Till prospecting for sulphide ores in the Abitibi Clay Belt of Ontario

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 72, No. 807, 1979

I. S. THOMPSON, Partner—Derry, Michener & Booth Toronto, Ontario

A program of geochemical till prospecting, carried out by Derry, Michener & Booth in 1974, was instrumental in the discovery of a copper deposit in Currie Township, Ontario, beneath thick lacustrine deposits of the Abitibi Clay Belt. The prospecting system involved the continuous collection of glacial sands and gravels beneath the clays, using a track-mounted, dual-tube rotary drill, and the separation and geochemical analysis of the heavy mineral content for Cu, Zn, Pb, Ag and Au.In one of 22 holes drilled down-ice from nine Canadian Nickel airborne EM conductors, fragments of chalcopyrite-bearing graphitic argillite, assaying 12% Cu, were recovered from a 14-foot gravel section beneath 83 feet of clay. Ultimately, mineralization was identified in 10 of 11 additional holes drilled up to 3,000 feet down-ice from the Currie deposit. The glacial fan, when compared to the 1,200- by 165-ft area of the subcropping mineralization, is at least 20 times the area of the deposit and is the result of glacio-fluvial reworking of the mineralized ground moraine.The Currie deposit is contained within a Keewatin succession of graphitic argillite, dacite tuff and gray wacke, which is intruded by dacite and feldspar porphyry sills and dykes and truncated by a Keweenawan diabase dyke. Grade and thickness of the mineralization, which lies chiefly within the argillite, is related to felsic intrusives and hydrothermal alteration, and to fold hinges.
Keywords: Exploration, Till prospecting, Sulphide ores, Abitibi Clay Belt, Geochemical exploration, Glacial deposits, Overburden drilling, Sampling, Mineralization, Currie deposit.