Indicator Minerals

Indicator minerals

Exploration with good prospects


What are indicator minerals?

An indicator mineral can be almost any mineral that occurs in or close to a mineralisation and

can act as a mineral tracer to the mineralisation. The property that determines whether a mineral

is an indicator mineral can be for instance its trace-element chemistry or the very occurrence

of the mineral itself.



Indicator minerals preferably have high density, do not weather quickly, are easily recognised,

and survive sedimentary transportation. The mineral should have an attribute that makes it

typical for a mineralisation. An indicator mineral has properties that enable it to be concentrated

and separated from a sediment sample.



Unlike regular chemical analyses of sediment samples, indicator-mineral analyses can reveal

information about e.g. mineralisation type or economic potential of a deposit. Examples of

indicator minerals are magnetite, garnet, gahnite, and rutile.

Indicator minerals from the Rietfontein kimberlite in South Africa: garnet and Cr-diopside.

Indicator minerals globally

The primary application of indicator minerals is in diamond exploration, where chemical

analyses and occurrences of minerals such as garnet and chromium diopside are of the highest

importance in the hunt for diamonds. Indicator minerals are also applicable to other ore types,

especially since the discovery of the Voiseys Bay Ni–Cu–Co deposit.



Indicator minerals have great potential in exploration programmes for iron, base, precious, and

special metals. Indicator minerals exist for nearly all mineralisation types!

Map: Sweden’s sedimentary deposits. © Swedish Geological Survey

Contrary to chemical analyses of a bulk sediment sample, no large anomalies

are needed. Every single crystal of an indicator mineral contains important

information about the deposit it belongs to.



Indicator minerals in Sweden


Sweden’s geology has every necessary prerequisite to include indicator

minerals as an effective supplement in exploration. The Quarternary

glaciations have covered roughly 75% of the Swedish bedrock with

glacial till. Indicator minerals can be of great use in revealing mineral

deposits that are buried beneath the sedimentary blanket (non-red

colours on the map).


What is required?


To succeed with indicator minerals one needs intelligent sediment

sampling, a mineral-separation laboratory, and most of all knowledge

about the unique properties of indicator minerals. Furthermore one

needs a high-tech analysis laboratory with modern analytical equipment

that can determine the concentration of chemical elements in minerals

from 100% to less than a millionth of a percent.



Indicator minerals in tomorrow’s exploration

At Vanguard Minerals AB we are passionate about indicator minerals and are actively researching

new and innovative applications. We streamline existing methods and invent new solutions.

Our goal is to reveal the information that is held within the minerals.



Through Vanguard Minerals AB the opportunity exists to expand today’s exploration process by

supplementing with indicator-mineral studies. To us, indicator minerals are a natural step in a

successful exploration process.


We are hoping for fruitful collaboration opportunities. For more information, do not hesitate

to contact us.


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