Upper Fir Niobium/Tantalum Deposit Field Trip, June 23rd, 2018


On Saturday June 23rd a field trip sponsored by the Mineralogical Association of Canada (MAC) and offered in conjunction with the inaugural Resources for Future Generations Conference in Vancouver paid a visit to Commerce Resources’ Upper Fir carbonatite-hosted niobium (Nb) and tantalum (Ta) deposit located near Blue River, B.C.

The Upper Fir is one of the largest and best-studied Nb/Ta deposits in the world, hosting an NI 43-101 compliant resource of 48.4 million tonnes (indicated category) averaging 1,610 ppm Nb2O5 and 197 ppm Ta2O5 plus 5.4 million tonnes (inferred category) averaging 1,760 ppm Nb2O5 and 191 ppm Ta2O5.

The site visit was organized and led by Dr. Alexei S. Rukhlov, P.Geo. of the British Columbia Geological Survey (BCGS), Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, and participants included the Canadian Museum of Nature’s Dr. Paula Piilonen, who is also currently president of the MAC. Commerce Resources was represented by Justin Schroenn and Mike Hodge (now also the president of Saville Resources Inc.), who has been an integral member of the Upper Fir deposit’s exploration team since initially hand-staking Commerce’s Blue River set of Nb/Ta claims in 1999.

Download your free copy of the Field trip guidebook to the Upper Fir carbonatite-hosted Ta-Nb deposit, Blue River area, east-central British Columbia (GeoFile 2018-6) from the British Columbia Geological Survey website (PDF, 7.9 MB).

Fig. 12 from the BCGS Upper Fir field trip guidebook, showing the field trip itinerary.
Fig. 12 from the BCGS Upper Fir field trip guidebook, showing the field trip itinerary.
“Field trip guidebook to the Upper Fir carbonatite-hosted Ta-Nb deposit, Blue River area, east-central British Columbia” (GeoFile 2018-6), published by the BCGS
Calcitic carbonatite under blue light. Photo by Dr. P.C. Piilonen, MAC
Calcitic carbonatite under blue light. Photo by Dr. P.C. Piilonen, MAC
Upper Fir drill core examined under blue light. The left drill core is calcitic carbonatite, the right dolomitic. Photo by Dr. P.C. Piilonen, MAC
Upper Fir drill core examined under blue light. The left drill core is calcitic carbonatite, the right dolomitic. Photo by Dr. P.C. Piilonen, MAC
Dr. Craig Rugless examining carbonatite drill core from the Upper Fir. Photo by J. Schroenn, Commerce Resources
Dr. Craig Rugless examining carbonatite drill core from the Upper Fir. Photo by J. Schroenn, Commerce Resources
Upper Fir core shack, Blue River B.C. Photo by Dr. P.C. Piilonen, MAC
Upper Fir core shack, Blue River B.C. Photo by Dr. P.C. Piilonen, MAC
Field trip participant consulting the BCGS Upper Fir guide book. Photo by Dr. A. Rukhlov, BCGS
Field trip participant consulting the BCGS Upper Fir guide book. Photo by Dr. A. Rukhlov, BCGS
Dr. Rukhlov and Paul Slezak search for liberated pyrochlores and zircons. Photo by Mike Hodge, Saville Resources
Dr. Rukhlov and Paul Slezak search for liberated pyrochlores and zircons. Photo by Mike Hodge, Saville Resources
Dr. Rukhlov and BCGS colleague Holly Arnold enjoying lunch at stop number four (bulk sample pit number one). Photo by Dr. P.C. Piilonen, MAC
Dr. Rukhlov and BCGS colleague Holly Arnold enjoying lunch at stop number four (bulk sample pit number one). Photo by Dr. P.C. Piilonen, MAC
Dr. Craig Rugless, Technical Director, Pathfinder Exploration Pty Ltd. Photo by Dr. P.C. Piilonen, MAC
Dr. Craig Rugless, Technical Director, Pathfinder Exploration Pty Ltd. Photo by Dr. P.C. Piilonen, MAC
Examining Upper Fir material between stops three and four. Photo by J. Schroenn, Commerce Resources
Examining Upper Fir material between stops three and four. Photo by J. Schroenn, Commerce Resources
Upper contact, bulk sample pit one. Photo by J. Schroenn, Commerce Resources
Upper contact, bulk sample pit one. Photo by J. Schroenn, Commerce Resources
Dr. Rukhlov speaking at the upper contact of bulk sample pit number two (stop number two). Photo by Dr. P.C. Piilonen, MAC
Dr. Rukhlov speaking at the upper contact of bulk sample pit number two (stop number two). Photo by Dr. P.C. Piilonen, MAC
Upper Fir, between stops three and four. Photo by Dr. A. Rukhlov, BCGS
Upper Fir, between stops three and four. Photo by Dr. A. Rukhlov, BCGS
Gabriel Fortin from the BCGS and Dr. Piilonen treking to stop number four. Photo by Dr. A. Rukhlov, BCGS
Gabriel Fortin from the BCGS and Dr. Piilonen treking to stop number four. Photo by Dr. A. Rukhlov, BCGS
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