Manitoba

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Mineral Commodities in Manitoba

Rare Metals in Manitoba

As the essential raw materials for many high-technology applications, rare metals such as beryllium, lithium, tantalum, niobium, tin, cesium, zirconium and the rare-earth elements (REE) have considerable strategic value and are increasingly attractive targets for global exploration. Continuing strong demand for rare metals is being driven by emerging ‘green’ technologies, such as neodymium magnets for wind turbine generators and lithium-ion batteries for electric and hybrid-electric vehicles.

Worldwide examples of rare metal deposits are mostly associated with intrusions of granitic pegmatite, carbonatite or syenite, found in a variety of geological settings. Manitoba has over 40 documented rare metal occurrences, mostly associated with granitic pegmatite (with lesser carbonatite or alkaline syenite), distributed in extensive districts in both the Archean Superior province and the Paleoproterozoic Trans-Hudson orogen.

 

2016 HIGHLIGHTS

  • Manitoba Geological Survey (MGS) released the Rare Metals online tool with descriptions of Rare Metals deposits and occurrences in Manitoba (http://www.gov.mb.ca/iem/geo/raremetals/index.html)

  • MGS field work discovered a carbonatite dike swarm at Knee Lake, adjacent to the Cinder Lake alkaline intrusive complex

  • Far Resources Ltd. completed an initial drill program at its Zoro lithium property (Li-bearing pegmatite) east of Wekusko Lake

Figure 1: Geological map of Manitoba showing select rare metal deposits and occurrences

 

SUPERIOR PROVINCE

Rare metal deposits and occurrences in the Superior province of Manitoba are distributed in two major districts, broadly corresponding to the Oxford–Stull and Bird River domains. Significant rare metal occurrences are situated within or adjacent to Archean greenstone belts in both districts, typically in proximity to major faults. Host intrusions include granitic pegmatite and lesser carbonatite or alkaline syenite. Field relationships, coupled with U-Pb geochronology, indicate syn- to late-orogenic emplacement.

The Bird River domain in southeast Manitoba includes the extensive Cat Lake–Winnipeg River pegmatite field, within which granitic pegmatite intrusions define several distinct clusters or groups associated with late-orogenic plutons of pegmatitic granite. Individual pegmatite dikes are structurally controlled by dilatant sites in brittle-ductile shear zones, or rheologically competent rocks such as gabbro sills, in deformed and metamorphosed supracrustal rocks of the Bird River greenstone belt. The world-class Tanco pegmatite, located at Bernic Lake, is the most significant rare metal deposit in Manitoba. This highly fractionated lithium-cesium-tantalum (LCT)–type pegmatite contains several distinct mineralogical zones that have historically been mined for Li, Ta, Cs, Rb and Be ores. Currently, the Tanco mine produces pollucite for the manufacture of cesium formate, a high density–low viscosity drilling and completion fluid used primarily in oil and gas wells.

Figure 2: Geological map of the Bird River belt and Cat Lake–Winnipeg River pegmatite field

Rare-metal occurrences in the Oxford–Stull domain in northeast Manitoba are associated with granitic pegmatite and alkaline syenite intrusions, and lesser carbonatite dikes. LCT–type pegmatite intrusions at Gods Lake, Red Cross Lake and Red Sucker Lake may constitute a single, regionally extensive, pegmatite field.

Figure 3: Geological map of the Oxford–Stull domain

Alkaline syenite of the Cinder Lake complex, located near Knee Lake, is Manitoba’s only known occurrence of feldspathoid syenite and is associated with a radial swarm of carbonatite dikes. High-resolution aeromagnetic surveys indicate a concentrically-zoned intrusion roughly 8 km in diameter, of which only the southeast rim is exposed, suggesting considerable scope for systematic exploration. This complex has not been drill-tested.

Figure 4: Example of a possible intrusive ring complex indicated by aeromagnetic data at Cinder Lake, and a radial swarm of carbonatite dikes, (data available for free download in the GIS Map Gallery)

 

TRANS-HUDSON OROGEN

Rare metal occurrences in the Paleoproterozoic Trans-Hudson orogen are associated with granitic pegmatite, alkaline syenite and carbonatite intrusions within and around the periphery of the Kisseynew domain. This region consists mainly of high-grade metasedimentary rocks and related granitoid intrusions of Paleoproterozoic age.

The Eden Lake complex, situated at the north margin of the Kisseynew domain, includes the most significant rare-metal occurrence in the region. The complex is a multiphase magmatic breccia dominantly composed of syenite, with lesser carbonatite, granitic pegmatite and aplite. Carbonatite occurs as branching veins and dikes up to 4 m thick with halos of intense metasomatism (fenitization). Highly enriched REE, Th and U are associated with carbonatite, polymineralic veins and fenitized wallrock. Surficial exploration has been hampered by the recessive nature of the hostrocks. The complex has not been tested by systematic drilling.

Figure 5: Geological map of the Circum-Kisseynew region

Elsewhere in the Trans-Hudson orogen, alkaline syenite complexes with local strong REE enrichment have been identified at Brezden Lake and Burntwood Lake in the Kisseynew domain. LCT-type pegmatite dikes of the Wekusko Lake pegmatite field in the Flin Flon domain contain significant Li mineralization.

