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Ministry of Energy Mines and Responsible for Core Review

Appendix X - Coding and Editing Guidelines




The following are guidelines for the methodology, writing and editing procedures, and materials used by the MINFILE team. All data must be entered using MINFILE/pc. A hard copy (i.e. completed coding card or printout of digital version) must accompany the digital version and this must contain a Work History section (use the Capsule Geology field). Before coding begins, please ensure that the following documentation has been read and any questions have been addressed. The objective of the MINFILE project is to maintain a data set that is as accurate and complete as possible.


Document Subject

MINFILE Coding Manual, Information Circular 2004-3 Coding rules
MINFILE/pc V.4.5 User's Manual, Information Circular 2004-4 Search/Report/Data Entry
GSB Style Guide, Information Circular 1992-7 Writing/Editing

MINFILE office: 5th Floor, 1810 Blanshard Street, Victoria, B.C. V8V 1X4
Contacts: Ian Webster; Phone (250) 952-0433; Fax (250) 952-0381; e-mail:
Laura deGroot (250) 952-0387;




The following is the suggested procedure to assist in the gathering and coding of information for a 1:250 000 scale or 1:100 000 scale National Topographic System (NTS) map sheets for the MINFILE database. This procedure should be used as a guide; detailed information is available in the appropriate sections of the Coding Manual.

1) Assemble general NTS map sheet information.

  • All 1:50 000 scale topographic maps (located in Property File or obtained from Maps B.C.).
  • Various scale geology maps (located in Property File or Publications).
  • Current geological compilation map and legend (obtained from GSB or GSC).
  • 1:50 000 claim maps of active areas (obtained from Mineral Titles).
  • Assessment Report map, index and fiche.
  • Regional publications such as Papers, Bulletins, Memoirs, Fieldwork - see GSC, EMPR, and GEOSCAN indexes.
  • General Property File on the NTS area, including NMI Cards.
  • Current MINFILE or Mineral Inventory Map (MI) - On this map, plot, if practical, terranes, physiographic areas, mining divisions, and tectonic belts. Enlarging the existing small-scale map will help. The following are the small-scale maps currently being used in MINFILE:

Physiographic Map of the Canadian Cordillera, W.H. Mathews, 1986, Geological Survey of Canada Map 1701A, Scale 1:5 000 000.

Tectonic Assemblage Map of the Canadian Cordillera and adjacent parts of the United States of America, J.O. Wheeler and P. McFeely (comp.), 1991, Geological Survey of Canada Map 1712A, Scale 1:2 000 000.

Terrane Map of the Canadian Cordillera, J.O. Wheeler, et. al. (comp.), 1991, Geological Survey of Canada Map 1713A, Scale 1:2 000 000.

Metamorphic Map of the Canadian Cordillera, P.B. Read, 1991, Geological Survey of Canada, Map 1714,  Scale 1:2 000 000.


2) Obtain existing mineral occurrence information within the NTS map sheet.

  • Master Report of old MINFILE data (from Database Manager).
  • National Mineral Inventory (NMI) Cards (located in the Property File).
  • Other mineral indexes and compilations.

3) Communicate with field and expert geologists.

  • Inform them you are working on the area.
  • Obtain access to their mineral files, compilations, papers.
  • Obtain current geological nomenclature of the area.
  • Request a list of occurrences visited and which ones will be written up by Geological Survey Branch staff.

4) Begin coding by 'Mining or Exploration' Camps or by areas of similar geology.

  • Compile a brief, general geological picture of the area, i.e. terranes, rock groups and formations, lithologies, structure, etc.

5) Build references on individual occurrences.

