Term Definition
atomic absorption (AA) A spectroanalytical procedure for the quantitative determination of chemical elements employing the absorption of optical radiation (light) by free atoms in the gaseous state.
alluvial Material which has been placed by the action of surface water.
alteration Change in the mineralogical composition of a rock, typically brought about by the action of hydrothermal solutions.
amphibolite A metamorphic rock consisting mainly of an amphibole and some plagioclase.
andesite An extrusive igneous, volcanic rock of intermediate composition, with aphanitic to porphyritic texture.
arsenopyrite The most common arsenic mineral and principal ore of arsenic; occurs in many sulphide ore deposits, particularly those containing lead, silver and gold.
assay Analysis to determine the amount or proportion of the element of interest contained within a sample.
ball mill A horizontal rotating steel cylinder which grinds ore to fine particles. The grinding is carried out by the pounding and rolling of a charge of steel balls carried within the cylinder.
batholith A very large igneous intrusion extending deep in the earth's crust.
block cave Used to mine massive, steeply-dipping ore bodies. An undercut with haulage access is driven under the ore body, with "drawbells" excavated between the top of the haulage level and the bottom of the undercut. The drawbells serve as a place for caving rock to fall into. The ore body is drilled and blasted above the undercut, and the ore is removed via the haulage access.
block model A three-dimensional model that forms the basic framework of a mineral resource estimate.
bornite A brittle reddish-brown crystalline mineral with an iridescent purple tarnish, consisting of a sulphide of copper and iron.
breccia A coarse-grained clastic rock, composed of angular broken rock fragments held together by a mineral cement or in a fine-grained matrix; it differs from conglomerate in that the fragments have sharp edges and unworn corners.
bullion Gold or silver in bulk before coining, or valued by weight.
by-product A secondary metal or mineral product that is recovered along with the primary metal or mineral product during the ore concentration process.
Cache Creek Terrane A geologic terrane in British Columbia and southern Yukon, Canada. It consists of volcanics, carbonate rocks, coarse clastic rocks and small amounts of ultramafic rock, chert and argillite.
calc-alkalic Rocks are rich in alkaline earths (magnesia and calcium oxide) and alkali metals and make up a major part of the crust of the earth's continents.
carbon-in-leach (CIL) A process step wherein granular activated carbon particles much larger than the ground ore particles are introduced into the ore pulp. Cyanide leaching and precious metals adsorption onto the activated carbon occurs simultaneously. The loaded activated carbon is mechanically screened to separate it from the barren pulp, processed to remove the precious metals and finally prepared for reuse.
Cenozoic The current and most recent of the three Phanerozoic geological eras, following the Mesozoic Era and covering the period from about 65 million years ago to the present.
center-return hammer A type of reverse circulation drilling bit and pneumatic hammer system that collects the sampled material at the operating face of the drill bit.
chalcocite A dark gray mineral that is an important ore of copper.
chalcopyrite A copper mineral composed of copper, iron and sulphur. It tarnishes easily; going from bronze or brassy yellow to yellowish or grayish brown, has a dark streak, and is lighter in weight and harder than gold.
colluvium Loose, unconsolidated sediments that have been deposited at the base of hillslopes by either rain-wash, sheet wash, slow continuous downslope creep, or a variable combination of these processes.
comminution The action of reducing an ore by crushing and grinding to minute particles or fragments.
concentrate A processing product containing the valuable ore mineral from which most of the waste mineral has been eliminated.
conventional rotary A drilling method that produces rock chips similar to reverse circulation except that the sample is collected using a single-walled drill pipe. Air or water circulates down through the centre of the drill pipe and returns chips to the surface around the outside of the pipe.
core Cylindrical rock cores produced by diamond drilling method that uses a rotating barrel and an annular-shaped, diamond-impregnated rock-cutting bit to produce cores and lift them to the surface to be examined.
Cretaceous A geologic period and system from circa 145 to 66 million years ago. The Cretaceous follows the Jurassic period and is followed by the Paleogene period of the Cenozoic era. It is the last period of the Mesozoic Era, and, spanning 80 million years, the longest period of the Phanerozoic Eon.
crushing Breaking of ore into smaller and more uniform fragments to be then fed to grinding mills or to a leach pad.
crust The outermost solid shell of a rocky planet, which is chemically distinct from the underlying mantle.
cut-off grade The minimum metal grade at which a tonne of rock can be processed on an economic basis.
cyanidation A method of extracting exposed gold or silver grains from crushed or ground ore by dissolving the contained gold and silver in a weak cyanide solution.
direct current (DC) resistivity Observation of electric fields caused by current introduced into the ground as a means of studying earth resistivity in geophysical exploration. Resistivity is the property of a material that resists the flow of electrical current.
decline A downward inclined underground tunnel.
deformation Change in the form or in the dimensions of a body produced by stress.
