2012-Geoscience BC's QUEST (Quesnellia Exploration Strategy) project is a compilation of regional geochemical and geophysical surveys designed to attract mineral exploration to under-explored regions of British Columbia. The surveys are conducted using airborne and ground techniques to identify potential exploration sites for mining projects by reporting soil properties and rock density. Launched in 2007, this project covered the vast region between Willams Lake and Mackenzie.
Following the success of the original QUEST Project, Geoscience BC launched QUEST-West in June 2008. The project has identified the mineral potential of over 40,000 square kilometers from Vanderhoof to Fort St. James and Terrace to Kitimat. The QUEST-West region has excellent potential for molybdenum, copper, gold and silver mineralization.
Currently the region has two operating mines, Endako (molybdenum) and Huckleberry (copper-molybdenum) and the Mount Milligan (copper-gold) mine is under construction. The Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako, the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine, Northern Development Initiative Trust, and the BC Geological Survey have partnered with Geoscience BC on this project in an effort to assist in the diversification of forestry dependent communities.
This project is part of a multi-year initiative that has been supported through an additional investment by Northern Development for another Geoscience BC project:
"Regional geochemical data is one of the basics of the mineral explorer’s toolkit. This new data set is one of the most comprehensive collections of regional-scale stream sediment geochemical information in the province."
Wayne Jackaman, Noble Exploration Services
"The QUEST-West area is considered to have good potential for molybdenum, copper, gold and silver mineralization. These surveys are designed to stimulate more exploration industry interest in the area, and publication of the survey results will help attract and guide more exploration activities and investments."
Dr. 'Lyn Anglin, President and CEO, Geoscience BC
Positive Economic Impacts in Central and Northern BC
The results of the QUEST-West project are helping to stimulate exploration activity in central and northwest British Columbia in a region heavily impacted by the Mountain Pine Beetle infestation. The infestation has created an enormous economic challenge for British Columbia and affected forest-reliant communities throughout the province and the resulting exploration enabled by this project is leading to diversification opportunities for the communities in the region.
Geoscience BC released the results from the QUEST-West project in January 2009. The project yielded a wealth of new information to help spur mining exploration and development throughout the region.
A project update in April 2012 reports that an economic analysis of the impact of Geoscience BC’s QUEST-West Project reveals that the new geophysical and geochemical surveys stimulated significant new mineral claim staking within the year after the data was released. Mineral tenures in the QUEST-West geophysical survey area now total over 1.2 million hectares (12,000 square km), up significantly from what it was (approximately 800,000 hectares) from a previous analysis in 2010.
Furthermore, ongoing use of the QUEST-West data, and new discoveries, continue to stimulate more exploration expenditures in the QUEST-West area. Anecdotal stories told to Geoscience BC by industry colleagues indicate that lots of exploration geologists and prospectors have used, and are using, Geoscience BC’s QUEST-West data, and find it very valuable.
Geoscience BC’s QUEST-West airborne survey results, published in January 2009, contributed directly to a new discovery at the Huckleberry Mine, publicly reported by Imperial Metals in May 2010. A January 2012 article in the Prince George Citizen reported that the mine was slated to close in 2014, but is now extending its mine life for another 7 years, which will mean continuing employment for the 260 people directly and indirectly employed by the mine, as well as creating new construction jobs. In addition, the news story stated, ‘The company is anticipating spending $119 million on new equipment, including seven new mining trucks, and $82 million on construction of a dam for a new tailings pond. In addition, the company is expecting to spend over $254 million in wages over the seven year period.’
Geoscience BC’s QUEST-West project also led to a new discovery by Ellen Clements and her team at New Nadina Explorations Ltd. Data from this project, presented at a Geoscience BC workshop at Minerals North in Prince George in 2010, led Ellen to re-stake some ground around the Silver Queen deposit that she had let lapse, and then do follow-up exploration, that led to her discovery of the new ‘ITSIT’ copper-molybdenum porphyry.