British Columbia Ministry of Energy, Mines and Natural Gas and Responsible for Housing
News | The Premier Online | Ministries & Organizations | Job Opportunities | Main Index

MINFILE Home page  ARIS Home page  MINFILE Search page  Property File Search
Help Help
File Created: 24-Jul-1985 by BC Geological Survey (BCGS)
Last Edit:  15-May-2020 by Karl A. Flower (KAF)

Summary Help Help

NMI 083D6 Cb1, Vm1
BCGS Map 083D035
Status Developed Prospect NTS Map 083D06E
Latitude 052º 23' 58'' UTM 11 (NAD 83)
Longitude 119º 09' 21'' Northing 5807654
Easting 353331
Commodities Niobium, Tantalum, Phosphate, Uranium, Rare Earths, Vermiculite Deposit Types N01 : Carbonatite-hosted deposits
Tectonic Belt Omineca Terrane Kootenay
Capsule Geology

The property is located in the North Thompson River Valley, approximately 60 kilometres south-southeast of the town of Valemount.

The property is underlain by Proterzoic Horsethief Creek Group metasedimentary rocks and derived gneisses. Medium to coarse crystalline sovite and beforsite carbonatite sills intrude the Horsethief Creek rocks.

In British Columbia, carbonatites are found in a broad zone parallel to and encompassing the Rocky Mountain Trench, extending from the Elkford area northward to Williston Lake. Occurrences within this belt have been subdivided into three sub-belts. Most carbonatite occurrences are found in the central belt, which is predominantly within the Omineca Belt of the Canadian Cordillera and hosts most known stratiform carbonatites in the area between Revelstoke and Valemount. Within this northwest-trending belt, a number of carbonatite layers containing anomalous strontium, niobium, tantalum and rare earth elements occur within the Semipelite-Amphibolite division of the Hadrynian Horsethief Creek Group in the Monashee Mountains near Blue River (Fieldwork 1984). All of these carbonatites have sodic pyroxene and amphibole-rich fenitic margins and are associated with nepheline and sodalite syenites, urtites to meltergites. The time of emplacement of these carbonatites appears to be prior to the deformation and metamorphism associated with the Jura-Cretaceous Columbian orogeny and, in part, related to extension and/or rifting along the western continental margin. A third major extensional event at the end of the Devonian (circa 350 Ma) resulted in the intrusion of carbonatites. Carbonatites and surrounding metasedimentary rocks have been regionally metamorphosed to upper amphibolite grade (kyanite to sillimanite zone; Open File 1987-17; Bulletin 88).

The Verity carbonatite is easily reached by trails and logging roads that cross the North Thompson River and intersect Highway 5 at Lempriere Station, approximately 40 kilometres north of Blue River. This showing has the most varied stratigraphy of all the carbonatites in the area and is similar texturally and compositionally to the Paradise showing (083D 006) and the Lempriere carbonatite showing (083D 028). The Verity also contains the best mineralization of the Blue River carbonatites.

Carbonatite, consisting of banded beforsite and sovite (locally intruding each other), occurs as a 15 to 30-metre thick sill within quartz-hornblende-mica schist and can be traced from the Specimen pit up the hillside for 800 metres to the east-northeast. It likely continues to the Paradise showing, 4.5 kilometres to the east-northeast. A tectonic breccia showing hairline fractures is common in the beforsite. A banded texture caused by layering of the accessory minerals apatite, amphibole, olivine, magnetite, vermiculite, biotite, pyrite, pyrrhotite, pyrochlore, columbite and zircon is common in the sovite unit and less developed in the beforsite unit. Coarse olivine and apatite in sovite units form bands 1 to 5 centimetres thick. Magnetite occurs as discontinuous lenses in sovite layers up to 20 centimetres in diameter. The pyrochlore and columbite crystals occur as octahedrons up to 4 centimetres. The major elements in pyrochlore are sodium, tantalum, niobium and calcium, and locally minor uranium. The major elements in columbite are niobium and iron.

The Blue River property was originally staked in 1950 for vermiculite by O.E. French, a homesteader in the area. Later investigations by French resulted in the discovery of the pyrochlore-bearing carbonatites. In 1952, St. Eugene Mining Corporation Ltd. optioned the property and additional claims were staked. Most of the exploration work, consisting of trenching, sampling and blasting, was confined to the Verity and Mill claims. The property was dropped by St. Eugene and remained idle until June 1976, when J. Kruszewski restaked the area. In June 1978, another trenching and sampling program was conducted under the supervision of E. Myers of Calgary, Alberta, with Kruszewski's assistance. A total of 840 cubic metres of stripping was undertaken and two grab samples were taken. In 1979, Kruszewski was approached by Anschutz (Canada) Mining Ltd. and an option contract was signed in February 1980. In 1981 and 1982, the company conducted geological mapping, drilling and sampling on the Bone Creek, Fir, Mill and Verity carbonatites.

