Sedimentary rock-hosted copper deposits
Office: ESB 4047-5 Phone:
Ph.D. Candidate, University of British Columbia, 2009-present
MCSM (Master of the Camborne School of Mines)
MSc (distinction) Mining Geology 2008-2009 Camborne School of Mines, University of Exeter, UK.
BSc (first class with honours) Applied Geology 2005-2008 Camborne School of Mines, University of Exeter, UK. Thesis: “The Hishikari epithermal Au-Ag deposit, Japan”.
Kenneth Hickey - Supervisor - University of British Columbia
Sarah Gleeson - Co-supervisor - University of Alberta
Western Copper Corporation
Northwest Territories Geoscience Office
My research constrains processes of low-temperature fluid-mediated mass transfer within the upper crust; specifically I focus on the evolution of ore-forming fluids within sedimentary basins that host ‘red-bed’ copper deposits. This project investigates fluid-flow dynamics and the fluid-rock interactions that are responsible for the large-scale mobilization, transport and concentration of elements in the crust. The study aims to define process-based genetic models for sedimentary rock-hosted copper mineralization and efforts continue to develop rock based physical-chemical vectors towards potentially economic concentrations of ore.
My Ph.D. project examines each aspect of a source-transport-sink model that conceptualizes processes that lead to the formation of sedimentary rock-hosted copper deposits. The study area is the Redstone Copperbelt, Northwest Territories, Canada – an area comprising many ‘red-bed’ copper deposits and showings hosted in Neoproterozoic rocks of the easternmost part of the Canadian Cordillera. The project has a significant component of field work that is being carried out in order to establish the lithological, stratigraphical and structural factors that influence fluid-flow and copper mineralization in the sedimentary, hydrothermal and tectonic evolution of the host basins.
My work will establish sources of metals in sedimentary rock-hosted copper deposits in order to understand the scale of ore-forming palaeohydrological or hydrothermal systems. This study will use lithogeochemistry and mineral chemistry to constrain the processes that liberate metals from their source rocks.
Fluid inclusion studies will establish the physical-chemical character of the ore forming fluids in order to constrain fluid sources and the evolution of fluids within sedimentary basins. Geochemical and isotopic alteration halos will be studied to examine fluid pathways and transport mechanisms.
Geochemical traps will be characterized in order to establish the processes that are responsible for the concentration of metals in ore zones. Mechanisms of sulphide precipitation and deposit scale migration of fluids across reduction-oxidation fronts will be examined using stable copper isotopes to develop vectors for fluid flow.
Awards and scholarships:
2005-2008 Camborne School of Mines Trust Scholarship
2006 Dean of Exeter’s award for Academic Excellence
2008 NERC Postgraduate Study Award
2010 Society of Economic Geologists Graduate Student Fellowship, Gold Fields Scholar
I have carried out fieldwork in England (Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Peak District), Wales (Pembrokeshire), Scotland (Isle of Rum, Isle of Raasay), French-Swiss Alps in addition to fieldwork in Spain (Pyrenees & South-East Spain), Western Australia, Nevada USA (Carlin Au district), British Columbia (Okanagan). I have assisted teaching on the UBC undergraduate 3rd/4th year field school in BC. My current fieldwork is based in the sub-arctic Mackenzie Mountains of the Northwest Territories of northern Canada.
“Handheld XRF – an evaluation as a useful academic field tool” (in review) Milton, J.E. Northwest Territories Geoscience Office Current Research.
“Current research on the copper isotope systematics of the Coates Lake deposit, Redstone Copperbelt, N.W.T., Canada” (in review) Milton, J.E., Mathur, R. & Falck, H. Northwest Territories Geoscience Office Current Research.
“Sedimentary rock hosted stratiform copper deposits: a new perspective from the Redstone Copperbelt, Northwest Territories, Canada”. Milton, J.E., Hickey, K.A. & Gleeson, S.A . Poster presentation, Yellowknife Geoscience Forum, November 2009.
“Mineralization in the Redstone Copperbelt” Milton, J.E., Hickey, K.A. & Gleeson, S.A. Mineral Deposit Studies Group, winter meeting January 2010, Glasgow, Scotland.
“Mineralization in the Redstone Copperbelt” Milton, J.E., Hickey, K.A. & Gleeson, S.A. Selwyn Basin Short Course Northwest Territories Geoscience Office & Geological Survey of Canada, January 2010, Vancouver.
“The Geology of the Redstone Copperbelt” Milton, J.E., Hickey, K.A. & Gleeson, S.A. Yellowknife Geoscience Forum, November 2010.