149. Microminerals (1990s)
By the mid-1990s, diamond exploration activity in Canada had exploded, particularly in the Canadian Arctic where the Ekati and Diavik diamond mines were developed. Indicator minerals, the sand-sized mineral grains found in the glacial sediments that cover much of Canada, were one of the key tools used to discover the diamond deposits in northern Canada.
The successful use of indicator mineral methods by the diamond exploration industry, combined with subsequent research by the Geological Survey of Canada and commercial laboratories in the 1990s and 2000s, demonstrated that tiny but visually distinct and colourful mineral grains could be used to explore for many commodities across Canada. Examples include gold, tin, base metals such as copper, lead, and zinc, strategic metals such tungsten, and specialty metals such as yttrium, niobium, and rare earth elements.
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