 

EXPLORATION POTENTIAL

Globally significant rare metal deposits, including Bayan Obo, China, and Mountain Pass, U.S.A., are associated with major carbonatite intrusions. In Manitoba, carbonatite dikes have been documented in proximity to crustal-scale faults at Paint Lake and Split Lake in the Superior boundary zone, Eden Lake in the Trans-Hudson orogen, and Oxford Lake and Knee Lake in the Superior province, suggesting potential for regional-scale carbonatite metallotects, and perhaps major intrusions, along tectonic boundaries in several geological domains.

 

SELECTED RARE METAL DEPOSITS AND OCCURRENCES IN MANITOBA

Deposit/occurrence
Ownership
Hostrock Main commodity Mineralogy Resource* or
significant results
Paleoproterozoic Trans-Hudson orogen
Wekusko Lake/Sherritt Gordon Manitoba Minerals Pty Ltd. Pegmatite Li Spd, Grt, Tur, Brl, Ap, Tlp–Lph 0.2 Mt @ 1.2% Li2O
Wekusko Lake/Zoro 1 Far Resources Ltd. Pegmatite Li Spd, Grt, Tur, Brl, Ap 1.7 Mt @ 0.945% Li2O
Wekusko Lake/Violet- Thompson
Manitoba Minerals Pty Ltd. Pegmatite Li Spd, Brl, Ap 3.3 Mt @ 1.2% Li2O
Paint Lake OPEN Carbonatite   Aln, Ap  
Wekusko Lake Royal Nickel Corporation Carbonatite   Ap, Zrn  
Eden Lake Strider Resources Ltd. Carbonatite REE Aln, Ap, Bri up to 16.8 wt.% TREO+Y2O3
Brezden Lake OPEN Syenite REE, Zr, Th Aln, Ttn up to 0.36 wt.% TREO+Y2O3
Burntwood Lake OPEN Syenite REE, Th, Zr Ap, Aln, Fl up to 0.45 wt.% TREO+Y2O3
Archean Superior province (Cat Lake–Winnipeg River pegmatite field)
Lithman One (Silver Leaf)

Pacific North West
Capital Corp.
Pegmatite Li, Be, Nb,
Ta
Brl, Ghn, Zrn, Cst, Mic, Ap, Mnz 172t Spd, 73t Lpd (past-production)
Tanco
Tantalum Mining Corp.
of Canada
Pegmatite Li, Rb, Cs,
Be, Ta
Spd, Pet, Lpd, Tur, Brl, Pol, CGM, Ap 2250t Cs, 37t Ta (2013 production)
Irgon Quantum Minerals Corp. Pegmatite Li Spd, Grt, Tur, Ap, CGM 1.1 Mt @1.51% Li2O
Lithium Two project (Eagle)
Pacific North West
Capital Corp.
Pegmatite Li Spd, Tur, Fl, Brl, CGM 0.5 Mt Spd @1.4% Li2O
Archean Superior province (Oxford–Stull domain)
Red Cross Lake W.C. Hood Pegmatite Cs Lpd, Amb, Brl, Pol, CGM up to 2.86% Cs, 1.29% Rb, 1.26% Li
Cross Lake (Liz Lithium) Alix Resources Pegmatite Li Spd, Brl, CGM, Cst  
Red Sucker Lake M. Monias Pegmatite Li Li-Ms, Spd up to 3.4% Li, 2.9% Rb, 0.5% Cs
Gods Lake (Godslith) J.C. Campbell Pegmatite Li Spd, Lpd, Fl, Ap, Brl 4.4 Mt @ 1.27% Li2O
Knee Lake-Cinder Lake Complex
T.N. Tuba Carbonatite REE Ap, Phg, Mgn, Py, Prh,
Chp, Mnz, Aln, Snc
 
Cinder Lake W. Douglas Fogwill Syenite REE Mnz, Ap, Aln  

* Resources are historical and pre-date NI 43-101; users should verify critical information
ABBREVIATIONS: CGM, columbite group minerals; Mt, million tonnes; REE, rare-earth elements; TREO, total rare-earth oxides Mineral abbreviations: Aln, allanite; Amb, amblygonite; Ap, apatite; Bri, britholite; Brl, beryl; Chp, chalcopyrite; Cst, cassiterite; Fl, fluorite; Ghn, gahnite; Grt, garnet; Li-Ms, lithian muscovite; Lpd, lepidolite; Lph, lithiophilite; Mgn, magnetite; Mic, microlite; Mnz, monazite; Pet, petalite; Phg, phlogopite; Pol, pollucite; Prh, pyrrhotite; Py, pyrite; Snc, synchysite; Spd, spodumene; Tlp, triphylite; Ttn, titanite; Tur, tourmaline; Zrn, zircon

 

MANITOBA EXPLORATION AND MINING ADVANTAGES

  • Diverse, dynamic $59 billion economy — one of Canada’s strongest and most stable

  • Flexible transportation infrastructure for shipping by rail, air, road and sea

  • Supportive business climate and highly competitive mining tax regime

  • Easily accessible geoscience and exploration data

  • World-class deposits and high mineral potential in large underexplored regions

For more information, visit the Manitoba Mining Sector Profile.

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