This glossary, complied from a variety of sources, is by no means
an exhaustive list of terms used in the mining sector.
China Gold Mining hopes it will help to increase your understanding of the industry.

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A tunnel driven horizontally into a mountainside providing access to an ore deposit.
Aeromagnetic Survey:
A geophysical survey using a magnetometer aboard, or towed behind, an aircraft.
The chemical symbol for silver.
Mixing of mined ore with lime, cyanide and cement prior to loading on the heap leach pad.
Aluminum :
A light, malleable metal that is a good conductor of electricity. Commonly found in nature in oxidized form, bauxite.
Alluvial Or Bench Deposits:
An alluvial deposit is an ancient river-washed rock and gravel bar that may be thousands of feet from the nearest stream, creek, or river. Alluvial (or bench) deposits contain untapped potential for finding gold because such areas have never been worked before. The hydraulic giants generally worked alluvial deposits.
Any departure from the norm which may indicate the presence of mineralization in the underlying bedrock.
Light grey to almost black variety of gabbro, made up of plagioclase with a mafic content of less than 10%.
Asbestos :
One of the characteristics of this fibrous mineral is its high resistance to heat.
The chemical test of rock samples to determine the mineral content.
Assessment Work:
The amount of work, specified by mining law, that must be performed each year in order to retain legal control of mining claims.
Chemical symbol for gold
Autoclave system:
A process in which oxygen, high temperatures and pressures are applied to convert refractory sulfide ore into oxide ore, thereby making it amenable to subsequent treatment by cyanide solutions in order to dissolve the gold as a part of the recovery process (see "Carbon-in-leach").
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Waste material used to fill the void created by mining an ore body.
Barren Pond:
A holding containing a chemical solution from which the gold and silver has been removed.
Barren rock:
Rock that does not contain minerals in quantities sufficient to allow for economically profitable mining.
Base Metal:
Copper, aluminum, lead, nickel, and tin.
A large mass of igneous rock extending to great depth with its upper portion dome-like in shape. Similar, smaller masses of igneous rocks are known as bosses or plugs.
Below Collar:
A distance below the surface elevation of a shaft
Best Cut:
The optimum stoping width for mining of the reef at prevailing metal prices and costs.
One of the successively lower steps or stages created in mining an open pit ore body under one system of open pit mining.
The process of using naturally occurring bacteria to accelerate the oxidation of sulfidic minerals that encase some forms of gold and prevent leaching chemicals from reaching the gold. When ore is exposed to large concentrations of these sulfide-consuming organisms, enough of the sulfidic material can be removed to recover the gold using the normal leaching process.
Technique to break ore in an underground or open-pit mine.
A rock in which angular fragments are surrounded by a mass of fine-grained minerals.
Bucket Line Dredge:
Unlike the modern, small scale dredges; a bucket line dredge was very large. Instead of sucking up water and gravel through the use of water pressure, the bucket line dredges would scoop it up and run it through a long sluice box. Only 10 cents of gold was needed for each square yard of material to make a profit back when these dredges were common in the 1890s and on into the early 1900s.
Built-up Head Grade
The total 4E grams produced from the concentrating process from concentrate, metallics (where applicable) and tailings divided by the total tons milled.
Bulk sampling:
Removing mineral substances in substantial quantities (over 50 tonnes) in order to do mineral processing tests.
Precious metals cast into bars or other uncoined form.
Bullion Coin
A precious metal coin whose market value is determined by its inherent precious metal content. They are bought and sold mainly for investment purposes.
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Metal used in metal-protecting alloys.
Elevator for moving people up and down mine shafts.
Carbon column circuit:
A process to recover soluble gold and silver values from a sodium-cyanide leaching solution by adsorption onto activated carbon particles.
Carbonaceous Ore:
Ore containing particles of carbon material, which may prevent recovery of dissolved gold from process solutions.
Carbon-in-leach (C-I-L):
A recovery process in which a slurry of gold ore, free carbon particles and cyanide are mixed together. The cyanide dissolves the gold from the ore into a solution, and simultaneously the gold is adsorbed onto the carbon. The carbon is subsequently separated from the slurry to recover the gold.
Carbon-in-pulp (C-I-P):
Similar to carbon-in-leach process, but initially the slurry is subjected to cyanide leaching in separate tanks followed by carbon-in-pulp. Carbon-in-leach is a simultaneous process.
From the Arabic quirrat seed, unit for measuring the mass of precious stones; it is equal to 0,2g/0,00705 oz, and is part of the troy system of weights. It is also unit of purity in gold (US karat). Pure gold is 24-carat (the purest used in jewelry, is 22 parts gold and 2 parts alloy) to give greater strength.