Devonian A geologic period and system of the Paleozoic Era spanning from the end of the Silurian Period, about 419 million years ago, to the beginning of the Carboniferous Period, about 359 million years ago.
differential flotation Process of separation of a complex ore into two or more mineral components and gangue by flotation.
dike A discordant tabular body of igneous rock that, when molten, was injected into a fissure that cuts across the structure of the adjacent country rocks and which usually has a high angle of dip.
dilution The effect of waste or low-grade ore being included unavoidably in the mine ore, lowering the recovered grade.
diorite A grey to dark grey intermediate intrusive igneous rock composed principally of plagioclase feldspar (typically andesine), biotite, hornblende, and/or pyroxene.
doré Unrefined gold and silver bullion bars, which will be further refined to almost pure metal.
drift A horizontal tunnel generally driven within or alongside an ore body and aligned parallel to the long dimension of the ore.
easement An incorporeal right, distinct from the ownership of the soil, consisting of a liberty, privilege, or use of another's land without profit or compensation; a right-of-way.
ejido In Mexico, a piece of land farmed communally under a system supported by the state.
electromagnetic survey Using a geophysical method of measuring electromagnetic waves in a specific area of the earth's surface.
electrowinning Recovery of a metal from a solution by means of electro-chemical processes.
Eocene A major division of the geologic timescale and the second epoch of the Paleogene Period in the Cenozoic Era. The Eocene spans the time from the end of the Palaeocene Epoch to the beginning of the Oligocene Epoch. The start of the Eocene is marked by the emergence of the first modern mammals.
epithermal A hydrothermal mineral deposit formed within about one kilometre of the Earth’s surface and in the temperature range of 50 to 200 degrees celsius, occurring mainly as veins.
fault A fracture in the earth’s crust accompanied by a displacement of one side of the fracture with respect to the other and in a direction parallel to the fracture.
feasibility study A comprehensive technical and economic study of the selected development option for a mineral project that includes appropriately detailed assessments of realistically assumed mining, processing, metallurgical, economic, marketing, legal, environmental, social and governmental considerations together with any other relevant operational factors and detailed financial analysis, that are necessary to demonstrate at the time of reporting that extraction is reasonably justified (economically mineable).
felsic Silicate minerals, magma, and rocks which are enriched in the lighter elements such as silicon, oxygen, aluminium, sodium, and potassium.
fire assay Analysis to determine the amount or proportion of the element of interest contained within a sample alloy by removal of other metals. Also known as gravimetric analysis.
flotation A separation process in which valuable mineral particles are induced to become attached to bubbles and float, while the non-valuable minerals sink.
formation Unit of sedimentary rock of characteristic composition or genesis.
geophysical survey Exploration activity mapping an area showing the physics of the earth.
grade The amount of metal in each tonne of ore, expressed as grams per tonne for precious metals.
granite A very hard, granular, crystalline, igneous rock consisting mainly of quartz, mica, and feldspar and often used as a building stone.
granodiorite A coarse-grained, plutonic rock containing quartz and plagioclase, between granite and diorite in composition.
gravity recovery circuit Equipment used within a plant to recover gold from the ore using the difference in specific gravity between the gold and the host rock.
grinding (milling) Powdering or pulverising of ore, by pressure or abrasion, to liberate valuable minerals for further metallurgical processing.
heap leaching A process whereby gold is extracted by “heaping” broken ore on sloping impermeable pads and repeatedly spraying the heaps with a weak cyanide solution which dissolves the gold content. The gold-laden solution is collected for gold recovery.
hectares A metric unit of area measuring 100 metres by 100 metres.
hedging Taking a buy or sell position in a futures market opposite to a position held in the cash market to minimize the risk of financial loss from an adverse price change.
HQ A diamond drill core measuring 2.5 inches in diameter (6.35 centimetres).
hypogene Producing or occurring under the surface of the earth.
Indicated Mineral Resource* The part of a Mineral Resource for which quantity, grade or quality, densities, shape and physical characteristics can be estimated with a level of confidence sufficient to allow the appropriate 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 information gathered through appropriate techniques from locations such as outcrops, trenches, pits, workings and drill holes that are spaced closely enough for geological and grade continuity to be reasonably assumed.
inductively-coupled plasma (ICP) Analytical technique whereby a sample is diluted and shaken, then aspirated into a high energy argon plasma where it is vaporized. The amount of light measured by the ICP for the characteristic elemental wavelengths is converted to elemental concentrations parts per million (ppm).
induced polarization (IP) A surface-based geophysical survey method used in mineral exploration.
