Field Trips

Pre-Conference Field Trips

All field trips are in person. Dates and times are preliminary and subject to change.

FT01 - Tucson Copper Porphyry and Skarn

 

Details

FT02 - Thacker Pass Lithium

 

Details

FT03 - Western Nevada Au-Ag Deposits

 

Details

FT04 - South Platte REE Pegmatite

 

Details

Post-Conference Field Trips

All field trips are in person. Dates and times are preliminary and subject to change.

FT05 - Climax Molybdenum Mine

 

Details

FT07 - Mountain Pass REE, Colosseum and Moss Mines

 

Details

Field Trip Details

FT01 - Tucson Copper Porphyry and Skarn

Date: Sunday, August 21 - Thursday, August 25

Location: Departing from and returning to Tucson, AZ, United States

Leader: William Chávez (New Mexico Institute of Mining & Technology) and Erich Petersen (University of Utah)

This intensive, 4-day field trip will visit four famous copper porphyry and skarn districts in southern Arizona, including North Silver Bell, Pinto Valley, Ray, and Mission. Led by William Chávez, this is everything you need to know about Southwest U.S. copper porphyry deposits, including the hypogene, supergene, and oxide environments, skarn alteration, geologic setting and more!

Participants will need to arrange to arrive in Tucson on the evening of August 21 in time for a 6:00pm safety and logistics meeting at the host Best Western Airport Inn.

On the following day, we will proceed to Asarco's North Silver Bell mine to view a classic supergene profile and discuss metals mobility in the weathering environment. From there, we will head north to the town of Globe. On Day 2, we will visit the Pinto Valley porphyry Cu-Mo deposit of Capstone Mining and discuss erosional levels in Southwest U.S. porphyry environments. On Day 3, we will visit Asarco's Ray porphyry Cu-Mo mine. With relatively high grades, it is a great place to examine the topics of host-rock reactivity and controls on supergene minerals development. We will travel back to Tucson. On Day 4, we will visit the Mission Cu skarn system to learn about skarn zoning, alteration, and mineralogy, and the relationship of skarns to the porphyry environment.

It will be HOT this time of year, so pack accordingly. You will need to bring your own geology gear and rock hammer.

Attendee Maximum: 18

Day 1 - Monday, August 22

Visit North Silver Bell porphyry Cu supergene profile; discuss metals mobility in weathering environment. Travel to Globe, Arizona.

Day 2 - Tuesday, August 23

Visit Pinto Valley porphyry Cu-Mo system; discuss erosional levels in southwest and Sonora porphyry environments.

Day 3 - Wednesday, August 24

Visit Ray porphyry Cu-Mo; importance of host-rock reactivity; control of supergene minerals development. Travel to Tucson.

Day 4 - Thursday, August 25

Visit Mission skarn Cu system; skarn zoning and alteration mineralogy; relationship to porphyry environment.

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FT02 - Thacker Pass Lithium

Date: Wednesday, August 24 - Friday, August 26

Location: Departing from and returning to Reno, NV, United States

Leader: Tom Benson (Lithium Americas Corp)

This 2-1/2 day field trip will visit Lithium Americas' Thacker Pass lithium deposit, currently on the cusp of development. The tour will explore concepts of lithium deposition, sections, core, and regional geology

Participants will need to arrange to arrive in Reno by midday on August 24 in time for departure for Winnemucca at 2:00pm.

Securing a domestic supply of lithium is crucial for meeting our lower-carbon and energy security goals. Caldera lake sediments of the Miocene McDermitt caldera along the Oregon-Nevada border (Benson et al., 2017, Nature Communications; Henry et al., 2017, Geosphere) contain as much as 120 Mt Li (Castor and Henry, 2020, Minerals), significantly more than all the known lithium resources in South American brines, combined. The lithium occurs in smectite clays throughout the caldera, and as smectite and illite clays in the southern part of the caldera at Thacker Pass, Nevada, where illite clay contains in situ lithium concentrations as high as ~1.8 wt % Li (Benson et al., in prep). On this field trip, we will visit the Lithium Americas Corp. Thacker Pass project in Humboldt County, Nevada, to observe the unique geological setting of this massive lithium deposit. We will also visit the Thacker Pass core facility and get a tour of the brand-new Lithium Americas Technical Center in Reno, Nevada, where we will witness the steps involved in extracting lithium from the clays to produce the battery-grade lithium carbonate that will power the electric vehicle revolution.

It will be HOT this time of year, so pack accordingly. You will need to bring your own geology gear and rock hammer.