Cash cost per ounce:
Includes site costs for all mining (except deferred mining and stripping costs), processing, administration, and resource taxes; but does not include royalties, capital, exploration, depreciation, and financing costs. By-product revenues are deducted from total cash costs and divided by payable gold ounces to arrive at net cash per ounce.
A sulphide mineral of copper and iron; the most important ore mineral of copper.
Channel Width:
The total thickness of all reef bands including internal waste.
Channel Sample:
A sample composed of pieces of vein or mineral deposit that have been cut out of a small trench or channel, usually about 10 cm wide and 2 cm deep.
Chip Sample:
A method of sampling a rock exposure whereby a regular series of small chips of rock is broken off along a line across the face.
Mining right that grants holder the exclusive right to search, within a given territory, for any mineral substance. May exclude peat, sand, clay, gravel, hydrocarbons, brine and stone used for industrial purposes.
Chemical symbol for cobalt
A black or brownish-black solid combustible substance, formed by the partial decomposition of vegetable matter, that is widely used as a natural fuel. Coal quality is largely related to extent of decay, and depth and duration of burial.
i) Substance of value produced by physical and/or chemical processing of ore.
ii) The separation of economically valuable minerals from the gangue.
Contained ounces:
Represents mineral ounces in the ground without reduction for ounces not recoverable by the applicable process.
Containment pond:
Structure for the accumulation of solid, chemical or dangerous substances in order to prevent their dispersal into the environment.
Any element or natural substance whose concentration locally exceeds the background concentration, or any substance that does not naturally occur in the environment.
Very malleable and ductile red metal that is a good conductor of electricity.
Core sample:
Cylindrical sample of rock taken from the ground by drilling for research and exploration purposes.
The process of digging in river-borne gravels by tunneling until bedrock is hit. The tunnel is dug in hopes of finding a rich bedrock deposit deep in the gravel bar.
Drift in an underground mine that provides access to an orebody.
Crown or Surface Pillar:
A body of rock of variable geometry, which may or may not contain minerals. Located above the underground operations, it supports the surface above stopes.
Crushing and grinding:
The process by which ore is broken into small pieces to prepare it for further processing.
Chemical symbol for copper
Cut and Fill Stoping:
An underground excavation method in which ore is removed in successive flat or inclined slices, working upward. After each slice is blasted down, all broken ore is removed, and the stope is filled with waste up to within a few feet of the back before the next slice is taken out. Enough space is left between the top of the waste pile and the back of the stope to provide working space.
Cut-off grade:
The lowest grade material that can be included in a potentially economic intersection without dropping the overall grade below a specified level, referred to as the minimum mining grade. Lowest grade of mineralised material that qualifies as ore.
Cyanidation/Cyanide Leaching:
A method of extracting gold or silver by dissolving it in a weak solution of sodium or potassium cyanide.
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A generic term used to describe a shaft at an inclination below the horizontal and usually at the same angle as the dip of the reef
Deferred mining costs:
The operating costs associated with recoverable gold yet to be recovered from the heap leach pads.
Deferred stripping costs:
Mining costs associated with waste rock removal that are deferred and charged to income on the basis of the average stripping ratio for the mine. The average stripping ratio is calculated as a ratio of the tons of material estimated to be mined to the estimated recoverable ounces of gold. Deferred stripping cost serve to spread the cost associated with waste rock removal over the life of the mine. At the start of a mineís productive life, such costs are usually higher than later years on a per ounce of gold produced basis as the mining rate is above the life-of-mine stripping ratio. In later years, as the mining rate falls bellow the life-of-mine stripping ratio, the deferred costs are charged to operating costs.
A phase of activity ranging from confirmation of a mineral deposit to the decision to build a mine. Development includes all geological, engineering and economic work necessary to ensure profitable mining and compliance with applicable laws.
A common basic igneous rock usually occurring in dykes or sills.
The hardest and most brilliant of all precious gems. Drills are equipped with diamond tips in order to cut through hard rock.
Diamond drilling:
A rock drilling method using a rotary diamond bit which is attached to long hollow rods. The drill cuts a cylindrical core of solid rock, recovered for geological and metallurgical examination, and assay purposes.
A tabular igneous intrusion that cuts across the planar structures of the surrounding rock
The effect of waste or low grade ore being included unavoidably in the mined ore, lowering the recovered grade.
An intrusive igneous rock composed chiefly of plagioclase, hornblende, biotite or pyroxene.
The angle that a structural surface, a bedding or fault plane, makes with the horizontal, measured perpendicular to the strike of the structure
Dore Bullion:
Bullion produced after initial refining. It frequently has a gold and silver content of 85 to 95 percent.
The sample of rock obtained by diamond drilling
A common piece of mining equipment today, the dredge sucks up dirt and gravel from within the stream bed by the use of water pressure. The dredge is operated by the use of a water pump and a network of hoses. Dredge hose sizes can be anywhere from one inch in diameter to 20 inches or more.
