Abstract

A successful method of mineral exploration in glaciated terrain is the use of indicator minerals recovered from carefully selected glacial sediments, and subsequently traced back to their bedrock source. The successful application of indicator mineral methods relies on efficient and effective recovery as well as the correct identification of a wide variety of indicator minerals. The Geological Survey of Canada (GSC) has developed protocols for ongoing and future research projects to achieve the highest quality for reporting indicator mineral data. Such protocols include the use of field duplicate samples, blank samples, and base material spiked with known numbers, morphologies, species, and sizes of indicator minerals. Field duplicate samples serve to estimate sediment heterogeneity. Spiked samples are used to monitor the accuracy of the sample processing and mineral identification methods for recovering specific minerals. Blank samples serve to detect potential carry-over contamination. In certain instances, a specific sample processing order is essential and should be communicated to the commercial processing laboratory. Ore-rich samples collected near known mineralization are to be processed last, to reduce chances of carry-over contamination. Repeated indicator mineral counts should be carried out on at least 10% of the heavy mineral concentrates to measure reproducibility (precision) of the mineral counts. All indicator mineral data, original laboratory reports, heavy mineral concentrates, unmounted picked grains, and grain mounts are now archived at the GSC, using specific guidelines.

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