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Ministry of Energy Mines and Responsible for Core Review

Information Circular 1990-19


High-Tech Metals in British Columbia


by Jennifer Pell and Z.D. Hora


View Information Circular 1990-19 (PDF, 700 KB)


Recent technological breakthroughs in the fields of ceramics, medicine, aerospace engineering and electronics, in particular the areas of computers and superconductors, are creating new uses for a variety of rare and minor metals.  These include zirconium (Zr), hafnium (Hf), yttrium (Y), rare-earth or lanthanide elements (REE), germanium (Ge), gallium (Ga), niobium (Nb), tantalum (Ta) and beryllium (Be). As a result, there is now considerable interest in economic deposits of these metals, however, most geologists and prospectors are unfamiliar with these commodities and the geological environments in which they occur.

With the exception of a minor amount of byproduct recovery of gallium and germanium from Cominco’s Trail smelter, none of these metals is currently produced in British Columbia. The purpose of this Information Circular is to increase awareness of these commodities and to provide the background information which will hopefully lead to new discoveries of these resources.


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).