Drift :
In mining, a drift is defined as a horizontal passageway that is excavated along a rich vein of ore. Hard rock mines usually use drifts to obtain the rich ore, though, some hard rock mines are open pit.
Piercing a hole in rock. In exploration, drilling allows for samples of the rock to be taken. In mining, it is used to insert explosives for blasting.
  • Blasthole drilling: the drilling of holes in the rock to insert an explosive charge.
  • Diamond drilling: drilling with a hollow bit which has diamond cutting rim to produce a cylindrical core that is used for geological study and assays. Used in exploration.
  • In-fill drilling: drilling at shorter intervals between holes, used to provide greater geological detail and to help establish reserve estimates.
  • Rotary drilling: drilling with a bit that breaks the rock into chips rather than core. Faster and cheaper than diamond drilling, the chips are forced by water and air to the surface for examination.
  • Reverse-Circulation drilling: a type of rotary drilling that uses a double-walled drill pipe. Compressed air, water or other drilling medium is forced down the space between the two pipes to the drill bit and the drilled chips are flushed back up to the surface through the center tube of the drill pipe.
Drywasher :
A common desert mining tool. The drywasher is like a highbanker but lacks the need for water. A drywasher operates by the use of wind. The light junk material is blown off the top of the sluice in the drywasher and the gold stays on the bottom. The sluice riffles in a drywasher are backwards for better recovery.
Dyke (Vein):
A long mass of eruptive rock, a dyke (vein) may consist of mineral deposits located between other rocks.
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The recovery of metal by electrolysis. An electric current is passed through a solution containing dissolved metals, which causes the metals to be deposited on a cathode.
EM Survey:
A geophysical survey method which measures the electromagnetic properties of rocks.
Wearing away and transformation of the earth's crust caused by water (rain, sea), ice and atmospheric agents (wind).
In the broad sense, the whole range of mining activity from searching for and developing mineral deposits to developing the mine. In the strict sense, the search for mineral deposits up to discovery and includes the deliniation of the deposit by means of drilling and sampling.
  • Grass roots exploration: exploration for ore in an area that has the correct geologic setting, although no ore has been previously found in that setting.
  • Headframe exploration: exploration for a separate orebody within sight of an existing mine.
  • Definition exploration: exploration that defines an orebody, or searches for extensions to the orebody, once it has been discovered.
Mining activity that consists of removing the rock from an underground or open-pit mine.
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A fracture in rock along which there has been an observable amount of displacement
Feasibility study:
A definitive engineering study addressing the economic viability of bringing a deposit to the production stage; taking into consideration all associated costs, revenues and risks. The study is used to support the search for project financing.
The purity of precious metal measured in parts per thousand.
Fine Weight
The weight of precious metal contained in a coin or bullion as determined by multiplying the gross weight by the fineness.
A form of concentration of certain minerals from gangue based on their different surface reaction to chemical flocculants. A reagent (chemical flocculants) is used to adhere to the target mineral, which then rises to the top of the flotation cell with injected air, where it can be collected.
Flour Gold/Gold Dust:
Gold that is so fine that it looks and feels like flour or dust. "The bread and butter of prospecting." Nuggets are just a bonus.
Flumes are like sluice boxes, they do not have riffles though and are used solely to transport water in areas where a ditch would be impossible (cliffsides, rocky hillsides). Two flumes were built in the construction of the China Ditch.
A pyrometallurgical plant where the concentrate is chemicaly reduced in order to extract the metal or metals it contains.
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Rock surrounding a mineral or precious gem in its natural state. It is a mineral within the ore body, unassociated with the major ore deposit being mined, and having no economic value in its present state and time
The study of the chemical components of the earth's crust and mantle. Geochemistry is applied to mining exploration to detect sites that indicate abnormal concentrations either of the elements being sought or of their more readily detected associate elements. Depending on circumstance, geochemical exploration samples soils, rock and lake and stream sediments.
Science devoted to the study of the structure and evolution of the earth's crust.
Geophysical surveys:
A survey method used primarily in the mining industry as an exploration tool, applying the methods of physics and engineering to the earthís surface. Exploration by observation of seismic of electrical phenomena and the earthís gravitational or magnetic fields, using specialized instrumentation
Study of the various physical properties of the earth and the composition and movement of its component layers of rock. Geophysics is applied to mining exploration to detect zones characterized by their physical properties such as magnetism, gravity or conductivity (electromagnetism).
Layered granite like rock,
A very ductile and malleable brilliant yellow precious metal that is resistant to air and water corrosion.
