Geoscience and Exploration

Inventory of Donated Historical Northwest Territories Exploration and Mining Records

Thursday, November 22, 2018 - 15:40 to 15:59 Theatre 1


E. Palmer (Presenting)
NWT Geological Survey

S. Cairns
NWT Geological Survey

The Northwest Territories Geological Survey (NTGS) has an inventory of donated geological records from past exploration projects and closed mines. This inventory represent millions of dollars of exploration and mining information and contains original data, such as field notes and maps, air photos, drill logs, assay results, onion skin drawings, linen maps, photographs, annual reports, news clippings, and press releases. Although the majority of the records are from the 1970s and 1980s, some information dates back to the mid-1930s. Over the years the NTGS has stored these donated hardcopy files in a warehouse, which is not ideal for long-term preservation or client accessibility. In 2015, the NTGS initiated the development of a database so that the information in the exploration archives could be easily accessed to support future geoscience research and exploration in the Northwest Territories (NWT). Currently, the whole collection has been scanned and catalogued within a spreadsheet. Plans include incorporating this database into the existing suite of NTGS Web applications.

Donations to this collection have come from many sources. However, some of the larger portions of the collection consist of reasonably complete records from major NWT mining companies including Cominco, Giant, Westmin, and Echo Bay. The donated materials from these companies include detailed mapping of mine workings and onsite brownfields exploration drilling. Perhaps the most exciting is the inclusion of exploration reports and evaluations from company geologists evaluating prospects and properties presumably offered for option, or under company exploration. The data consists of all manner of exploration work including geophysics, geochemistry, prospecting, and mapping on an remarkable number of NWT prospects, some with familiar names, others less so. Much of the work focuses on gold (Au), lead-zinc (Pb-Zn), silver (Ag), and uranium (U), however, there are entries describing work done looking for nickel (Ni), cobalt (Co), tantalum (Ta), beryllium (Be), lithium (Li) and many other commodities. Most of this collection was never filed for assessment work, and this release constitutes the first time this data has been publicly accessible. For project generators, it is an enormous archive of geological data and insights with the potential to provide a historical leg up for a modern exploration program.