Classifying mineral potential in support of land-use policy decisions in British Columbia, Canada
British Columbia covers a vast segment of the Cordillera Mountain system that is richly endowed with a diversity of resources. British Columbia's historic patterns of resource development increasingly have been in conflict with demands for greater environmental protection. To avoid such conflicts, a recently legislated process that provides for detailed mineral resource assessments in candidate park areas has stimulated the creation of a mineral potential classification system for use in land-use planning and policy decisions.
A mineral potential study of the Chilko Lake Planning Area provided three unique categories of field data on which to build the classification system. These categories are geological setting, geochemistry, and mineral occurrences. Data in each category were compiled independently to provide indicators of mineral potential. The field data were used to develop a widely understood classification of mineral potential. The classification is based on two factors: favorability and degree of confidence.
Favorability refers to how field data satisfy criteria for established mineral deposit models. A greater degree of confidence in the mineral potential rating is achieved as more data categories are determined to be favorable. A mineral potential map shows the classification ratings.
The classification conveys to land-use planners all the concepts necessary to appreciate mineral potential designations. It is used to produce a concise map highlighting zones worthy of exploration by industry. The interpretive display maintains broad appeal, but by adapting data to a geographic information system, more detailed interpretations are possible. Geophysical data can also be accom-modated by expanding the system. Qualitative descriptions of each mineral potential category describe the likelihood for future exploration activities as a measure of expected land use. The relation between resource values and land-use activities has been confirmed by industry follow-up in the area.
Key wordsMineral potential Land use British Columbia Geology Geochemistry Mineral deposits
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