Open-File Project 372; Gold in Till Survey, Vermilion District, St. Louis County, MN

The scope of work for DNR Project 372 included two main tasks:

  1. The collection of 48 till samples in the Vermilion District, St. Louis County, MN, beyond the area of anomalous gold grain counts identified in a 2005 MnDNR gold in till survey (DNR Project 365).
  2. The compilation and review of documents and data from historical mineral exploration on State-leased lands. A concurrent project (DNR Project 373) obtained new assay data and reviewed archived drill core from the same project area.



The Project 372 area comprises several townships in Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota. The Archean granite-greenstone terrane, part of the Wawa Subprovince of the Superior Province of the Canadian Shield, is covered by relatively thin layers of Rainy Lobe till. Outcrop exposure is variable, but good compared with most of Minnesota. Past sampling, maps, and reports have been produced by private mineral exploration companies, the MnDNR, the Natural Resource Research Institute, and the Minnesota Geological Surveys. From this work, Jirsa and Peterson (1999) identified 8 distinct VMS and 20 distinct gold prospects and showings.

Forty-eight till samples were collected in the Project 372 area in June-July 2008, shipped to Overburden Drilling Management, Ltd. in May 2009, and analyzed that same month. The MnDNR has a contract with ODM to process the till samples that it collects. All sample were collected at locations with State-held mineral rights. Anomalous total gold grain counts and pristine gold grain counts were obtained from Vermilion District samples both proximal to known gold occurrences and in new areas with no historical reports of gold occurrences in the public record. These results are similar to those obtained in a 2005 MDNR till sampling program within the nearby Mud Creek area of the Vermilion District.

Monthly Data Releases for Project 372

Data released in November, 2008

PowerPoint Presentation: State Metallic Minerals Lease Sale, Minnesota's Vermilion Gold District. This reviews compiled mineral exploration data and identifies gold prospects within the Vermilion District
(46 pages, 10 x 7.5 inches, 3.03 MB)
Author: Don Elsenheimer

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Data released in June, 2009

Project 372 Data  (.zip, 3.3 MB) - A zip file that includes all of the following files:

  • A May 21, 2009 laboratory report MDNR May 2009 ODM Results.xls, from Overburden Drilling Management, Ltd, which documents total gold grain counts and non-magnetic heavy mineral concentrate weights in 48 till samples from the Vermilion District, St. Louis County, Minnesota, and 37 till samples from the Big Fork Quadrangle, located in Western St. Louis and Eastern Itasca Counties, Minnesota. 
  • A spreadsheet 2008_vermilion_samples.xls, which provides supplemental information for the sample set (i.e. collection date, UTM coordinates, till descriptions). 
  • The map Vermilion_Gold_in_Till.pdf plots sample locations and gold grain counts for both the 2005 and 2008 Vermilion District data sets, relative to areas with active State Mineral Leases, and the Vermilion District areas included within a 2009 State Mineral Lease Sale Offering. 

For more information:

Don Elsenheimer, Ph.D
MN DNR - Lands and Minerals
500 Lafayette Road
St. Paul, Minnesota 55155-4045
tel. (651) 259-5433
[email protected]

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