Reports - British Columbia 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 The 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  The British Columbia Report

The Mineral Potential of Indian Reserves Lands for the province of British Columbia comprises 24 volumes and approximately 14,000 pages with 7,000 maps.

Volumes 1, 2, 3 and 4 examine the southeast and parts of the southwest of the province and was largely written and completed by 1986. The remaining Volumes 5 to 24 inclusive, were completed in March, 1989.

2.2  The Land Base in British Columbia

The Mineral Potential of Indian Reserve Lands, British Columbia incorporates 1624 Indian reserves. For the purposes of this regional report, the 18 reserves administered by the Yukon Region are excluded bringing the number for the British Columbia Region to 1606.

The total land base of 1606 reserves occupies approximately 350,556.7 hectares or approximately 0.4% of the land area of the province of British Columbia.

The average area of Indian reserves in the Region is 217 hectares (536 acres). This figure is substantially lower than the national average of 1176 hectares (2907 acres) per reserve. Frequently, the limited 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 B.C. 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 1194
Moderate 356
Good 56

3.2  Commodity Ratings with Potential

The inventory catalogues a total of 2243 mineral occurrences on reserves in B.C. from all five commodity or mineral types (metallic, non-metallic, aggregate, peat and water) and comprises nearly 120 different minerals and commodities.

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 168. These 168 reserves share a total of 324 commodity occurrences.
  • Of the 324 occurrences, 179 (55%) are metallic minerals; 145 (44%) 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 4 27 70 0 0
Stage III 26 19 63 0 0
Stage IV 15 9 19 0 0
Stage V 6 6 12 0 0


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 16
Non-metallic 16
Aggregate 44
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 11
Non-metallic 23
Aggregate 49
Peat 0
Water 0

4.0  Mineral Surrenders

An examination of the records indicates that 45 reserves of the total of 1606 considered here in the B.C. 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 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 233 occurrences of mineral related permits, leases and/or agreements since Confederation.

Of 233 entries in the registry, 21 identified non-metallic minerals, 2 for metallic minerals (shortly after Confederation), 178 for aggregates and 74 cases did not specify the commodities.

The Registry contains 459 entries of 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 B.C., 43 (2.6%) are situated within 10 kilometres of the 36 principle industrial mineral and metallic mineral mines in the province.

Approximately 604 reserves (39.8%) are situated within 50 kilometres (an easy commuting distance) of the 36 principle industrial mineral and metallic mineral mines in the province. These mines employ on average 479 workers for a total of over 17,000 jobs. Statistics suggest nearly 500 of these jobs should be held by Natives.

October 1991

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