Inferred Mineral Resource* The part of a Mineral Resource for which quantity and grade or quality can be estimated on the basis of geological evidence and limited sampling and reasonably assumed, but not verified, geological and grade continuity.  The estimate is based on limited information and sampling gathered through appropriate techniques from locations such as outcrops, trenches, pits, workings and drill holes.
infill The collection of additional samples between existing samples, used to provide greater geological detail and to provide more closely-spaced assay data.
intrusive Igneous rock which, while molten, penetrated into or between other rocks and solidified before reaching the surface.
lode A mineral deposit, consisting of a zone of veins, veinlets or disseminations, in consolidated rock as opposed to a placer deposit.
long-hole open stoping A method of underground mining involving the drilling of holes up to 30 metres or longer into an ore-bearing zone and then blasting a slice of rock which falls into an open space. The broken rock is extracted and the resulting open chamber may or may not be filled with supporting material.
low-grade Descriptive of ores relatively poor in the metal they are mined for; lean ore.
mafic A group of dark-coloured minerals, composed chiefly of magnesium and iron, that occur in igneous rocks.
Measured Mineral Resource* The part of a Mineral Resource for which quantity, grade or quality, densities, shape, physical characteristics are so well established that they can be estimated with confidence sufficient to allow the appropriate application of technical and economic parameters, to support production planning and evaluation of the economic viability of the deposit.  The estimate is based on detailed and reliable exploration, sampling and testing information gathered through appropriate techniques from locations such as outcrops, trenches, pits, workings and drill holes that are spaced closely enough to confirm both geological and grade continuity.
metamorphism The process by which the form or structure of rocks is changed by heat and pressure.
mill A processing facility where ore is finely ground and then undergoes physical or chemical treatment to extract the valuable metals. Also, the device used to perform grinding (milling).
mineral claim / property / concession Authorizes the holder to prospect and mine for minerals and to carry out works in connection with prospecting and mining.
Mineral Reserve* 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, at the time of reporting, that economic extraction can be justified.  A Mineral Reserve includes diluting materials and allowances for losses that may occur when the material is mined. Mineral Reserves are sub-divided in order of increasing confidence into Probable Mineral Reserves and Proven Mineral Reserves.
Mineral Resource* A concentration or occurrence of diamonds, natural, solid, inorganic or natural fossilized organic material including base and precious metals, coal, and industrial minerals in or on the Earth’s crust in such form and quantity and of such a grade or quality that it has reasonable prospects for economic extraction.  The location, quantity, grade, geological characteristics and continuity of a Mineral Resource are known, estimated or interpreted from specific geological evidence and knowledge.  Mineral Resources are subdivided, in order of increasing geological confidence, into Inferred, Indicated and Measured categories.
muscovite A phyllosilicate mineral of aluminium and potassium. It has a highly-perfect basal cleavage yielding very thin sheets, which are often highly elastic.
net cash costs A non-GAAP financial measure calculating the costs of production, at site level, per unit of output. Includes operational costs, such as transport, refining, administration, and royalties.
net smelter return (NSR) A type of royalty payment where the royalty owner receives a fixed percentage of the revenues of a property or operation.
NI 43-101 Canadian National Instrument NI 43-101 – A strict guideline for how public companies in Canada can disclose scientific and technical information about mineral projects.
offtake agreement A contractual agreement for one party to supply another with a product within certain conditions such as purity, timing, and volume. It obligates the off-taker to accept the product regardless of market conditions.
open-pit mine A mine where materials are removed entirely from a working that is open to the surface.
ore Rock, generally containing metallic or non-metallic minerals, which can be mined and processed at a profit.
outcrop A rock formation that is visible on the surface.
oxidation Reaction of a material with an oxidizer such as pure oxygen or air in order to alter the state of the material.
oxide ore Mineralized rock in which some of the original minerals have been oxidized. Oxidation tends to make the ore more amenable to cyanide solutions so that minute particles of gold will be readily dissolved.
