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Ministry of Energy Mines and Responsible for Core Review

GeoFile 2007-6:  Workshop Notes: Drainage Geochemical Surveys - Stream Sediments, Lake Sediment, Moss Mats, Heavy Minerals

by Ray E. Lett


View GeoFile 2007-6 (PDF, 4.7 MB)


For many years the BC Geological Survey, jointly with the Geological Survey of Canada, has been carrying out regional geochemical drainage surveys across the province using a variety of sample types and collection techniques. The primary objective is to assist prospectors and companies to locate new mineral occurrences. Stream sediment sampling is the most commonly used method to identify areas of high mineral potential but collecting moss-sediment; lake-sediment and heavy minerals are also useful techniques to help locate hidden ore deposits.


This publication contains the material presented at the recent "Exploration 2007" workshop in Toronto, and presents different drainage sampling methods, and shows their usefulness in regional exploration for base and precious metals.

British Columbia is suited for using drainage geochemistry to find new mineral resources.  As a result the British Columbia Geological Survey started a regional stream sediment and stream water geochemical survey (RGS) in 1976 as part of the Geological Survey of Canada National Geochemical Reconnaissance Program.  This survey now covers about 70 percent of the province with field and analytical data from the collection and analysis of over 50 000 stream sediment, lake sediment and surface water samples.


Geofile 2007-6 contains the slides and notes presented as part of a workshop titled “Exploration Geochemistry – Basic Principals and Concepts” given as part of Exploration 07, the 5th Decennial International Conference on Mineral Exploration, Toronto, Canada.  The presentation aimed to illustrate examples of the survey techniques such as the design, sampling methods for stream sediment, water, lake sediment moss sediment and heavy minerals in addition to quality control procedures, sample preparation and sample analysis.


All publications of the BC Geological Survey are available digitally, free of charge, from this website.


For questions or more information on geology and minerals in British Columbia contact BCGS Mailbox or call toll free (BC Residents only).