ADIT: A tunnel driven into the side of a mountain to explore for or access a mineral deposit.
AIRBORNE MAGNETOMETER: A device to measure variations in the earth's magnetic field while being transported by an aircraft.
ANOMALY: Not an ore deposit, but a statistical abnormality encountered during geochemical and/or geophysical exploration. An anomaly provides a target for further exploration, in particular, drilling.
ASSAY: An evaluation of a rock or soil sample for metal values.
BASE METAL: Metals such as lead, zinc, and copper.
BEDROCK: The solid rock, comprising the crust of the earth upon which lies overburden in the form of soil, pebbles, gravels, water, etc.
BENEFICIATE: The treating of ore which results in a more concentrated form of the product.
CLAIM: An area of land or water which carries the mineral rights and must be recorded in a government claim recording office.
CONCENTRATE: The resulting product after treating ore in a mill to remove much of the waste prior to shipment to a smelter.
CORE: The resulting test sample from a diamond drill. Drill core is often cut in half lengthways with one-half assayed and the other half saved for future study.
CROSSCUT: A horizontal underground tunnel driven from a shaft or drift toward an orebody or vein and cut across the direction of the orebody.
DEPLETION: When an orebody is mined, it is depleted.
DILUTION: The lowering of the grade of an orebody being mined by the addition of lower grade or waste rock to the mill feed.
DIP: The angle that a stratum of rock or any planar feature makes with the horizontal. Dip is measured perpendicular to the strike and in the vertical plane. For example, a vein is dipping 70 degrees (into the earth).
DRIFT: A horizontal underground opening driven alongside or through an orebody to gain access to the mineral deposit.
DRILL: There are various types of drills for exploration such as a diamond drill (produces core) or reverse circulation drill (produces chips). Other types of drills are used for the mining process which do not produce a core, but are used to make circular holes in the rock which are filled with explosives.
DYKE: (or dike): A tabular body of igneous rock that cuts across the structure of adjacent rocks.
ELECTROLYTIC: Part of the refining process in which the product from the smelter is refined using an electrolytic process to purify the metal. The metal being refined forms the positive anode and is deposited on the cathode by an electric current.
FAULT: A crack or break in the bedrock of the earth where one side has slipped in relation to the other.
FLOTATION: A separation process used in milling ore in which the valuable minerals cling to bubbles and float to the surface while others sink.
GEOPHYSICS: The use of geophysical techniques to search for mineral deposits. Common geophysical surveys include: magnetic, electromagnetic, induced polarization, resistivity and gravity.
GLORY HOLE: A colloquial term for a pit or large hole made from surface to mine a mineral deposit.
GOSSAN: A rusty-coloured rock outcrop that can be a good indication of mineralization. The rust is caused by iron in the rocks oxidizing. A common copper mineral, chalcopyrite, (CuFeS2) oxidizes to a rusty surface.
GRAB SAMPLE: A randomly selected sample of rock to be assayed. A grab sample will not provide a representative picture of the value of a deposit, only an indication.
GRADE: The value of a mineralized deposit. Precious metals are usually expressed as ounces per ton or grams per tonne. Base metals and uranium are expressed as a percent. Diamond values are expressed as value/carat/hundred tonnes.
IGNEOUS ROCK: A rock that has solidified from molten material. (eg. granite)
KIMBERLITE: The host rock of diamonds. Diamonds are not formed in kimberlite. The kimberlite only acts as a medium of transport to carry the diamonds up toward the surface. The diamonds that survive the voyage to the surface are in what is called the diamond stability field. Diamonds are also found in lamproites.
LEVEL: An underground mining term denoting a horizontal tunnel leading away from the shaft. Levels are usually at regular intervals of depth.
MATTE: The metal-bearing product from the smelter that is sent to the refinery.
METAMORPHIC ROCK: A rock that has been formed from igneous or sedimentary rock. (eg. sandstone becomes quartzite)
MILL: The plant which concentrates the raw ore by separating the waste from the valuable metals. The concentrate from the mill is sent to a smelter.
MUCK: A slang term for broken rock or ore.
MUCKING MACHINE: An underground vehicle on tracks, powered by compressed air that scoops up blasted and broken ore and tosses it over itself into an ore car on tracks.
