The following is a historical summary:
Reconnaissance geological mapping by the Research Council of Alberta revealed and outlined a red granite pluton in the Precambrian Shield rocks just north of Fort Chipewyan, outside of Wood Buffalo National Park. This pluton of attractive appearing granite crops out over an area of approximately 50 square miles, 3 to 4 x 15 miles, elongated in a northeasterly direction.
In recognition of its potential value as ornamental-building stone, selected reconnaissance ground traverses and spot checks were made in the southern portion of the pluton (closest to Fort Chipewyan) to determine whether or not bedrock conditions would be generally favourable for quarrying operations. The situation looked encouraging.
Exploration was undertaken by helicopter, with follow-up ground checks, to identify specific potential quarry sites. Out of eight sites identified for ground reconnaissance investigation three were chosen for closer study. Finally, on the basis of color, texture and rock fracture patterns, one site (sluice site number one, south site) was selected for hydraulic sluicing and detail mapping and evaluation. The geological assessment proved to be positive and a limited core drilling program to 25 foot depths was recommended to check out the extension of rock quality and the horizontal fracture spacing.
The Alberta Department of Business and Industry in a preliminary economic feasibility study did not find the economic outlook for granite building stone development at Fort Chipewyan to be particularly promising.
The Alberta Northern Development Group established a $70,000 fund to examine the technical-economic feasibility and socio-economic impact of a granite building stone industry near Fort Chipewyan.
This study was awarded to Angus Butler Engineering Ltd. (Edmonton), in association with Gemini North Ltd. (Vancouver). Site one was studied in detail.
Elements of this study included: Diamond drill coring of sluice site number one; Consultation by Quebec quarry master Mr. Ben Haselton; ASTM tests (strength, abrasion, freeze-thaw) by Mr. Fred Hanes, Ottawa (in progress); Economic feasibility study; Social-economic impact on Fort Chipewyan.
The bulk of these studies were carried out in late 1974 and in the first half of 1975.
Although sluice site number one proved to contain very good quality granite building stone it appeared to have limited tonnage capability. Since long-term supplies of good quality material are highly desirable at one quarry location, further ground exploration was undertaken in September-October, 1975 to find a site with significantly larger tonnage potential.
This exploration led to discovery of a site 600 feet farther north, which was hydraulically sluiced and termed 'sluice site number two.' Onset of winter conditions prevented geological mapping and evaluation until June, 1976, and the results of that study are contained in the body of this report.