Authors: Eccles, D.R.
The geological setting of Phanerozoic rocks in northern Alberta is similar to many productive metalliferous districts in the world, where formation or emplacement of mineral deposits is often controlled, in part, by coeval volcanism and extensional faults or fracture zones associated with regional fault systems, arches and other structural zones that transect overlying Phanerozoic cover rocks. Selected examples, include: Early Cambrian marine black shale Ni-Mo deposits of south China (Fan, 1983; Coveney and Chen Nansheng, 1991; Ni-Zn stratiform mineralization in the Devonian marine black shales of the Nick Basin, Yukon, Canada (Hulbert, 1996); highly brecciated, Middle Devonian dolomite-hosted Zn-Pb deposits at Pine Point, North West Territories, Canada (Sangster, 1996); Ordovician through Lower Mississippian Carlin Trend Au deposits in Nevada, United States (Teal and Jackson, 1997); and the late Permian, Kupferschiefer-type Cu shales in Poland (Oszczepalski, 1989). In addition, a compilation by Pasava (1993), reported the presence of platinum group element accumulations from marine black shales of China, Canada, United States, Czech Republic, Finland, Poland and Russia. The metal-bearing, sedimentary deposits are often characterized by unique metal associations, extensive lateral distribution, persistent metal grade, mineralogical makeup, and stratigraphic control that provide the economic geologist with a number of conceptual models for mineral exploration in basin environments, including the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin.
Recent (1990s, minerals exploration and geological studies in the Phanerozoic succession of northern Alberta have documented anomalous amounts of Au, Ag, Pt, Pd and several base metals that exist, at least locally, in the Cretaceous, Jurassic and Devonian strata of northern Alberta. Potential also exists for economic concentrations of co-product metals, such as Ti, Zr, Al, Cr and Au from oil sand tailings, and V and Au from the Clear Hills Iron Deposits. Subsequent interest by local, national and international companies have requested a uniformly organized and up-to-date collation of information on mineral occurrences in the Province of Alberta. The objective of this synthesis is to highlight geological anomalies and target areas from previous geological studies and minerals exploration of the Phanerozoic strata north of Latitude 55N, Alberta. The compilation does not include mineral occurrences previously documented in the Helikian-Aphebian- and Archean-aged rocks, or the areas underlain by the exposed Precambrian Shield and Athabasca Group sandstone.