UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Characterization of Mineralogy in the Highland Valley Porphyry Cu District Using Hyperspectral Imaging, and Potential Applications Lypaczewski, Philip; Rivard, Benoit; Lesage, Guillaume; Byrne, Kevin; D’Angelo, Michael; Lee, Robert G.


The Highland Valley Copper (HVC) district in British Columbia, Canada, is host to at least four major porphyry Cu systems: Bethlehem (~209 Ma), and Valley, Lornex, and Highmont (~208 to 207 Ma). High spatial resolution (0.2–1.0 mm/pixel) hyperspectral imagery in the shortwave infrared (SWIR) were acquired on 755 rock samples and 400 m of continuous drill core. Spectral metrics are used to measure the relative abundance of 12 minerals and an additional metric is derived to estimate white mica grain size. In the Valley and Lornex deposits, coarse-grained white mica is associated with mineralization and is detectable up to 4 km away from the deposits. Kaolinite is present within 2 km of the mineralized centers but does not necessarily occur within strongly mineralized intervals. Prehnite is ubiquitous from 4 to 8 km from the deposits. In the Bethlehem deposit, tourmaline and epidote are associated with mineralization. We propose a spectral alteration score based on these proximal hyperspectral SWIR mineralogical patterns to assist explorers in targeting porphyry Cu systems when using drill core, surface rock samples and potentially remote sensing imagery. In a production environment, this metric could serve to facilitate ore-sorting.

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