Gold loan:
A transaction whereby a company borrows a specified number of ounces of gold and immediately sells the gold in the market to convert the loan proceeds to cash. The gold loan is repaid through the delivery of gold at predetermined future dates.
An iron-oxide rich weathered product overlying a sulphide deposit.
Grams per tonne.
Grab Samples:
A sample of rock or sediment taken more or less indiscriminately at any place.
The amount of valuable mineral in each ton or ore, expressed as troy ounces per ton for precious metals and as percentage for other metals.
  • Cut-off grade: the lowest grade of mineralized material which is deemed to be economical to mine.
  • Mill head grade: metal content of mined ore going into a mill for processing.
  • Recovered grade: actual metal content of ore determined after mining.
  • Reserve grade: estimated metal content or an orebody, based on reserve calculations.
The smallest unit of mass in the three English systems (avoirdupois, troy and apothecariesí weights) used in the UK and USA, equal to 0,0648g. It was reputedly the weight of a grain of wheat. One pound avoirdupois equals 7 000 grains; one pound troy apothecaries weight equals 5 760 grains
Metric unit of mass; one thousandth of a kilogram
A medium to coarse grained igneous intrusive rock in which quartz constitutes 10 to 50 percent of the felsic components
Gravity circuit:
A process of recovering gold from crushed rock or gravel using goldís high specific gravity to separate it from lighter material.
Means of reducing ore into very small particles by means of pressure or impact. Different types of grinders are used in the processing plant to obtain the desired dimension.
Grams per tonne gold.
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A stamped impression on the surface of a precious metals bar that indicates the producer, serial number, weight, and purity of metal content.
Hard Rock Mine:
A hard rock mine is a tunnel that is dug into solid rock for the sole purpose of finding valuable or precious rocks, minerals, or metals. Gold originates deep within the earth in places called Pockets. The pockets are filled with gold, heavy ore, and quartz.
Hazardous waste:
Material that, given its quantity, concentration and composition or its corrosive, inflammable, reactive, toxic, infectious or radioactive characteristics, presents a real or potential danger to human health, safety and public well-being or poses a danger to the environment if it is not stored, treated, transported, eliminated, used or otherwise managed. Mining tailings are not normally hazardous waste.
Head frame:
Structure above the mine shaft containing the equipment necessary for lowering and raising equipment and personnel, and for raising the ore which is generally stored in a ore bin before being transported to the processing plant.
Head Grade:
The gold contained in material passing through the mill in grams per tonne or troy ounces per short ton milled
Heap/dump leaching:
A process whereby gold is extracted by "heaping" broken ore on sloping impermeable pads and repeatedly spraying the heaps with a very diluted cyanide solution which dissolves the gold content. The gold-laden solution is then collected for gold recovery.
Heap leach pad:
A large, impermeable foundation or pad used as a base for ore during heap leaching. The leach solution is collected for recirculation or disposal and does not escape form the circuit.
Heavy minerals:
Minerals with high specific gravity such as ilmenite, zircon, garnets, magnetite and rutile
Generally refers to any precaution against risk. In the context of gold mines refer specifically to measures to reduce the risk of gold price fluctuations ñ particularly a fall in the gold price. Hedging has almost become standard practice to "insure" funding over the duration of large capital expenditure programs. Hedging the gold price is done by forward contracts and options and has developed into quite an art form.
The most common iron ore, it is a natural iron oxide that is reddish or brown in colour.
A highbanker is a sluice box with mobility. Instead of being put right in the creek like a sluice, the highbanker uses a water pump to transport the water into higher and sometimes richer placer reserves. In addition to the ability to go just about anywhere, the highbanker also is able to run more material in less time than the sluice. These characteristics make the highbanker a common modern day mining tool.
A plane of stratification assumed to have been once horizontal and continuous
Hydraulic "Giant" or Monitor:
The firehose-type nozzles that sprayed huge amounts of water on hillsides to recover gold out of them..
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Formed by the solidification of hot mobile material termed magma
An oxide of iron and titanium, it is a mineral mined north of Havre St. Pierre on the Lower North Shore of Quebec.
Immediately available ore reserves:
Ground available for mining without any further development
Indicated Mineral Resource:
is that part of a Mineral Resource for which tonnage, densities, shape, physical characteristics, grade and mineral content can be estimated with a reasonable level of confidence.  It is based on exploration, sampling and testing information gathered through appropriate techniques from locations such as outcrops, trenches, pits, workings and drill holes.  The locations are too widely or inappropriately spaced to confirm geological and/or grade continuity but are spaced closely enough for continuity to be assumed.
Induced Polarization:
A geophysical survey method which measures the properties of rocks.
