Focus Areas

map of focus areasGreenstoneDuluth ComplexCuyunaBiwabikAnimikie

DNR geologists selected project core from thirty-two (32) drill holes located within five (5) Focus Areas in northern and central Minnesota. These Focus Areas host distinct mineral deposit types and high mineral potential. The Focus Areas and drill core were strategically selected to optimize for Corescan techniques and the ability to answer key geological questions that further our understanding of Minnesota's mineral estate. The following table identifies the target, number of cores, and total core lengths for each of the five Focus Areas.

Focus AreaTargetNumber of CoresTotal Core Length (meters)
Biwabik Iron Formation/Mesabi RageIron61510
International Falls Greenstone GoldGold121964
Cuyuna ManganeseManganese5354
Duluth Complex VanadiumVanadium3621
Animikie/Animike SEDEXCopper, Zinc6413

Corescan Focus Areas

Click each section below to learn more about the five (5) project areas that were part of the DNR Corescan Project.

Biwabik Iron Formation/Mesabi Range Focus Area

The Biwabik focus area comprises the core of Minnesota's largest mining district.The Biwabik Iron Formation is actively mined by Minnesota’s taconite industry, which produces about 40 million tons of high-grade iron ore pellets annually. Hyperspectral core imaging of complete transects of this iron formation may highlight the potential benefits of this technique for the mining industry in areas such as ore grade control, mineral processing, and pellet production.

Find additional information and results from the Biwabik Iron Formation/Mesabi Range Focus Area here: 
DNR Biwabik Iron Formation/Mesabi Range Focus Area fact sheet - Location, background, goals, and drill core details
Corescan Biwabik Iron Formation/Mesabi Range Focus Area imaging results - Summary of detected mineralogy and other imaging results

International Falls/Greenstone Gold Focus Area

The International Falls focus area along the border with Canada has long been a target for gold exploration.The International Falls area along the U.S.-Canadian Border has a 130-year history of gold exploration. The focus area includes the historical location of Minnesota’s only producing gold mine, and is 50km from the Rainy River gold mine in northwestern Ontario. Recent bedrock mapping of this Archean Superior Province greenstone terrane, and the reanalysis of archived core suggests that new gold mineralization models should be considered. Hyperspectral core imaging may shed light on relevant mineralogical and geochemical gold associations, particularly with respect to underreported tourmaline occurrences.

Find additional information and results from Internationa Falls/Greenstone Gold here: 
DNR International Falls/Greenstone Gold Focus Area fact sheet - Location, background, goals, and drill core details
Corescan International Falls/Greenstone Gold Focus Area imaging results - Summary of detected mineralogy and other imaging results

Duluth Complex Vanadium Focus Area

Just northeast of Biwabik, the Duluth complex is rich in titaniumIn the Duluth Complex, a series of small oxide-rich ultramafic intrusions host significant titanium reserves. Some of these intrusions have secondary enrichment of vanadium, which is a high-value critical mineral. A new hydrometallurgical process removes the magnesium impurities that have historically limited development of these resources. The primary goal of scanning core from this focus area was to determine hyperspectral imaging effectiveness in tracking variations in vanadium content within a titanium deposit that also contains copper-nickel mineralization. 

Find additional information and results from Duluth Complex Vanadium here: 
DNR Duluth Complex Vanadium Focus Area fact sheet - Location, background, goals, and drill core details
Corescan Duluth Complex Vanadium Focus Area imaging results - Summary of detected mineralogy and other imaging results

Cuyuna Manganese Focus Area

The Cuyuna iron range is being recognized as a source of manganeseThe Cuyuna Range was home to significant iron mining operations from 1905 to 1984. One of the largest undeveloped manganese deposits in North America is located in the Cuyuna Range’s Emily District. Manganese is a critical mineral. Core from Cuyuna Range was scanned to identify potential minerals or mineral textures and to shed light on how this ore body formed. 

Find additional information and results from Cuyuna Range Manganese here: 
DNR Cuyuna Manganese Focus Area fact sheet - Location, background, goals, and drill core details
Corescan Cuyuna Manganese fact sheet imaging results - Summary of detected mineralogy and other imaging results

Animikie/Animikie SEDEX Focus Area

The Biwabik focus area comprises the core of Minnesota's largest mining district.Limited bedrock drilling along the southern edge of the Animikie Basin in Carlton and Aitkin Counties has previously identified the potential for a specific type of copper-zinc mineral deposit (SEDEX). Core from Animikie was scanned to assess how effectively hyperspectral imaging identifies minerals or mineral textures associated with this type of mineralization. Core scanning may also produce mineral information from other under-documented core within the DCL archive.

Find additional information and results from Animikie/Animikie SEDEX here: 
DNR Animikie/Animikie SEDEX Focus Area fact sheet - Location, background, goals, and drill core details
Corescan Animikie imaging results - Summary of hyperspectral mineralogy findings
Corescan Animikie SEDEX imaging results - Summary of detected mineralogy and other imaging results