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Mining Talk & Terminology

Symbols & Meanings

ADIT. A nearly horizontal passage driven from the surface to the mine workings.

AIR DRILLING. Rotary drilling using compressed air.

ALLUVIAL DEPOSIT. Sometimes referred to as placer. Sand, gravel etc, removed from a parent rock by water, time and errosion and deposited at a distance location.

ANTICLINE. Upward fold or arch in the rock strata.

ASSAY. The testing of an ore to determine the content of valuable minerals. Can be wet or fire.

ASSESMENT WORK. Work that is required to maintain one property. This is set by government set standards. Companies must spent a certain amount of dollars by, mapping, testing, trenching etc.

ATTITUDE. Direction and degree of a dip of a structure. This could be a vein, lode or zone of mineralisation. Some call it dip and strike.

AURIFEROUS. This means gold bearing material (the kind everyone would like to find).


BASAL TILL. Clay deposit material left along at the base of a glacier.

BASALT. Fine grained, darker-coloured igneous rock. Old lava beds that have hardened.

BASE METALS. Commercial (non precious) metals such as lead, zinc, copper or nickle.

BEDROCK. The solid base of earth under the over burden and soils or gravels.

BITUMINOUS COAL. A middle rank coal formed by pressure and heat on lignite. Usually has a high Btu value (british thermal unit) and sometimes know as soft coal.

BOREHOLE. The hole that is made from drilling a well, core etc.

BTU. British thermal unit. The amount of energy that is required to raise one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit.


CALORIFIC VALUE. The amount of heat that can be obtained from one pound of coal or oil measured in BTU's.

CAMBRIAN. The earliest period of the Palaeozoic era to which systems of rock may be assigned.

CARBONATES. Minerals consisting of carbonates of calcium, iron or magnesium.

CLAIM. Claims are parcels of land that are staked by companies or individuals for the purpose of exploring and mining. Depending on the area and countries they are measured off in different sizes of acreage.

CONCENTRATE. A product that has the valuable material after all the wasgte has been eliminated.

CORE. Sometimes called core sample. A sample of rock that has been drill out of the area of interest.

CRETACEOUS. A period in history from 130 to 60 million years ago.

CUT OFF. The lowest the grade of ore that can be mined profitably.


DEPOSIT. An area that has a quantity of ore or other material that is deemed to be mineable.

DEVONIAN. A period from about 400 to 360 million years ago.

DIAMOND DRILLING. A rotary drill which cuts by abrasion rather than percussion. The bit is of diamond tips.

DREDGING. A means of extracting gold bearing materials or any other material from under water.


ELUVIAL. Material that has been moved from it's source via time and water. Most placer mines are eluvial.

EXTRACTION. The process of taking out the good ore from the waste materials.


FAULT ZONE. A fault, instead of being a single clean fracture, may be a zone hundreds or thousands of feet wide. The fault zone consists of numerous interlacing small faults or a confused zone of gouge, breccia, or mylonite.

FERROUS. Any mineral that containing iron.

FISSURE. A crack or fracture in rocks.

FLOAT. Pieces rock which become separated from the main body due to time and weathering.

FLUME. Used by the old timers, flumes were built to divert water from a source to where the mining was taking place. Like old wooded aquaducts.


GEIGER COUNTER. A device used to find and sense radioactive mineral.

GEOCHEMICAL. The study of the chemical composition of rocks, soil and other sediments.

GEOLOGICAL SURVEY. The drilling surface rock outcroppings for the purpose of exploratory developement.

GRAB SAMPLE. Sample of rock or material grabbed at random to be analyzed.


IN SITU. In a natural or original position.

INDUCED POLARISATION. A geophysical prospecting method of passing an electrical current through the ground and measuring the effect of rocks and minerals in its path.

INDUSTRIAL MINERALS. Non metalic. Examples: Salts, silica, gravels etc.

INTERMEDIATE ROCKS. Igneous rocks containing between 52 and 66 per cent silica.Between the chemical composition of acid and basic rocks.


JIG. A machine used to collect concentates of ore by water pulsation.


LEACHING. A process of chemical extration of minerals from ore material. Example: Gold is extracted using the heap leach method.

LODE. Mineral deposit contained in solid rock. (motherlode)


National Instrument 43-101 (NI 43-101). Is a rule developed by the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) and administered by the provincial securities commissions that govern how issuers disclose scientific and technical information about their mineral projects to the public. It covers oral statements as well as written documents and websites. It requires that all disclosure be based on advice by a "qualified person" and in some circumstances that the person be independent of the issuer and the property.