Inferred Mineral Resource:
is that part of a Mineral Resource for which tonnage, grade and mineral content can be estimated with a low level of confidence.  It is inferred from geological evidence and assumed but not verified geological and/or grade continuity.  It is based on information gathered through appropriate techniques from locations such as outcrops, tenches, pits, workings and drill holes that may be limited or of uncertain quality and reliability
Construction necessary for mining, such as certain buildings, gas pipes, water lines, sewage and water systems, telephone cables and reservoirs. It may also include roads, railways, airports and bridges, as well as transmission lines, electrical cables, pylons and transformers.
The original, natural state of the orebody before mining or processing of the ore takes place
The process of emplacement of magma (naturally occurring molten rock material generated within the earth) in pre-existing rock
A ductile and malleable greyish white metal used in making steel.
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A measure of the purity of gold. Pure gold is 24-karat.
A blue/grey igneous rock which contains olivine, serpentine, calcite and silica.
Kimberlite fissures
Kimberlite fissures or dykes are intrusive bodies occurring along structural weaknesses in rocks. Generally economic diamond-bearing fissures in South Africa average 600mm to 800mm in width and may well be more than 5 km in strike length
A measure of distance known as a kilometre.
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The amount of material which must be mined for the slope of a pit wall to be at a safe angle.
Slow passage of a solvent through a layer of porous or crushed material in order to extract valuable components. For example, gold can be extracted by heap leaching a porous ore or pulverized tailings.
Leach Pad:
A large impermeable foundation several layers thick lined with high density polyethylene that prevents leach solution from leaking out of the gold recovery system and into the ground.
A heavy soft malleable ductile but inelastic bluish white metallic element found mostly in combination and used in pippes, cable sheaths, batteries, solder, type metal, and shields against radioactivity.
Long-hole mining:
A method of mining involving the drilling of holes up to 90 feet long into an ore body and then blasting a slice of rock which falls into an open space. The broken rock is extracted and the resulting open chamber is not filled with supporting material.
Long Tom:
Similiar to a sluice box, but longer and skinnier.
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Liquid or molten rock deep in the earth in a zone of very high temperatures and enormous pressure where rock fusion takes place (Upper Mantle).
A malleable and ductile silvery white metal that is used in alloys.
Branch of physics that studies the properties of magnets and magnetic fields.
A term broadly applied to those multinational resource companies which by virtue of size, age, or degree of integration are among the preeminent companies in the international resource industry.
Changes over time, in the composition and structure of rocks caused by pressure and temperature.
Metric conversion
Troy ounces x 31.1034 = Grams
Troy ounces per short ton x 34.286 = Grams per tonne
Feet x 0.3048 = Meters
Miles x 1.6093 = Kilometers
Acres x 0.40468 = Hectares
The science and art of separating metals from their ores by mechanical and chemical processes
The chemical symbol for magnesium
Mill/concentrator Processing plant:
Surface plant facilities for ore treatment that allow for the recovery and removal of metals or the concentration of valuable minerals for smelting and refining.
A plant built to extract an ore or mineral substance either underground or from the surface. When the ore is extracted underground, the mine needs a system of excavations in the rock to gain access to the ore areas. When the ore is mined from surface, the ore is extracted from one or several pits.
An inorganic natural substance which is characterized by its atomic structure and physical and chemical properties.
Mineral deposit:
Mineralized mass that may be economically valuable, but whose characteristics require more detailed information. An ore body being mined may be called a deposit.
Mineral processing:
Process of extraction and concentration of economic minerals contained in ore. Mineral processing includes various procedures that rely on the mineral's gravimetric, and magnetic characteristics, on its colour, on reagents to make target particles float to the surface (flotation).
Rock containing an undetermined amount of minerals or metals.
Mineralized Resources:
Known deposits for which it has yet to be determined whether extraction and production are economically feasible.
Activity whose purpose is the extraction, concentration, smelting of economic minerals from a mineral deposit. It includes exploration (in the strict sense), development of mineral deposits, constructing the mine and mining, i.e. extracting and processing the ore or tailings.
Mining claim:
That portion of public mineral lands which a party has staked or marked out in accordance with federal, provincial or state mining laws to acquire the right to explore for and exploit the minerals under the surface.
Mother Lode:
Every miner hopes of finding their own "mother lode" or source of the gold that's laden in the rivers. A mother lode is where the gold is trapped inside veins of quartz on mountain sides. The erosion of land causes the gold to break away from this source and eventually wash down into the river. The larger the pieces of gold being found in the river, the closer one is to the mother lode. Mother lode also refers to the vast area in Central California where gold was found. It was called the mother lode, because the whole area was a source, not just a small target area.
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Net profits interest/Net proceeds royalty:
A royalty based on the profit remaining after recapture of certain operating, capital and other costs. The type and manner of computation of such capital and other costs will vary in each transaction.
