This section provides mining terminology explanations for visitors who may not
be familiar with those used on this Website. Definitions are re-printed from the
1996 edition of "Mining Explained", with kind permission from The Northern
Miner, Southam Magazine and Information Group.
Any departure from the norm which may indicate the presence of mineralization in
the underlying bedrock.
A chemical test performed on a sample of ores or minerals to determine the amount
of valuable metals contained.
A rock in which angular fragments are surrounded by a mass of fine-grained
The long cylindrical piece of rock, about an inch in diameter, brought to
surface by diamond drilling.
An underground source of concentrated minerals. A mineral deposit is made up of
ore minerals, which carry the metal, and gangue, or worthless, minerals formed
along with the ore minerals. Mineralization becomes ore when the minerals are
present insufficient quantity (or tonnage) and adequate quality (or grade) to be
The size and quality of a potential orebody is suggested by widely spaced
drill holes. A circular cut is made in the rock to extract a continuous
cylindrical core sample from the centre of the cut.
Breaks in the earth's crust caused by tectonic forces which have moved the rock
on one side with respect to the other.
Breaks in the rock, the openings of which allow mineral-bearing solutions to
enter. A "cross fracture" is a minor break extending at more-or-less right
angles to the direction of the principal fractures.
The chemical properties of rock or soil.
An alloy metal obtained from the ore mineral molybdenite.
A mine that is entirely on the surface. Also referred to as an open-cut or open
cast mine, it is the least expensive kind of mine.
Any igneous rock (formed by the solidification of molten material from far below
the Earth's surface) in which relatively large crystals, called phenocrysts, are
set in a fine-grained ground-mass. Porphyry-type deposits are large. Porphyry
copper is a deposit of disseminated (spread more or less uniformly) copper
minerals in or around a large body of intrusive rock.
An area of distinct mineralization.