Reports - Alberta Region

Table of contents

1.0  Description

The purpose of this regional summary is to provide regional managers and staff with an analysis of the data contained in the mineral inventory to assist in the preparation and planning for the response of Indian Bands resulting from the distribution of the report.

2.0  Inventory

The inventory is a report that comprises forty-five volumes including approximately 18,000 pages and 10,000 maps. It is entitled "Mineral Potential Indian Reserve Lands" and has been completed at the Stage I (Literature Search) level for each Indian reserve in Canada. The Stage I inventory is defined as a review and record of all available material on the geology, geophysics, geochemistry, economic geology, and past or existing mineral operations of a reserve and its surrounding area. The minerals under discussion are grouped under five main headings: metallic, non-metallic (industrial), aggregate (sand and gravel), groundwater and peat.

2.1  Alberta Report

The Mineral Potential of Indian Reserves Lands for the province of Alberta comprises 2 volumes and approximately 650 pages with 300 maps. This report was completed in March, 1989.

2.2  The Land Base in Alberta

The Mineral Potential of Indian Reserve Lands, Alberta incorporates 100 Indian reserves.

The total land base of these 100 reserves occupies approximately 668,880.1 hectares or approximately one percent of the land area of the province of Alberta.

The average area of Indian reserves in the Region is 6688 hectares. This figure is substantially higher than the national average of 1176 hectares (2907 acres) per reserve. Frequently, the area of a reserve was a significant factor in the evaluation of its overall mineral potential.

3.0  The Regional Mineral Inventory Analysis

For every reserve contained in the inventory, a computer data record sheet was prepared which captured up to 51 descriptive items of information directly from the text of the inventory itself. This systematic process enables detailed, highly accurate and varied calculations and statistical analyses to be carried out on the minerals and related activities on reserves and create summaries on a Band, Regional or national basis.

The following represents a summary of the pertinent information necessary and useful for evaluating the current Indian mineral resource environment of the Alberta Region:

3.1  Overall Ratings

The overall rating measures the economic mineral possibilities of each reserve as a whole, on low-moderate-good scale (1 - 3). Factors which affect this rating are: size of the reserve; location with respect to markets, transportation, access, value and type of commodity; social and cultural barriers to mining on certain lands and areas; marketability of a commodity at any given time, etc.

A moderate rating implies that some indications of mineral potential are present. More work on such reserves is necessary to gather technical information to determine whether a specific reserve can be rated at a higher or lower level.

The reserves have been rated for their mineral resource potential as follows:

Overall Rating No. of reserves
Low 73
Moderate 20
Good 7

3.2  Commodity Ratings With Potential

The inventory catalogues a total of 158 mineral occurrences on reserves in Alberta from all five commodity or mineral types (metallic, non-metallic, aggregate, peat and water) and comprises nearly 120 different minerals and commodities. (See Appendix 1 for mineral type definitions, and Appendix 2 for a list of minerals)

Commodity rating is an evaluation, on a clearly defined scale from one to five, of the potential of a mineral or commodity for development in terms of its geology, type, location, marketability, etc, based on the available information. This estimate is based on data collected from many sources and considers the geological surroundings of the reserves. For this reason, a known mineral occurrence on a reserve may have no value and be given a low rating, and conversely a commodity may be rated very high based on an indication of a deposit off-reserve which may extend onto reserve lands.

In order to gauge more accurately the opportunities in minerals and filter out those reserves which are considered to have low potential (at this time and given the available information), the following analysis examines those reserves with commodities rated at 3, 4 or 5 on the scale of one to five (where one is very low potential and 5 is very high):

  • The number of reserves possessing at least one commodity, rated at 3 or greater, is 20. These 20 reserves share a total of 25 commodity occurrences.
  • Of the 25 occurrences, 2 (8%) are metallic minerals; 23 (92%) are non-metallic, aggregate, or other minerals/mineral types.

3.3  Reserves at the Exploration Phase

This phase groups the myriad activities which are necessary in the detection, evaluation and measurement of deposits of minerals.

The mineral inventory report is the equivalent of Exploration Phase Stage I (literature search), which has been completed. The number of reserves in the Region which have undergone some form of subsequent exploration activity beyond Stage I is:

  Metallic Non-metallic Aggregate Peat Water
Stage II 3 15 57 1 0
Stage III 0 11 1 0 0
Stage IV 0 6 0 0 0
Stage V 0 3 0 0 0

In 1990 dollars, the value of all past and present exploration expenditures for metallic minerals is estimated at $45 thousand, and $2.3 million for non-metallic, aggregate and other minerals.

3.4  Reserves at the development phase

This phase is the step in the progression between exploration and production for a specific mineral or group of minerals where the land and the mineral deposit is prepared for the actual mining operations. This activity may range from tree cutting, fencing, and stripping of topsoil to detailed drilling programs, shaft and adit sinking, open pit excavations, etc.

Many reserves have experienced some form of development work related to their mineral resources. Some of those have been proven to have little or no mineral potential as a result of information derived from such work, or work was discontinued due to outside influences such as company failures or dropping markets.

The number of reserves deemed to have had some activity at the development phase is as follows:

Development Phase Reserves
Metallic 0
Non-metallic 4
Aggregate 7
Peat 0
Water 0

3.5  Reserves at the Production Phase

Production phase as used here is the actual extraction of material or mineral by any mining process, past or present, which is stockpiled, used on or sold off-reserve.

The number of reserves at the production phase is listed below. These figures consider any form of extraction of minerals for sale on or off reserve and includes cases of production of materials with a low commodity rating. It is noteworthy that many hundreds of small gravel pits exist on reserves which are unknown to the Department and are not included in this database.

Production Phase Reserves
Metallic 0
Non-metallic 5
Aggregate 12
Peat 0
Water 0

4.0  Mineral Surrenders

An examination of the records indicates that 13 reserves of the total of 100 considered here in the Alberta Region have surrendered their minerals in some way. Among these, minerals have frequently been combined with petroleum, oil and gas in a broad general form of surrender. Only a very few reserves in Canada have had a recent, specific mineral surrender for the purposes of mineral development.

5.0  Mineral Permits and Leases

Indian Lands Registry of Lands, Revenues and Trusts have recorded 62 occurrences of mineral related permits, leases and/or agreements since Confederation.

Of 62 entries in the registry, 3 identified non-metallic minerals, none for metallic minerals, 50 were for aggregates and 9 cases did not specify the commodities.

The Registry records 459 mineral related permits, leases and/or agreements on Reserves across Canada. Averaged on a national basis, 72% of mineral agreements are undertaken by the private sector, next comes provincial government at 14%, municipalities at 6%, bands at 3%, and federal organizations participated in only 1% of agreements. Three percent of the total number of registry entries were undetermined.

6.0  Relationship with Principle Mines

Of the reserves in Alberta, none are situated within 10 kilometres of the 11 principle industrial mineral and metallic mineral mines in the province.

Approximately 13 reserves (13%) are situated within 50 kilometres (an easy commuting distance) of the 11 principle industrial mineral and metallic mineral mines in the province. These mines employ on national average 479 workers for a total of over 5,200 jobs. Statistics suggest nearly 150 of these jobs should be held by Natives.

October 1991

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