Net smelter return:
A royalty based on a percentage of gold produced with settlement made either in kind or in currency based on the spot gold sale proceeds received less the cost of refining at an off-site refinery.
Chemical symbol for nickel
A silvery white metal that is very resistant and stable at ambient temperatures.
A rare brilliant white metal always found in combination with tantalum.
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Open Pit Mine:
In search of rich veins of quartz, open pit mines are common today. Because of the danger associated with drifts, open pit mines are dug from the ground down and are never tunneled. They can be best described as, "A big hole."
Any natural combination of minerals. Especially one from which a metal or metals can be profitably extracted. Commonly a mixture of one or more of the following: quartz, gold, copper, silver, sulfer, iron, and nickel.
Ore reserves:
The portion of a mineral deposit that can be profitably mined. Use of this term implies both an appropriate detailed knowledge of all the geological, engineering, economic and environmental parameters that might affect on profitability of the operation. For a new mining project or for the mining of new zones in an existing mine, a formal feasibility study is conducted to evaluate all parameters of the project.
Mineralized mass whose characteristics have been determined and deemed commercially viable. The term orebody is used once the economic limits of the mineralized mass and its grade have been examined.
Troy ounces of a fineness of 999.9 parts per 1,000 parts, which equals 31.1034 grams per ounce.
Uneconomic material which overlies a bed of useful material; barren rock material overlying a mineral deposit
Oxide material/oxide ore:
Mineralized rock in which some of the original minerals have been oxidized. Oxidation tends to make the ore more porous and permits a more complete permeation of cyanide solutions so that minute particles of gold in the interior of the minerals will be readily dissolved.
Ounce of a particular element per short ton of rock
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Pack train:
Pack trains were used to transport the bare necessities to miners and loggers in the 19th century. They usually consisted of 5 or more horses or mules and a few men.
Operation that consists of separating heavier minerals such as gold and sulphides from lighter metals in stream sediment, loose soil or crushed rock in a container shaped like a frying pan. In arid countries a similar operation, winnowing, can be performed without water.
Chemical symbol for lead
Platinum Group Metals, six metallic elements found in association with each other and constitute the platinoids: Platinum (PI), Palladium (Pd), Rhodium (Rh), Ruthenium (Ru), Osmium (Os), and Iridium (Ir)
A deposit of sand and gravel containing valuable metals such as gold, tin or diamonds
Placer Mines:
Placer Mines are in the categories of mining through the use of water. It involves mining gold that has been washed away from it's motherlode (or source) and deposited in small cracks, holes, or sand bars in the mainstream of a river. Some Placer Mining involves working bench gravels. Hydraulic giants take advantage of the bench deposits and recover gold from these ancient river-borne gravels.
In mining, a pocket is defined as a cavity filled with ore, or a rich deposit of precious metal.
Possible reserve:
Ore deposits whose continuity has been determined from limited sampling information and reasonable extrapolation. It does not stand alone but is an extension of, or additional to, proven or probable reserves. Possible reserves are excellent targets for increasing a probable reserve and for extending the deposit over a larger and generally deeper area.
Any of several potassium salts, such as potassium chloride, mined and processed for use in agriculture and industry.
Pre-feasibility study:
The initial stage of the feasibility study in which the accuracy of the factors involved such as costs and revenues is +- 25%. Should the pre-feasibility study be positive, then the company would move to the final feasibility study
Pregnant pond:
Pond containing solution which has percolated though the ore on a heap leach. The solution is impregnated with the gold and silver removed from the ore.
Preg-robbing Ores:
Ore containing carbonaceous material which preferentially absorbs (robs) gold from pregnant cyanide solutions, this preventing old recovery.
Primary crushing:
Process of reducing blasted ore into smaller fragments so that it can be transported to the processing plant. In underground mines, the primary crusher is often located underground, or at the entrance to the processing plant.
Probable reserve:
Ore deposits whose continuity has been confirmed by samplings on a relatively detailed grid. The density of the grid allows for fairly precise determination of tonnage, density and mineral and metal content sufficient to prepare draft preliminary mining plans. It is that part of an ore deposit for which economic viability has been demonstrated at a confidence level which would justify a commitment to major expenditures. Developing a new mine is usually undertaken with probable and proven reserves.
Operation consisting of extracting the economically valuable mineral or minerals from ore or tailings.
Can have many different definitions to a miner. A prospect could be a hope for or anticipation of making a profit in mining. It can also mean to search for gold. Another definition can state it as meaning a place where a mineral deposit is sought or found.
In the broad sense, prospecting refers to exploration. In the strict sense, prospecting describes the search for surface mineralized showings (by prospectors).