Attendee Maximum: 20

Day 1 - Wednesday, August 24

  • 2:00pm to 4:30pm: Depart Reno for Winnemucca
  • 5:00pm: Welcome reception at Martin Hotel, Winnemucca, Nevada
  • 6:00pm: Geology and origin of the Thacker Pass Lithium Deposit; presentation by Tom Benson, Lithium Americas Corp
  • 7:00pm: Dinner at Martin Hotel, Winnemucca, Nevada

Day 2 - Thursday, August 25

  • 7:00am: Breakfast at the Lithium Nevada Office, Winnemucca, Nevada
  • 8:00am: Depart Winnemucca for Thacker Pass
  • 9:30am: Thacker Pass overlook – geology and discussion
  • 12:00pm: Lunch at Orovada Community Center
  • 1:00pm: Core shed visit
  • 3:00pm: Depart Orovada for Reno
  • 8:00pm: Dinner in Reno, Nevada

Day 3 - Friday, August 26

  • 8:00am: Breakfast at the Lithium Americas Technical Center in Reno, Nevada
  • 9:00am: Tour of the Lithium Americas Technical Center & Processing Facility
  • 11:00am: End of program
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FT03 - Western Nevada Au-Ag Deposits

Date: Thursday, August 25 - Friday, August 26

Location: Departing from and returning to Reno, NV, United States

Leader: Chris Osterman (Phoenix Silver Corp) and Raul Diaz (Silver One Resources, Inc.)

This two-day field trip explores large, low-sulfidation epithermal deposits and mines in the Walker Lane metallogenic province of western Nevada. The field trip will include stops in historic Virginia City and the Lucerne project of Comstock Mining, the Candelaria project, the Round Mountain gold mine, the Tonopah West project. This is a great opportunity to see the diversity of LSE deposits, from established mines to hot new projects.

Participants will need to arrange to arrive in Reno on August 24 and proceed to the departure hotel.

On Day 1, we depart Reno, drive to Virginia City, and tour the museum. We will then make the short drive to the Lucerne project of Comstock Mining to get an overview of the geology of this new epithermal gold and silver system. Following the visit, we will drive to Candelaria project of Silver One Resources, a 150-Moz silver deposit that is currently being expanded. Candelaria is perhaps the geologically oldest silver deposit in Nevada with multiple generations of silver mineralization. We will spend the night in historic Tonopah.

On Day 2, we will proceed to the Round Mountain gold mine, owned by Kinross. The tour will include a review of plans and sections and a tour of the open pit by mine staff. In the afternoon, we will visit the Tonopah West project of Blackrock Silver Corp with a review of core and cross sections through new epithermal veins in one of Nevada’s most famous silver districts. The tour will return to Reno in the afternoon.

It will be HOT this time of year, so pack accordingly. You will need to bring your own geology gear and rock hammer.

Attendee Maximum: 30

Day 1 - Thursday, August 25

  • 8:00am - 10:00am: Meet the vans and proceed to Virginia City for a tour of the museum
  • 10:00am - 11:00am: Tour Lucerne project
  • 11:00am - 4:00pm: Drive to Candelaria and tour
  • 4:00pm - 5:00pm: Drive to Tonopah
  • 7:00pm - 9:00pm: Dinner in Tonopah

Day 2 - Friday, August 26

  • 7:00am - 8:30am: Meet the vans and proceed to Round Mountain
  • 8:30am - 12:00pm: Tour Round Mountain
  • 12:00pm - 2:00pm: Tour Tonopah West
  • 2:00pm - 5:00pm: Drive to Reno
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FT04 - South Platte REE Pegmatite

Date: Thursday, August 25

Location: Departing from and returning to Denver, CO, United States

Leader: Phil Perssen (Persson Rare Minerals LLC)

This one-day field trip to the White Cloud pegmatite, a geologically and mineralogically fascinating rare earth element (REE) enriched pegmatite body hosted in the 1.1 Ga Pikes Peak Batholith. Attendees will be able to collect specimens of interesting and rare minerals such as gadolinite-(Y), thalenite-(Y), allanite-(Ce), bastnasite-(Ce), fluorite, and more.

We will board the bus at the Sheraton Hotel in the morning, and head to the Pike's Peak area. We will visit the White Cloud pegmatite, a rare earth element (REE)–enriched pegmatite of the NYF (niobium-yttrium-fluorine) type, hosted in the ~1.1 Ga Pikes Peak batholith. This large, zoned pegmatite is the subject of recent research resulting in several published papers and abstracts focused on the unusual REE minerals it contains, including their chemistry and petrogenesis. Time and weather allowing, we will also visit several interesting outcrops on the way to the White Cloud mine that will help contextualize the pegmatites of the South Platte district as well as the broader geologic framework of the Pikes Peak batholith. Attendees will be able to collect specimens of interesting and rare minerals such as gadolinite-(Y), thalenite-(Y), allanite-(Ce), bastnasite-(Ce), fluorite, and more. A sack lunch will be provided.

