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Thor Lake is a deposit of rare metals located in the Blachford Lake intrusive complex. It is situated 5 km north of the Hearne Channel of Great Slave Lake, Northwest Territories, Canada, approximately 100 kilometers east-southeast of the capital city of Yellowknife. Geologically located on the Canadian Shield it is mostly composed of peralkaline syenite (granitic rock with low quartz content). The Blatchford Lake complex was created in the early Proterozoic, 2.14 Ga ago. The deposit is divided in several sub-structures. In a small zone at the northern edge of the syenite, the T-Zone, minerals like bastnäsite, phenakite and xenotime can be found.
Within the Mackenzie mining district, Thor Lake may contain some of the largest deposits of light and heavy rare earth element (REE) ores. The major elements of these ores are europium, terbium, dysprosium, neodymium, gallium, niobium, thorium, zirconium and beryllium. A significant proportion of the REE deposits lie within the boundaries of the Nechalacho Rare Earth Element Project, funded by Avalon Rare Metals. The extraction of these resources could be important for the global REE production, which almost exclusively occurs in China, especially around the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region in Bayan Obo.
- Padgham, W. A.; Atkinson, D. "The Thor Lake Beryllium-Rare Metal Deposit Northern Territories". Geological Survey of Canada, Open File 2168. p. 128.
- "Federal minister approves N.W.T. rare earth mine". CBC News. 2013-11-04.
It follows the recommendation from the Mackenzie Valley Environmental Review Board in July, and marks a major milestone in the company's effort to turn the project into an operating mine. Avalon claims Nechalacho is “the most advanced large heavy rare earth development project in the world.”
- "Thor Lake Rare Earth Elements Project".
- Pinckston, D. Robert; Smith, Dorian G. W. (1995). "Mineralogy of the Lake zone, Thor Lake rare-metals deposit, N.W.T., Canada". Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences 32 (4): 516–532. doi:10.1139/e95-044.
- Jones, Adrian P; Wall, Frances; Terry Williams, C (1996). "Rare Earth Element mineralization in peralkaline system the T-Zone REE-Y-Be deposit, Thor Lake, Northern Territories , Canada". Rare earth minerals: chemistry, origin and ore deposits. p. 167. ISBN 978-0-412-61030-1.
- Castor, Stephen B. (2008). "Rare Earth Deposits of North America". Resource Geology 58 (4): 337–347. doi:10.1111/j.1751-3928.2008.00068.x.
- Laznicka, Peter (2010-09-24). Giant Metallic Deposits: Future Sources of Industrial Metals. ISBN 978-3-642-12404-4.
- Cerny, P. and Trueman, DL 1985: Polylithionite from the rare-metal deposits of the Blatchford Lake alkaline complex; American Mineralogist, v. 70, p. 1127-1134