Proven reserve:
Ore deposits whose tonnage, density and mineral or metal content are known in detail. This implies that sampling and drilling have been carried out in a regular grid located near mine workings. A proven reserve is that portion of an ore deposit for which technical and economic factors have been established at a high confidence level. Tthe term is generally restricted to that part of a reserve which is being developed or mined, or for which there is a detailed mining plan.
A yellow iron sulphide mineral, normally of little value. It is sometimes referred to as "fool's gold.
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Site where stone, rock and construction materials are extracted. Open-pit operation.
Crystalline silica; silicon dioxide
A very hard, often metamorphosed, sandstone consisting chiefly of tightly cemented quartz grains
Contining beds of quartzite, a sedimentary or metamorphic rock composed almost entirely of quartz grains
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Steeply inclined rectangular or cylindrical opening used for ventilation or for conveying ore, miners or equipment. The slope is generally 45 degrees, but varies up to 90 degrees.
An inclined underground tunnel which provides access for exploration or a connection between levels of a mine.
The process by which lands disturbed as a result of mining activity are reclaimed back to a beneficial land use. Reclamation activity includes the removal of buildings, equipment, machinery and other physical remnants of mining, closure of tailings impoundments, leach pads and other mine features, and contouring, covering and revegetation of waste rock piles and other disturbed areas.
Recovery rate:
A term used in process metallurgy to indicate the proportion of valuable material obtained in the processing of an ore. It is generally stated as a percentage of the material recovered compared to the total material present.
A gold-bearing quartz vein
Purifying the matte or impure metal undertaken to obtain a pure metal or mixture with specific properties. The final stage of metal production in which impurities are removed from the molten metal.
Refractory material/refractory ore:
Gold mineralized material in which the gold is not amenable to recovery by conventional cyanide methods without any pretreatment. The refractory nature can be either sulfide encapsulation of the gold or the presence of naturally occurring carbons which mask gold recovery.
Refractory sulfide material:
Mineralized rock in which much of the gold is encapsulated in sulfides and is not readily amenable to dissolution by cyanide solutions (unlike oxidized ore).
Restoring an old mining site, for a new industrial function, recreational use, or to a natural state.
That part of a mineral deposit which can be reasonably assumed to be economically extracted or produced.
Resource and Reserve Classification
Mineral resources (in situ) are divided into three categories: inferred, indicated and measured. According to this classification, the measured resource carries the highest level of confidence; inferred, the lowest. Mineral reserves (minable) are divided into two categories: probable and proven, with the latter having the highest degree of confidence.
A resource is classified as a deposit or concentration of a natural, solid inorganic or fossilized organic substance in such quantity and at such grade or quality that extraction of the material at a profit is currently or potentially possible. The classifications of resources are defined on the basis of the degree of confidence in the estimate of quantity and grade of the deposit. The classifications are as follows:
  • Inferred resource means the estimated quantity and grade of a deposit, or a part thereof, that is determined on the basis of limited sampling, but for which there is sufficient geological information and a reasonable understanding of the continuity and distribution of metal values to outline a deposit of potential economic merit.
  • Indicated resource means the estimated quantity and grade of that part of a deposit for which the continuity of grade, together with the extent and shape, are so established that a reliable estimate of grade and tonnage can be made.
  • Measured resource means the estimated quantity and grade of that part of a deposit for which the size, configuration and grade have been well established by observation and sampling of outcrops, drill holes, trenches and mine workings.
A reserve is that part of a resource which can be legally mined at a profit under specified economic conditions that are generally accepted by the mining industry as reasonable under current economic conditions, demonstrated by at least a preliminary feasibility study based on measured resources and indicated resources only. Reserves are categorized as follows on the basis of the degree of confidence in the estimate on the quantity and grade of the deposit:
  • Probable reserve means the estimated quantity and grade of that part of a measured or indicated resource for which the economic viability has been demonstrated by adequate information on engineering, operating and economic factors, with sufficient accuracy to be used as a basis for decisions on further development and significant capital expenditures.
  • Proven reserve means, for that part of a deposit which is being mined or developed or which is the subject of a mining plan, the estimated quantity and grade of that part of a measured resource for which the size, grade and distribution of values, together with technical and economic factors, are so well established that there is the highest degree of confidence in the estimate.
Reverse circulation drilling:
A drilling method using a tricone bit, during which rock cuttings are pushed to the surface through an outer tube by liquid and/or air pressure moving through an inner tube
Reverse fault:
A thrust fault with a dip of 45" or less in which the hanging wall appears to have moved upward relative to the footwall
The treatment of ore by heat and air, or oxygen enriched air, in order to remove sulfur, carbon, antimony and arsenic.
Rocker Box or Cradle:
Like a sluice box the rocker box has riffles and a carpet in it to trap the gold. It was designed to be used in areas with less water than a sluice box. The process involves pouring water out of a small cup and then rocking the small sluice box like a cradle, thus the name rocker box or cradle.
