Nahanni Mineral and Energy Resource Assessment (MERA2)
Principal Investigator: Falck, Hendrik (8)
Licence Number: 13839
Organization: Geological Survey of Canada
Licensed Year(s): 2005 2004
Issued: Jun 09, 2005
Project Team: Dr. Peter Friske (Supervisor Streams Seds Sampling, GSC Ottawa), Dr. Steve Grasby (Supervisor Water Sampling, GSC Calgary), Dr. Rob Shives (Supervisor Geophysics , GSC Ottawa)

Project Description: Parks Canada would like to expand the existing Nahanni National Park Reserve. Before this can be done, mineral and energy resource assessment (MERA) study is needed for the Greater Nahanni Ecosystem so that mineral deposits or oil fields that could provide jobs and wealth for Northerners and Canadians are not overlooked. This study has five main steps: 1) Review all available bedrock geology maps, geophysics, geochemistry, satellite images, petroleum files and mineral deposit data for the area; 2) Visit the known mineral deposits, mapping the rocks and collecting small hand samples to analyze in the lab. Two to four geologists would spend 1-3 days at each deposit; 3) Collect samples of sands and muds from streams and rivers. The field team would choose a sampling location on a grid plan, with a sample site every 13 km2. They will take a couple of shovels-full of stream sediments at each location. Any metals in the valley will show up in the sediment; 4) Two hydrogeologists would use spring water samples to help understand the geology. The chemicals in the water provide clues as to what minerals the water dissolved along its path; 5) Rocks hosting metal deposits often have minerals that can be recognized because they are magnetic, can conduct electricity, or are radioactive. A geophysicist will use an instrument in a helicopter to measure these properties and show the areas of possible mineral deposits in a map. Three main areas will be surveyed: 1) the area of the Cantung, Howard’s Pass, and Lened deposits, 2) near the Caribou River, and 3) near the Prairie Creek deposit.

Where possible, roads would be used to get to the study sites but most need helicopter access. The researchers will be employing a northern student (Yellowknife) who is working on her Masters of Science degree in Earth and Environmental Sciences. The researchers also need at least one local field assistant from the Deh Cho region.

The preliminary results will be presented at the Geoscience Forum in Yellowknife in December 2005. The results will be published as a GSC Open File by April 2006. The researchers will visit the communities as part of Parks Canada's consultation groups.
The study will be conducted within the Greater Nahanni Ecosystem, in the southwestern part of the Sahtu Settlement Area and the northwestern Deh Cho Region.