A 1.1-metre sample taken in 1952 assayed 0.6 per cent niobium, 0.095 per cent uranium and 4.85 per cent phosphate (Minister of Mines Annual Report 1952). In 1982, the highest drill intersection was 0.025 per cent uranium over 1.5 metres. The Verity carbonatite has indicated reserves of 2 million tonnes of 0.118 per cent niobium and 0.02 per cent tantalum (Assessment Report 11130). Rare earths occur in the carbonatite as indicated by assays of a sample with the following values: 0.0171 per cent lanthanum, 0.0371 per cent cerium, 0.0147 per cent neodynium, 0.0001 per cent ytterbium and 0.002 per cent scandium. This sample also assayed 0.015 per cent tantalum (Open File 1987-17, page 42). Sovites at the Verity showing also contain greater than 4 per cent phosphate and more apatite than any other carbonatite (Assessment Report 10274). The rare earths are thought to be in flurocarbonate.

The property was acquired by Commerce Resources Corporation in 2000 and was grouped together in 2002 with the company’s other carbonatite projects in the area to form the Blue River property. In 2000, Commerce Resources undertook a geological mapping and limited sampling program. Work continued the following year with prospecting, stream sediment sampling, ground geophysical surveys, soil sampling and diamond drilling. Commerce Resources Corporation drilled 410 metres over five holes in 2001 and, based on previous drilling, reported a new inferred resource of 3.06 million tonnes grading 196 grams per tonne tantalum, 646 grams per tonne niobium and 3.2 per cent phosphate (Press Release - Commerce Resources Corporation, July 25, 2001). Geophysical work in 2001 demonstrated that magnetic properties of the Verity Paradise Carbonatite Complex could be used to trace the subcrop edge and potentially locate new carbonatite occurrences.

EMPR AR 1950-223-229; *1952-115-119; 1954-111; 1968-222
EMPR ASS RPT *1630, 6741, 7236, 8216, *9566, *10274, 10955, *11130, *12361, 26550, 26733, 26796, 27131, 27412
EMPR EXPL 1978-117; 1980-149; 1981-250; 1982-127,128; 2001-33-43,73-82
EMPR FIELDWORK 1979, pp. 118–119; 1980, pp. 111–112; 1981, pp. 68–69, *1984, pp. 84–94, 95–100
EMPR MAP *22 (#33)
EMPR OF *1987-17; *1990-32
EMPR PF (Unidentified news clipping; Knox, A. (2000): Summary Report on the Blue River Carbonatite Property, from Commerce Resources Corp. website)
GSC BULL 239, pp. 121,122,150
GSC EC GEOL 16 (2nd Ed.), p. 236; *18, pp. 31–35
GSC MAP 15-1967
GSC OF 551
GSC P 89-1E, pp. 95–100
CJES 1988 Vol.25, No.8, pp. 1323–1337
PR REL Commerce Resources Corp., Jul.25, Sept.4, Oct.22, 2001, May 16, Jun.5, Jul.19, Sept.*17, 2002, Mar.5,*10, 2003
CMJ Nov.17, 2004
Canadian Mineralogist 1961, Vol.6, pp. 610–633
Pell, J. and Hora, Z.D. (1990): Rifting, alkaline rocks and related magmatic deposits in the southern Canadian Cordillera; Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Geological Survey Branch, 8th IAGOD Paper
Gorham, J. (2007-06-20): Technical Report on the Upper Fir Tantalum-Niobium-Bearing Carbonatite - Blue River Property
Stone, M., Selway, J. (2010-03-30): Independent Technical Report – Blue River Property
Chong, A., Postolski, T. (2011-01-31): NI 43-101 Technical Report - Blue River Ta-Nb Project
Chong, A., Postolski, T. (2011-09-29): NI 43-101 Technical Report on Preliminary Economic Assessment - Blue River Tantalum–Niobium Project
Chong, A., Postolski, T. (2012-06-22): NI 43-101 Technical Report on Mineral Resource Update - Blue River Tantalum-Niobium Project
Kulla, G., Postolski, T. (2013-06-21): NI 43-101 Technical Report on Mineral Resource Update - Blue River Tantalum–Niobium Project
Kulla, G., Hardy, J. (2015-02-28): NI 43-101 Technical Report on Mineral Resource Update - Blue River Tantalum-Niobium Project
Kulla, G., Hardy, J. (2015-03-18): Project Update Report - Blue River Tantalum-Niobium Project