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A small portion of rock or a mineral deposit taken so that the metal content can be determined by assaying.
Selecting a fractional but representative part of a mineral deposit for analysis
A white, friable mineral that is highly soluble in water.
A strongly foliated crystalline rock formed by dynamic metamorphism
Formation of sediment. A sediment is a natural deposit created by the action of dynamic external agents such as water, wind, and ice.
Settling pond:
Basin or pond that allows solid materials in suspension to settle.
A vertical passageway to an underground mine used to raise to surface or lower to underground personnel, equipment, supplies and material and to raise ore and waste rock to surface.
Shaker Table:
Shaker tables are like giant gold pans. An engine drives a belt that vibrates a huge bucket. Instead of the junk material being separated from the gold, the gold is seperated from the junk. The vibration of the bucket causes the gold to settle to the bottom, the junk goes into a small classifier and is dumped out into a tailing pile.
A fine-grained detrital sedimentary rock formed by the consolidation of clay, silt or mud and characterized by finely stratified structure
Shear zone:
A tabular zone of rock that has been crushed and brecciated by many parallel fractures due to shear strain
An indication of mineralization, the extent and economic value of which are unknown.
Shrinkage stoping :
A method of stoping which utilizes part of the broken ore as a working platform and as support for the walls.
A very malleable metal found naturally in an uncombined state or with other metals.
A container used in the mine shaft to vertically transport the ore up the mine shaft to the surface.
Vitreous materials containing impurities from the ore and forming on the surface of molten metals.
Sluice Box:
A long, narrow, wood or metal artificial channel that water passes through when put in a creek or stream. Nineteenth century miners used and twentieth century miners still use sluice boxes to separate the dirt and junk material away from the gold. Gold, the most dense metal known to man, stays in the sluice box because of it's heavy weight.
A metallurgical operation in which metal is separated from impurities by a process that includes fusion.
A highly experienced miner who has prospected for many years.
Spot gold price:
Refers to the open market gold price that we all hear on the radio or see in the morning paper. A spot price is the opposite of a contractual or fixed price, which remains constant over a certain agreed period
A step-like excavation formed by the removal of ore from around a mine shaft.
The direction or trend that a structural surface, e.g. a bedding or fault plane, takes as it intersects the horizontal
Strike length:
The longest horizontal dimension of an ore body or zone of mineralization.
Strip (or stripping) ratio:
The tonnage of waste material removed to allow the mining of one tonne of ore in an open-pit.
Sulfide material/sulfide ore:
A sub-group of refractory ore - mineralized rock in which much of the gold is encapsulated in sulfides and is not readily amenable to dissolution by cyanide solutions. Some sulfide ore may require autoclave treatment prior to milling.
Element that occurs in a nature state or in compounds such as sulphides.
A concave upward fold, the core of which contains the stratigraphically younger rocks
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Tailing dam:
Structure designed to contain mining tailings and waste water.
Tailing Pile:
Gravel, dirt, and rocks with no gold. Whatever is left behind from mining activity. Occasionally, a gold nugget can slip out of a mining classifier or piece of equipment and end up in the tailing pile, but in modern sluice boxes most of the gold never makes it to the tailing pile.
Tailing pond:
Place for storing mine tailings and other residues resulting from ore processing and mining.
Sludge, mineral residue and waste water (apart from final effluent) resulting from ore extraction or processing and the slag from pyrometallurgical operations.
A rare metalloid found in its natural state, but often combined with heavy or precious metals.
A brilliant white metal found in most igneous or sedimentary rocks.
The quantity of ore making up an ore body, or the rate at which ore is extrated.
Dry short ton (2,000 pounds) which is the equivalent of 0.9072 tonne.
A metric ton (1,000 kilograms/2,205 pounds) which is the equivalent to 1.1023 tons.
A mineral commonly found as an accessory in intermediate to felsic igneous rocks, metamorphic rocks and certain sedimentary rocks
The regional strike of a geological feature
Troy ounce:
Troy ounce of a fineness of 999.9 parts per 1,000 parts, equal to 31.1034 grams.
Troy system:
A system of units used for precious metals and gems. The pound troy (0.37kg) consists of 12 ounces (each of 120 carats) or 5 760 grains (each equal to 65 mg)
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A fissure, fault or crack in a rock filled by minerals that have travelled upwards from some deep source.
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Water management:
The process whereby the groundwater table in the mining area is lowered by pumping water from wells, and the water is conveyed and used or recharged to the groundwater system through infiltration, reinjection or irrigation return.
Barren rock in a mine, or mineralized material that is too low in grade to be mined and milled at a profit.
A hole drilled into the earth to assist and identify quality and quantity of an ore body.
Internal mine shaft
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Chemical symbol for zinc
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