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File Created: 24-Jul-1985 by BC Geological Survey (BCGS)
Last Edit:  20-Jul-2007 by Sarah Meredith-Jones (SMJ)

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NMI 092I15 Dtm1
BCGS Map 092I096
Status Producer NTS Map 092I15W
Latitude 050º 56' 28'' UTM 10 (NAD 83)
Longitude 120º 48' 50'' Northing 5645552
Easting 653585
Commodities Fullers Earth, Diatomite Deposit Types F06 : Lacustrine diatomite
Tectonic Belt Intermontane Terrane Quesnel
Capsule Geology

Fuller's earth is being mined 4.4 kilometres north of Red Lake, approximately 40 kilometres northwest of Kamloops. Mining is seasonal due to the relatively high elevation of the deposit (about 1300 metres above sea level), which results in unpredictable road conditions in the winter.

At the Red Lake deposit, diatomaceous earth material, up to 37 metres thick, occurs over a 64.8 hectare area and is part of the Pleistocene-Miocene Deadman River Formation (Chilcotin Group). The deposit, Miocene in age, consists of a massive, fine grained, white to beige-coloured rock. Physical properties are:


Density - 0.61 g/cc,

Absorption (ASTM) - 111.4 per cent,

Physical Strength - 4.8-7.9 MPa (devitrified volcanic ash)


The quarry site exposed the following section: 1.5-3.0 metres of till; 0.9-1.5 metres of white to beige volcanic ash; 0.6-1.2 metres of dark brown and grey clay; 3.0 metres of beige volcanic ash; and 0-0.6 metre of beige volcanic ash with frequent coal fragments and 0.3 metre of sparse andesitic lapilli tuff. The andesite or basalt flow basement that underlies the deposit is believed to belong to the Eocene Kamloops Group.

Fuller's earth was first mined by D.E.M. Resource Processors Ltd. with production beginning in about 1984. Production has been intermittent since then. The company, now known as Western Industrial Clay Products Ltd., trucks the material to its processing plant in Kamloops, where it is used to produce a variety of industrial and domestic absorbents, such as kitty litter.

In 1995, with support from the Explore B.C. Program, Western Industrial Clay Products Ltd. completed a program of auger drilling totalling 298.2 metres in 39 holes, geological mapping and reserve calculations. This program resulted in the definition of an ore horizon up to 6 metres thick beneath the existing pit floor, consequently allowing for a doubling of ore reserves and pit life. Unfortunately no figure of what these reserves are is provided (Explore B.C. Program 95/96 - M91).

Western Industrial Clay Products Ltd., in Kamloops, supplies half of the kitty litter market (and other domestic and industrial absorbents) in Western Canada. The company also ships products overseas. In addition, it is evaluating the marketing of "leonardite" or "humate" soil conditioner from a humic acid-bearing, carbonaceous layer which is sandwiched between two diamtomaceous earth horizons at the mine site (Mineral Exploration Review 2000, page 8). Leonardite and humate are loosely used terms covering a variety of naturally occurring lithologies with high humic acid content, including weathered (oxidized) lignite, sub-bituminous coal and a variety of carbonaceous rocks such as mudstones, shales and claystones. These raw materials are used mainly as soil conditioners, however, they also have use in wood stains, drilling fluid additives and as binder in iron pelletizing. During 2001, the company began sales of the 'Garden Treasure' line of organic potting soils using leonardite and diatomaceous earth, combined with peat and perlite from other sources.

EMPR EXPL 1996-A13; 1998; 2000-36; 2001-36
EMPR Explore B.C. Program 95/96 - M91
EMPR FIELDWORK 1987, pp. 417-419; 1988, pp. 515-518; *2000, pp. 371-
EMPR INF CIRC 1986-1, p. 68; 1991-1, p. 61; 1995-1, p. 9; 1996-1,
p. 10; 1997-1, p. 12; 1998-1, p. 13
EMPR MAP 65 (1989)
EMPR MINING 1988 p. 83
EMPR OF 1988-13; 1992-1; 1992-9; 1994-1
EMPR MER 2000, p. 8
GSC MAP 104A; 886A; 1386A; 42-1989
GSC MEM *249, p. 149
GSC OF 980
GSC P 82-1A, pp. 293-297; 85-1A, pp. 349-358; 90-1E
CANMET RPT 691, pp. 44,45