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Ministry of Energy Mines and Responsible for Core Review

GeoFile 2011-10: Specialty (Rare) Metals in British Columbia, Canada

by G.J. Simandl, E.A. Prussin and N. Brown

View GeoFile 2011-10 (PDF, 37.3 MB)


GeoFile 2011-10 provides background information regarding Specialty Metals (“Rare Metals”) in British Columbia and can be considered a Specialty Metals primer for prospectors and geologists. The accompanying 1:2 000 000 scale map shows the location and geological setting of 106 rare metal occurrences. The GeoFile also lists 45 references on the subject.


Most of the primary occurrences are part of the belt-shaped British Columbia alkaline province which parallels the Rocky Mountain Trench.  They can be grouped into seven main geological categories based on the association between mineralization and host-rock or key lithological units: 1) Carbonatite/syenite-related deposits, 2) Peralkaline/alkaline intrusion-related deposits, 3) Skarns, 4) Pegmatites/granite hosted 5) Placers and paleoplacers, 6) Phosphate-hosted REE deposits and 7) Others. Aley carbonatite (niobium) and the Upper Fir carbonatite (niobium and tantalum) are the two most developed rare metal prospects approaching the feasibility study stage.
The Aley carbonatite (niobium) (094B 027) and the Upper Fir carbonatite (niobium and tantalum) (083D 035) are the two most developed rare metal prospects, approaching the feasibility study stage.  The less developed Wicheeda Lake rare earth element occurrence (093J 014) is also promising.  Carbonatite/syenite-related deposits appear to be the primary exploration targets for niobium and rare earth element exploration in British Columbia.

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).