  • Use existing references from MINFILE, NMI, and other sources, as a guideline and verify that these refer to the occurrence.
  • Check expert geologist's files, assessment reports, annual reports, government publications, university theses, Property File (clippings, press releases, prospectuses, articles, etc.).
  • Star (*) the important references and set these aside for use in the Capsule Geology description.
  • With less important references, document the information and fill the various data fields.
  • Scan assessment reports occurring in the area of interest and make a quick note on pertinent information, such as, claims covered, area worked, work done, company name, year of work. This may save time when compiling work history.
  • All assessment reports on the map sheet should be reviewed.
  • Try to group references to make bibliographies consistent. The general format is as follows:

EMPR AR; GEM; EXPL; ASS RPT; Articles; etc.
EMPR PF (Standard reference format: Name (year): Title, Source)
Periodicals, N. Miner, Theses, etc.

6) Locate occurrence accurately.

  • Choose the occurrence location from the most accurate reference and plot it on a
    1:50 000 scale topographic map.
  • Give a brief physiographic comment on the location and identify the source for your location. (e.g. Adit portal, east side of Yellow Creek, Assessment Report 1654, Figure 2).
  • Proper identification and location of the occurrence is important as it is easy to confuse occurrences (e.g. same occurrence but different names or different occurrence but same characteristics).
  • For new occurrences or corrected locations, insert an accurate plot on a page-size copy of the map area.
  • Please check the Coding Manual for the definitions of the Status designations.

7) Complete Data fields.

  • Separate and rank the data (mineralogy, deposit character and classification, lithology) into the various fields. Provide lithological synonyms if required.

8) Occurrence Name(s).

  • The first name should be the most significant or currently used one. All names related to the occurrence should follow, including group names, claim names, place names, etc.

9) Assigning the Host Rock.

  • Include up to two Formal and two Informal hosts that contain mineralization or are related to mineralization.
  • The lithology field must be ranked in order of importance with respect to the mineralization.
  • If the Isotopic age field is filled in, a source for that information must be included in the comment field.
  • The most specific stratigraphic age is coded, but others are commented on (e.g. Cache Creek Group, Horsefeed Formation would be coded as upper Mississippian to Permian even though the Cache Creek Group ranges from Carboniferous to Jurassic; this would be mentioned in the Capsule Geology or Comment field.

10) Inventory.

  • The inventory figures or assay results from a representative sample must be included, if available.
  • Cutoff grades, sample intervals, drillhole intersections etc. must be included in the comment field.
  • The source for the figures must be included in the reference field.

11) Production.

  • Production field information is provided by the Land Management and Policy Branch (BC METAL). However, other data obtained during research may be included as long as the source is identified in the Comment/Reference field.
  • Try to separate, if possible, production originating from other occurrences.

12) Work History.

  • This data is temporarily collected in the Confidential field. The data structure will be established.
  • This section must be completed in an organized fashion.
  • The assessment report number should be listed in the comment field for work done.

13) MINFILE Maps.

  • Plot the occurrence on the old MINFILE map and add or change the legend.
  • Run a SDF file using MINFILE/pc and check it (using DBASE or FOXPLUS) for errors (i.e. check that the latitude/longitude correspond with the NTS map coded, ensure that commodities and status fields are completed).
  • Compile and draft the geology layer (the geology legend should be input in MS Word). The geology layer should be digitized using GSB standards in AutoCad
  • Update Assessment Report Index map, if required.

14) Confidential Information.

  • Indicate on the card or printout the confidential information and the date it comes off confidential. It stays in a holding file until this date, then it will be entered into the computer.

15) New/Revision/Modified - Coded by/Coding date.

  • These are coding activities:

New - add a new occurrence.
Revise - change existing occurrence.
Add - append to existing data.
Delete - delete occurrence due to duplication or lack of verification.

  • Initial and date occurrence.

16) Capsule Geology.

