Geology of the Sustut Copper Deposit In B.C.

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 70, No. 777, 1977

G. Harper, Geologist, Falconbridge Nickel Mines Ltd., Sudbury, Ontario

The Sustut Copper deposit, 230 miles northwest of Prince George, B.C., was discovered in August of 1971. Subsequent exploration has included 56,417 feet of surface diamond drilling in 139 holes. The deposit occurs in gently dipping volcanic rocks of the Upper Triassic Takla Group, which outcrops as rugged mountains. The general Mesozoic sequence comprises some 20,000 feet of green and red basaltic to andesitic rocks. The Lower Formation is characterized by subaqueous basalt, andesite and augite porphyry flows with interbedded breccias. They were rapidly deposited in tectonic depressions of limited extent and steep gradients. Fades changes are abundant. The Middle Formation consists of volcaniclastic rocks made up of fragments from the underlying formation. Two cycles are discernible, both with basal turbiditic, tuf-faceous sandstone and shale units overlain by massive, volcanic conglomerates exhibiting graded and cross bedding. A broader, shallower-water basin is indicated. The top of the uppermost unit was subaerially deposited. The Upper Formation is a variable sequence of volcanic sedimentary rocks. Detritus was supplied from a wide source area and included multiple reworked fragments of the lower formations and material from other rock groups known in the region. Zeolite fades metamorphism is recognized throughout the entire sequence. Epidote is particularly abundant in the Middle Formation, demonstrating the results of metasomatism. The mineralized zone is approximately concordant with the strata over 100-200 feet of the Middle Formation succession. It lies just below the zone of transition from subaqueous to subaerial deposition in the top unit. Hematite, chalcocite, pyrite, bornite, chalcopyrite and native copper are disseminated throughout all sizes of lithic fragments and matrix. Concentration into the specific zone is believed, to be due to upward leaching of copper during low-grade metamorphic and metasomitic reaction. Precipitation occurred in the zone of hydration characterized by prehnite-pumpellyite below the oxidized subaerial rocks.
Keywords: Sustut, Copper, British Columbia, Exploration, Volcanic succession, Folding, Faulting, Alteration, Strata-bound deposits, Ore genesis.