The Kemess Underground (KUG) gold-copper project, 430 km northwest of Prince George, B.C. Credit: AuRico Metals.
Despite the weakened metal markets of the past few years, B.C. is still a magnet for mineral explorers and mine developers. The following are six such companies with active programs covering all stage of upstream activity.
MGX Minerals has thrown itself headlong into the emerging industrial minerals subsector with its portfolio of magnesium, lithium and silicon projects throughout B.C. and Alberta, and a mandate to develop large-scale industrial mineral operations.
In January 2017, MGX reported that it had extracted lithium from heavy oil wastewater as part of optimization for completion and deployment of a pilot plant in support of its 4,870 sq. km Alberta lithium project.
The company says its patent-pending process for extracting lithium and other valuable minerals from oil brine is “the first of its kind, reducing production time of lithium from brine by 99% compared with conventional lithium brine production times that use solar evaporation,” and that process time is lowered from 18 months to one day using its process.
In December 2016, MGX said it had become Canada’s largest lithium brine landholder at 4,868 sq. km, and that it holds permits covering over 1 million barrels per day of brine production by various oil field operators throughout Alberta, including some of the highest levels of lithium-bearing brine, up to 140 mg per litre.
At Driftwood Creek in B.C., 164 km north of Cranbrook, MGX says it is building North America’s next magnesium oxide mine, having recently secured a 20-year mining lease, completed a 100-tonne bulk sample and released a maiden resource estimate. Measured and indicated resources total 8 million tonnes grading 43.3% magnesium oxide (MgO) with another 846,000 tonnes of inferred material at 43.2% MgO.
MGX notes that most of this open-pittable resource is less than 100 metres from surface and open along strike and at depth.