical.

Primary mineralization is confined almost entirely to veins, except in altered dike rocks and in local areas of intense hydrothermal alteration which may contain minor disseminations. The grade of the orebody is a function of fracture (vein) density and of the thickness and mineralogy of the filling material. The average total sulphide content within the orebody is 1 per cent or less. Chalcopyrite and molybdenite, the principal sulphides, generally are accompanied by minor, but variable, quantities of pyrite and magnetite. Bornite, specular hematite, sphalerite and galena are rare constituents of the ore. Johnson (1973), in a study of 17 samples from the deposit, reported minor pyrrhotite, mackinawite, carrollite, cubanite, ilmenite, rutile and native gold(?), as well as several secondary sulphides (Canadian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy Special Volume 15). Pyrite is most abundant in altered andesite dikes and in quartz-molybdenite veins. The ratio of pyrite to chalcopyrite in the orebody is about 1:10, with the chalcopyrite content diminishing beyond the ore boundaries.

Because mineralization is confined almost entirely to veins in relatively fresh homogeneous rock, the veins are divided into separate stages, based on crosscutting relations and their mineralogy and alteration effects on the hostrock. The vein density within the orebody is not uniform. Ranges are recorded from less than 9 per metre near the periphery of the orebody to 63 per metre and occasionally 90 per metre near the centre of the orebody. Some veins have very sharp contacts with wallrocks, but most contacts are irregular in detail where gangue and sulphide minerals replace the wallrock. A vein may show features characteristic of fracture- filling in one part and of replacement in another. Mineralized solutions were introduced into fractures and, during development of the resultant veins, minor replacement of the wallrock ensued.

The chronological stages of mineralization are as follows: (1) biotite-chalcopyrite (oldest); (2) quartz-potassium feldspar- sulphide; (3) quartz-molybdenite-pyrite; (4) epidote-sulphide- magnetite; and (5) biotite, calcite and quartz. Stages 1 through 4 are all genetically related to a single mineralizing episode, which was responsible for the orebody. Stage 5 represents a later, probably unrelated, event(s) (Canadian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy Special Volume 15). Stage 2 veins form the bulk of the mineralization in the deposit, and are the most important source of ore.

Hydrothermal alteration at the Brenda deposit generally is confined to narrow envelopes bordering veins. These alteration envelopes commonly grade outward into unaltered or weakly propylitic-altered rock. Where veins are closely spaced, alteration envelopes on adjacent veins may coalesce to produce local areas of pervasive alteration. For the most part, hydrothermal alteration at the Brenda deposit is exceptionally weak for a porphyry copper system.

Four types of alteration are recognized in the Brenda deposit, three of which are related to the mineralizing process. Two of these are potassic (potassium feldspar) and biotite, and the other is propylitic. Later argillic alteration has been superimposed on the system along post-mineral faults.

Potassium feldspar and biotite alteration generally are separated in space, but locally occur together. Both types of alteration accompanied sulphide deposition. Potassium feldspar replaces plagioclase adjacent to most stage 2 and, to a lesser extent, stage 3 veins. These irregular envelopes range in width from a centimetre or less up to a metre, with an average of about 2 centimetres. Potassium feldspar also occurs as a minor constituent of stage 1 veins.

Hydrothermal biotite replaces magmatic mafic minerals (hornblende, biotite) and, more rarely, plagioclase in hostrock adjacent to stage 2 and especially stage 3 veins. These envelopes of hydrothermal biotite range in width from less than 1 millimetre to several centimetres.

Weak to intense propylitic alteration, which is characterized by the development of chlorite and epidote, as well as less obvious microscopic sericite and carbonate, is sporadically distributed throughout the Brenda stock. Large areas within the orebody have not been propylitized and in these areas, veins with potassic alteration envelopes clearly cut across propylitized quartz diorite, indicating an early hydrothermal or even a pre-ore origin for the propylitization (Canadian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy Special Volume 15). A second period of propylitization accompanied the development of stage 4 veins and is reflected as envelopes of epidote and chlorite.

Locally intense argillic alteration is confined to post-mineral fault zones where the hostrock has been highly shattered. Kaolinite, sericite and epidote have almost completely replaced the hostrocks.

Surface weathering, which is expressed predominantly by the development of limonite, extends as a highly irregular blanket over the mineralized zone for depths ranging from a few metres to greater than 30 metres. In this weathered area, limonite stains all fractures. Fault zones have been especially susceptible to surface weathering, and the argillic alteration of these zones may be primarily the result of groundwater action. Secondary minerals developed during weathering, all highly subordinate in quantity to limonite, include malachite, azurite, hematite, ferrimolybdite, powellite and cupriferous manganese oxides. Cuprite, covellite, chalcopyrite, native copper, tenorite and ilsemannite are rare constituents.

Copper-molybdenum mineralization in the Brenda deposit was developed during several sequential stages, all of which constitute one mineralizing episode. Each stage occupies unique sets of fractures, which are filled with specific combinations of metallic and gangue minerals. Although the attitudes of veins in each stage are unique in detail, most stages include conjugate steeply dipping sets of northeast and northwest striking veins. If these veins occupy shear fractures, it is probable that they were formed by generally east-west compressive forces. Examination of the structure in the Nicola Group rocks to the west reveals that north-northwest and north trending fold axes also indicate an east-west compression. It is suggested that intermittent east-west compressional forces intensely fractured the rocks of the Brenda stock during several stages of time and tapped a hydrothermal source, either a later phase of the Brenda stock or a separate intrusive system. As each stage of fractures developed, hydrothermal fluids introduced vein material which healed the fractures. Renewed build-up of compressional forces again fractured the rocks, which were again healed. Repetition of this sequence can explain all stages of mineralization within the Brenda deposit. East-west compression continued after ore deposition ceased and produced prominent east-northeast and northwest striking shear zones (Canadian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy Special Volume 15).

The Brenda mine began production in early 1970 with measured geological (proven) reserves of 160,556,700 tonnes grading 0.183 per cent copper and 0.049 per cent molybdenum at a cutoff of 0.3 per cent copper equivalent [eCu = % Cu + (3.45 x % Mo)]. The mine officially closed June 8, 1990.

Bibliography
EMPR AR 1936-D26; 1957-34,35; 1958-64; 1965-164,165; 1966-181-184;
1967-183-211; 1968-215
EMPR ASS RPT 189, 850, 9261
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EMR MIN BULL MR 166
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GSC EC GEOL 1
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Molybdenum Mine, Peachland, British Columbia, Unpub. M.Sc. Thesis,
University of British Columbia
Times Colonist Newspaper May 20, 1989

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