A qualified person (QP) as defined in NI 43-101 as an individual who:
a) is an engineer or geoscientist with at least five years of experience in mineral exploration, mine development or operation or mineral project assessment, or any combination of these;
b) has experience relevant to the subject matter of the mineral project and the technical report;
c) is a member in good standing of a professional association.


ORE RESERVE. The amount of ore that is availble for extraction.

OVERBURDEN. Material such us dirt, clay and sand that cover e surface area.


PALEOZOIC. The time between the Pre Cambrian and the Mesozoic.

PAYDIRT. The pay. The material washed in sluicing that contains the gold.

PERCUSSION DRILLING. A method of drilling process that involves hammering the drill bit down the hole.

PERMIAN. A time period from about 290 to 240 million years ago.

PLACER. Referred to mostly in gold. Mining the surface. Eluvial type mining.

PYRITES. A hard, heavy, shiny, yellow mineral, FeS2 or iron disulfide.generally Also called iron pyrites, mica pyrites, fool's gold, sulfur balls.


QUATERNARY. A time period dating from about 1.8 million years ago to the present.


ROTARY DRILLING. A drilling method where the drill pipe and bit is rotated and allowed to drill it's way down.

ROYALTIES. Money owed to the claim holder or owner. NSR (net smelter royalty)


SHAFT. A vertical excavation used for the purpose of opening a mine.

SHOOT. A concentration of mineral values.

SLAG. The waste product from smelting.

SLUICE. A long trough with riffles used to catch gold.


TAILINGS. Material left over after the rock has been proceessed of it's ore.

TERTIARY. A time dating from about 65 to 2 million years ago.

TROMMEL. A machine that washes placer material by rotation.


ULTRABASIC. Igneous rock containing less than 45 per cent silica.

ULTRAMAFIC. Igneous rock composed essentially of iron and magnesium.


VEIN. An fracture or crack in a rock that contains mineralised material.

VUG. A cavity in a rock.


Symbols & Meanings

Magnesium - Mg
Aluminium - Al
Iron - Fe
Cobalt - Co
Nickel - Ni
Copper - Cu
Zinc - Zn
Molybdenum - Mo
Rhodium - Rh
Palladium - Pd
Silver - Ag
Cadmium - Cd
Indium - In
Tin - Sn
Tantalum - Ta
Tungsten - W
Iridium - Ir
Platinum - Pt
Gold - Au
Mercury - Hg


A Bit About Gold

Gold is the most malleable and ductile metal. One ounce of gold can be beaten out to 300 ft2. Gold is a good conductor of electricity and heat. It is not affected by exposure to air or to most reagents. It is inert and a good reflector of infrared radiation. Gold is usually alloyed to increase its strength. Pure gold is measured in troy weight, but when gold is alloyed with other metals the term karat is used to express the amount of gold present.



Commonly Used Gold Weights

(based on troy ounces)
The traditional unit of weight for gold is the troy ounce of the Anglo-Saxon system of weights and measures. Despite the gradual conversion to the metric system, the troy ounce remains a traditional fixture of the gold trade and the most important basis for expressing quotations on a majority of the leading gold markets.

1 troy ounce = 31.1034807 grams
1 troy ounce = 480 grains
1 troy ounce = 20 pennyweights
3.75 troy ounces = 10 tolas (Indian sub-continent)
6.02 troy ounces = 5 taels (Chinese)
32.15 troy ounces = 1 kilogram
32,150 troy ounces = 1 metric ton (1,000 kilos)



Karats to Gold Percentage
10K .416
14K .585
18K .750
22K .916
24K 100%


DWT is an abbreviation for penny weight.
1 oz.= 20 DWT
DWT/OZ
2=.10
4=.20
6=.30
8=.40
10=.50
20=1 oz.


Specific Gravity Of Minerals

The specific gravity of a substance is the ratio of its weight to the weight of an equal volume of water.
Water weight = 8.34 pounds per imperial gallon.

2.7 - rock
2.7 - quartz
4.2 - copper
4.3 - garnet
5.1 - pyrite -- 5.1 - magnetite
5.3 - hematite
7.3 - tin
7.5 - galena
7.9 - iron
10.5 - silver
11.3 - lead
13.6 - mercury
19.2 - gold
21.5 - platinum










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