Skip to main content

Skip to navigation

The access keys for this page are:

Ministry of Energy Mines and Responsible for Core Review

GeoFile 2010-8:  Serpentine-hosted Nickel Deposit Potential in BC

by Z.D. Hora


View GeoFile 2010-8 (PDF, 2.8 MB)


A number of opaque nickel minerals (sulphides, arsenides and antimonides, as well as NiFe alloys) can occur as a by-product of serpentinization of ultramafic rocks, a variety of phases of Fe, Ni and Co minerals originate as these metals are released from the oxide-silicate-bound olivine structure.  In British Columbia, "some nickeliferous sand" was identified in alluvial gold from Fraser River in 1888, and Bridge River, awaruite (Ni3Fe) on Wheaton Creek (with native Cu nuggets) in Cassiar District (Holland, 1940), Letain Creek (Krishnarao, 1964) and awaruite in Yukon from Pelly River in 1908.  In Cassiar asbestos deposit, O'Hanley et al. (1992) listed pentlandite and heazlewoodite.  Recent discoveries of several coarser awaruite zones have been reported over a large tract of ultramafic rocks in the area between Fort St. James and Ogden Mountain (First Point Minerals, 2009).  Awaruite is also reported in 2008 from Dease Lake area in northern BC.  Hard Creek Nickel - Turnagain Project in a serpentinized Alaskan type ultramafic intrusion contains some Ni minerals with low sulphur content like millerite and heazelwoodite (Hard Creek Nickel, 2009), the typical serpentinization products.


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 (B.C. residents only).