Elk Creek carbonatite

Region Central, North Central
Mineral systems
Deposit types
Critical minerals
Other minerals

Information leading to the delineation of this focus area

Basis for focus area Deposit type and basic geology: carbonatite stock is enriched in Nb, Sc, Ti, and REE.
Identified resources Indicated niobium, scandium, and titanium.
Production Unknown.
Status Currently in post-feasibility study stage of development.
Estimated resources Indicated resources: ~91 Mt @ 0.66% Nb2O5; 598,400 t @ 2.59% TiO2; 6,300 t @ 70 g/t Sc (Vathavooran and others, 2017). A 2019 NI 43-101 compliant technical report, based on an assumption of processing over a 36-year life of mine, to produce 168,861 tonnes of Nb in the form of ferroniobium, 3,410 tonnes of Sc2O3 and 418,841 tonnes of TiO2 (Brown, Dougherty and others, 2019).
Geologic maps Deposit is buried under ~200 m of Paleozoic sedimentary cover.
Geophysical data Inadequate aeromagnetic and aeroradiometric coverage.
Favorable rocks and structures Carbonatite host rock that intruded the previously existing Midcontinent Rift System at a place where the rift has a jog/break, however existing aeromagnetic data are too poor to evaluate this possibility.
Deposits Elk Creek Carbonatite (USMIN Site_ID: NE00002).
Evidence from mineral occurrences USMIN.
Geochemical evidence No data.
Geophysical evidence Gravity high and complex magnetic patterns.
Evidence from other sources No data.
Comments The carbonatite is composed predominantly of dolomite, calcite and ankerite, with lesser chlorite, barite, phlogopite, pyrochlore, serpentine, fluorite, sulfides and quartz. Niobium is contained primarily within the mineral pyrochlore, and rare earth element (REE) mineralization is reported to occur as bästnasite, parisite, synchysite and monazite (Vathavooran and others, 2017).
Cover thickness and description Covered by ~200 m of Paleozoic sedimentary cover.
Authors Benjamin J. Drenth.
New data needs High resolution geophysics.
Geologic mapping and modeling needs Not necessary-covered resource.
Geophysical survey and modeling needs Need Rank 1 aeromagnetic data across this region to evaluate carbonatite signature in a regional structural context, gravity data are also very important.
Digital elevation data needs Lidar adequate, but not needed (concealed).