Sturdy shoes are recommended, as well as a jacket - the weather is variable at high elevation. For those interested in examining rocks and collecting specimens, bring a rock hammer and geology gear.

Attendee Maximum: 12

Day 1 - Thursday, August 25

  • 7:00am - 9:00am: Meet the bus at the Sheraton and drive to the Pike's Peak area
  • 9:00am - 11:00am: Proceed to White Cloud Mine, with stops along the way
  • 11:00am - 12:00pm: Lunch
  • 12:00pm - 3:00pm: Examine outcrops and collect specimens
  • 3:00pm - 5:00pm: Return to the Sheraton
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FT05 - Climax Molybdenum Mine

Date: Wednesday, August 31

Location: Departing from and returning to Denver, CO, United States

Leader: Steve Zahony (Sutter Gold Mining)

This one-day field trip to Freeport-McMoRan's Climax alkalic moly-porphyry mine is an opportunity to tour a large, open pit molybdenum mine with a rich history dating back to the late 1800s. Historically, it has been one of the largest molybdenum producers in the world over more than a century.

We will board the bus at the Sheraton Hotel in the morning for a 2-hour trip into the high Rockies and head to site for a presentation by mine staff. After lunch, we will head out for a field tour of the mine, investigating alteration phases transitioning into the center of the deposits. Time allowing, we will stop at the core facility to examine additional rocks, mineralization, alteration, and vein relationships. We will return to the Sheraton in the late afternoon. Sack lunch and transportation provided.

Wear sturdy shoes and bring a jacket - it can be cold, windy and rainy in the afternoon at this elevation.

Attendee Maximum: 20

Day 1 - Friday, August 26

  • 7:30am - 10:00am: Meet the bus at the Sheraton and drive to site
  • 10:00am - 11:00am: Mine staff presentation
  • 11:00am - 12:00pm: Lunch, discussion
  • 12:00pm - 3:30pm: Field tour followed by core facility if time allows
  • 3:30pm - 6:00pm: Return to the Sheraton
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FT07 - Mountain Pass REE, Colosseum and Moss Mines

Date: Thursday, September 1 - Friday, September 2

Location: Departing from and returning to Las Vegas, NV, United States

Leader: Chris Osterman (Phoenix Silver Corp) and Barbara Carroll (GeoGRAFX GIS Services)

This two-day field trip explores the diversity of gold and rare earth element (REE) mineralization in the Mojave Desert. Starting and ending in Las Vegas, we will tour the operating Moss open-pit, low sulfidation epithermal gold-silver mine, get up "close and personal" with "wild" burros in the historic town of Oatman on Route 66, tour the Mountain Pass REE mine (a rare opportunity) and the Colosseum gold mine with possible iron oxide copper-gold (IOCG) affinities.

Field trip participants should arrange to arrive in Las Vegas on the evening of August 31 and proceed to the hotel. Day 1 includes the Moss mine and Oatman district. Mining of high-grade, low-sulfidation epithermal gold veins has continued intermittently since the late 1800s. The Moss mine, operated by Elevation Gold Mining Corp., is a relatively new, open-pit, heap-leach operation. After the mine tour, we will proceed to the Casino Mecca of Laughlin, located on the Colorado River, for the night.

The following day, we will proceed west into California to the Mountain Pass REE mine, operated by MP Materials. It is the only REE mine and processing facility in the U.S., producing cerium, lanthanum, neodymium, and europium from ore that grades 8 to 12% REE oxides, mostly contained in bastantite. This is a rare opportunity to visit this mine! Following the tour, we will proceed to the Colosseum mine owned by Dateline Resources to tour a well-exposed, gold-bearing breccia body with IOCG affinities, road conditions permitting, returning to Las Vegas in the late afternoon.

It will be HOT this time of year, so pack accordingly. You will need to bring your own geology gear and rock hammer.

Attendee Maximum: 26

Day 1 - Thursday, September 1

  • 8:00am - 10:00am: Meet the vans and proceed to the Moss mine
  • 10:00am - 2:00pm: Moss Mine tour and lunch at the site
  • 2:00pm to 3:00pm: Drive to Oatman
  • 3:00pm - 4:00pm: Explore Oatman
  • 4:00pm - 5:00pm: Drive to Laughlin
  • 7:00pm - 9:00pm: Dinner in Laughlin

Day 1 - Friday, September 2

  • 8:00 am – 9:30am: Meet the vans and proceed to Mountain Pass mine
  • 9:30am – 1:00 pm: Tour Mountain Pass and lunch at the site
  • 1:00 pm – 2:00pm: Proceed to Colosseum
  • 2:00pm – 4:00pm: Tour of Colosseum
  • 4:00pm to 6:00pm: Return to Las Vegas.
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