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Ministry of Energy Mines and Responsible for Core Review

GeoFile 2010-3:  Vermiculite Resources of British Columbia, Canada:  Geology, Market Review and Economic Potential

by G.J. Simandl, S. Paradis, L. Simandl and J. Dahrouge  

View GeoFile 2010-3 (PDF, 31 MB)


Expanded vermiculite is used as a lightweight aggregate in concrete, an additive in a variety of acoustic, thermal and fire insulation products, in soil conditioning, as a fertilizer or insecticide carrier, and in absorbent packing, paints and sealants. It is also used in refractory gunning and castable mixes, in vermiculite dispersions and in replacing asbestos in brake linings, primarily for the automotive market.


There is currently no vermiculite produced within the province of British Columbia. Only four localities in the BC MINFILE list vermiculite as a commodity. High concentrations of vermiculite were encountered adjacent to the Hodgie Rare Earth Zone, previously discovered by Commerce Resources Inc. in the Blue River area. This occurrence has above average vermiculite and higher grade than other known vermiculite occurrences in the province. Reconnaissance-level field observations, in-house particle-size analyses and rudimentary laboratory scale exfoliation tests are encouraging. They indicate that detailed chemical and mineralogical studies are the next logical step in the assessment of this and other vermiculite occurrences in the Blue River area. Chemical analyses are required to establish the trace-element levels in the vermiculite-bearing material, to ensure that it does not contain elevated levels of environmentally sensitive substances. Mineralogical follow-up should establish the absence or presence of asbestiform particles. The presence of such particles would negatively impact the development of this vermiculite resource.


If the outcomes of the above-recommended tests justify more rigorous laboratory and field investigations, then these occurrences of the Blue River area have the potential to become significant commercial sources of vermiculite. 


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