OUTCROP: Bedrock which is exposed on the surface of the earth.
OVERBURDEN: The sand, gravel, peat, soil, swamp, water, etc., which lies on top of bedrock.
PILOT PLANT: A small-scale mill set up on the mine property to test recovery techniques before building a large mill.
PLACER: An alluvial deposit of gold or other metals which are contained in a sand or gravel bar in a river or beach, present or former. The grains, flakes and nuggets were eroded from bedrock, or lode, deposits and washed down to the stream, beach, etc.
PRECAMBRIAN SHIELD: A U-shaped area surrounding Hudson Bay consisting of older rocks of the Precambrian age. The Shield contains many areas of mineralization, some of which have become producing mines.
PROSPECT: A geologically favourable area for minerals to occur.
RAISE: An underground tunnel that has been driven upwards, either at an incline or vertically.
RECOVERY: The amount of mineral in ore that is separated and recovered in a mill usually expressed as a percentage per tonne of ore treated.
REFINING: The final purification process of a metal or mineral (See Electrolytic).
RESOURCES & RESERVES: Mineral resources and reserves must be reported according to the standards of National Instrument 43-101. Mineral resources are sub-divided, in order of increasing geological confidence, into inferred, indicated and measured categories:
- An inferred resource is the quantity and grade that can be estimated on the basis of geological evidence and limited sampling and reasonable assumed, but not verified, geological and grade continuity. The estimate is based on limited information and sampling of outcrops, trenches, pits, workings and drill holes.
- An indicated resource is the quantity and grade that can be estimated with a level of confidence sufficient to allow the application of technical and economic parameters to support mine planning and evaluation of the economic viability of the deposit. The estimate is based on detailed and reliable exploration and testing data from outcrops, trenches, pits, workings and drill holes that are spaced closely enough for geological ad grade continuity to be reasonably assumed.
- A measured resource is that part of a mineral resource for which quantity, grade, densities, shape and physical characteristics as so well established that they can be estimated with confidence sufficient to allow the application of technical and economic parameters to support planning and evaluation of the economic viability of the deposit. The estimate is based on detailed and reliable exploration and testing data from outcrops, trenches, pits, workings and drill holes that are spaced closely enough for geological ad grade continuity to be reasonably assumed.
- A mineral reserve is the economically mineable part of a measured or indicated mineral resource demonstrated by at least a preliminary feasibility study. This study must include adequate information on mining, processing, metallurgical, economic and other relevant factors that demonstrate economic extraction can be justified.
- A probable mineral reserve is the economically mineable part of an indicated, and in some circumstances, a measured mineral resource demonstrated by at least a preliminary feasibility study. This study must include adequate information on mining, processing, metallurgical, economic and other relevant factors that demonstrate economic extraction can be justified.
- A proven mineral reserve is the economically mineable part of a measured mineral resource demonstrated by at least a preliminary feasibility study. This study must include adequate information on mining, processing, metallurgical, economic and other relevant factors that demonstrate economic extraction can be justified.
SCOOP TRAM: A specially designed underground vehicle for scooping out blasted ore and transporting out of the mine.
SEDIMENTARY ROCK: A layered rock resulting from the consolidation of sediments. (eg. sandstone, coal, limestone)
SHAFT: An opening cut downward into the earth from the surface for transporting personnel, equipment, supplies, ore and waste. It is also used for ventilation and as an auxiliary exit. It is often equipped with a surface hoist system which lowers and raises a cage in the shaft as well as "skips" or containers for bringing up ore or waste.
SMELTING: The partial recovery of metal from processed ore. The latter will have been treated and concentrated at a mill, but smelting is required to actually recover the metal content and convert it to a form that is ready for refining.
STAKING: The measuring of an area of ground and marking with stakes or posts to establish and acquire mineral rights. Some jurisdictions have now implemented online or "map" staking that is accomplished with a personal computer and credit card.
STOPE: A mining area established on an underground level where ore is blasted and broken.
STRIKE: The direction of a structural surface. For example, the bedding plane of a sedimentary rock.
TAILINGS: Waste material from a mineral processing mill.
VEIN: An opening, fissure, or crack in rock containing mineralized material.
WINZE: A vertical or inclined internal shaft sunk from one level to another in an underground mine.