Paleozoic An era of geologic time that includes the Cambrian, Ordovician, Silurian, Devonian, Mississippian, Pennsylvanian and Permian periods and is characterized by the appearance of marine invertebrates, primitive fishes, land plants and primitive reptiles.
preliminary economic assessment (PEA) A study, other than a pre-feasibility study or feasibility study, which includes an economic analysis of the potential viability of mineral resources.  The PEA is preliminary in nature and includes Inferred Mineral Resources that are considered too speculative geologically to have the economic considerations applied to them that would enable them to be categorized as Mineral Reserves and there is no certainty that the PEA based on these Mineral Resources will be realized.  Mineral Resources that are not Mineral Reserves do not have demonstrated economic viability.
porphyry A variety of igneous rock consisting of large-grained crystals, such as feldspar or quartz, dispersed in a fine-grained feldspathic matrix or groundmass.
pre-feasibility study Preliminary assessment of project viability that usually takes place in the identification stage of the project cycle. Pre-feasibility studies generally cover the same subjects as feasibility studies, but in much less detail.
Probable Mineral Reserve* 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, at the time of reporting, that economic extraction can be justified.
Proven Mineral Reserve* 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, at the time of reporting, that economic extraction is justified.
pyrite A yellow iron sulphide mineral, normally of little value. It is sometimes referred to as “fool’s gold.”
pyroclastic Rocks produced by explosive or aerial ejection of ash, fragments, and glassy material from a volcanic vent.
pyrrhotite A brownish yellow iron sulphide mineral.
Qualified Person* An individual who is an engineer or geoscientist with at least five years’ experience in mineral exploration, mine development or operation or mineral project assessment, or any combination of these; has experience relevant to the subject matter of the mineral project and the technical report; and is a member or licensee in good standing of a professional association.
quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC) The process of measuring and assuring product quality to meet consumer expectations.
reclamation The restoration of a site after mining or exploration activity is completed.
reclamation and closure costs The cost of reclamation plus other costs, including without limitation certain personnel costs, insurance, property holding costs such as taxes, rental and claim fees, and community programs associated with closing an operating mine.
recovered grade Actual metal grade realized by the metallurgical process and treatment or ore, based on actual experience or laboratory testing.
recovery 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 valuable metal in the ore that is recovered compared to the total valuable metal present in the ore.
refining The final stage of metal production in which impurities are removed from the molten metal.
refractory material Mineralized material in which the metal is not amenable to recovery by conventional cyanide methods without any pre-treatment.
reverse circulation A drilling method that uses a rotating cutting bit within a double-walled drill pipe and produces rock chips rather than core. Air or water is circulated down to the bit between the inner and outer wall of the drill pipe. The chips are forced to the surface through the centre of the drill pipe and are collected, examined and assayed.
run-of-mine (ROM) Ore in its natural, unprocessed state; pertaining to ore just as it is mined.
sample A small portion of rock, or a mineral deposit, taken so that the metal content can be determined by assaying.
scoping study A technical and economic study conducted to investigate the approximate economics and viability of various development options for the mining and treatment of a mineral deposit.
sedimentary rocks Secondary rocks formed from material derived from other rocks and laid down under water. Examples are limestone, shale and sandstone.
semi-autogenous (SAG) mill A steel cylinder with steel balls into which run-of-mine material is fed. The ore is ground with the action of large lumps of rock and steel balls.
shaft A vertical passageway to an underground mine for ventilation, moving personnel, equipment, supplies and material including ore and waste rock.
shear zone A geological term used to describe a geological area in which shearing has occurred on a large scale.
silica The dioxide of silicon occurring in crystalline, amorphous, and impure forms (as in quartz, opal, and sand respectively). Used to manufacture a wide variety of materials, especially glass and concrete.
sphalerite A zinc mineral which is composed of zinc and sulphur.
stock A magma that has intruded into pre-existing rock in a columnar shape, typically a kilometre or more in diameter.
stockpile Broken ore heaped on the surface, pending treatment or shipment.
stockwork A mineral deposit consisting of a three-dimensional network of planar to irregular veinlets closely enough spaced that the whole mass can be mined.
tailings The material that remains after all metals considered economic have been removed from ore during milling.
tailings storage facility A natural or man-made confined area suitable for depositing the material that remains after the treatment of ore.
terrane Area of land of a particular character, e.g., mountainous, swampy.
ton Unit of weight equalling 2,000 pounds. Called a "short ton".
tonne Metric unit of mass equalling 1,000 kilograms or 2,240 pounds. Called a "long ton".
total cash costs A non-GAAP financial measure calculated by dividing all of the costs absorbed into inventory by applicable ounces sold.
tuff Rock composed of fine volcanic ash.
vein A fissure, fault or crack in a rock filled by minerals that have traveled upwards from some deep source.
volcanics A general collective term for extrusive igneous and pyroclastic material and rocks.