  • A file is automatically created when a Capsule Geology is created. The file can be retrieved at any time from the MINFILE/TEMP directory. The files are named as follows: the first character off the front of the MINFILE Number is dropped; if quadrants are not used for a particular map sheet substitute "XX" for quadrants, and use file extension .CAP for Capsule Geology files and .BIB for Bibliography files. Examples of file names are: 82ENE023.CAP, 92JWX001.BIB, 04PXX123.CAP. When entering the Capsule Geology through the MINFILE/pc V.4.0 Data Entry System, the files will automatically be named properly.
  • Editors used inside the MINFILE/pc Data Entry System in the Capsule Geology field (also the Identification comment and Bibliography fields) are set up when the software is installed.
  • Begin the Capsule Geology by naming the occurrence and briefly describing its geographic location.
  • A synopsis of the exploration history should be included, particularly for major occurrences but generally not for minor occurrences.
  • Provide a brief regional geology followed by a detailed geology and mineralization description.
  • Also include representative assays or reserves/resources, with references, and/or past production figures.
  • Use standard ASCII characters.
  • Field length is 70 characters.
  • Use both upper and lower case characters for text.
  • Always type the word MINFILE in capitals.
  • Ensure that you distinguish between the letter "O" and the number "0".
  • Always convert any figures to metric units.
  • Use the Geological Survey Branch Style Guide (Information Circular 1992-7), for details on Sentence Structure, Spelling, Capitalization, Punctuation, and Hyphenation. Some common errors are:

Spelling: metres (not meters)
per cent (not percent)
axis (not axes)
dikes (not dykes)

  • Capitalization: Upper Devonian (not upper Devonian)
  • Hyphenation: fine-grained granite (should have a hyphen)
    metavolcanics (should not have a hyphen)
  • Hangingwall and footwall are single words.
  • If there are three directions as in NNW, type it out the long way and place the hyphen between the first and second direction, e.g. north-northwest.
  • Leave two spaces after a period at the end of a sentence.
  • Indent five spaces at the beginning of a paragraph, but do not use the tab key to do this.
  • Do not leave blank lines between paragraphs.
  • When specifying a measurement that is less than one metre, include a zero before the decimal point; the unit is singular, e.g. 0.5 metre.
  • When a measurement is written as 23 X 25 km. type it as 23 by 25 kilometres.
  • If you have a range of per cent, e.g. 20 to 25, when you type it you only need to include the words per cent once, e.g. 20 to 25 per cent. This also applies to degrees and minutes.
  • If you have extracted information from a confidential Assessment Report, please clearly mark the information, including the date in which the information is off-confidential (usually one year after the Affidavit Date).
  • When referring to a reference at the end of a paragraph, the short form that is used in the bibliography section should not be used; the rule is to drop any of the Ministry's headings, e.g. EMPR, and use the full form of whatever followed the EMPR, e.g. EMPR ASS RPT 1180, would become Assessment Report 1180. This rule also applies to the Identity Screen comment area and the Reserves/resources Reference area. Also please note that these references need not be as complete as in the bibliography section, their aim is only to lead you to the bibliography where you can check for necessary page numbers, dates or map numbers.

17) Bibliography.

  • Use upper case characters for abbreviations to publications as listed in the Coding Manual to MINFILE.
  • To continue a line of bibliography leave 3 leading spaces at the beginning of the next line.
  • When typing in EMPR BULL and it has a year in brackets with it, only include the year if it is 1940 or earlier, e.g. (1936).
  • Always use hyphens with the following: EMPR EXPL 1977-33; EMPR GEM 1981-252; EMPR AR 1900-122; 1901-383 etc.
  • Use page numbers with the following: EMPR FIELDWORK 1977, p. 9; GSC MEM 223, p. 117; GSC BULL 10, pp. 203-204; EMPR BULL 27, p. 389; GSC SUM RPT 1938, pp. 412, 835, 901; GSC P 36 -17, p. 10.
  • If there are two of the same headings, e.g. GSC MEM 217, p. 118; and GSC MEM 110; join them together as GSC MEM 110; 217, p. 118.
  • If referring to more than one page number use "pp." not "p."
  • All lists of references are divided by a semicolon (;) not a comma with the exception of the EMPR Assessment Reports which are separated by commas.
  • Order the items numerically from the lowest to highest, e.g. EMPR ASS RPT 1011, 3889, 14000, 14009.
  • When including information from the Property File, place all of the reference material in round brackets, e.g. EMPR PF (Smith, B.J. (1939): Report on the Mining at Coal Creek; *Baits, U.K. (1945): Report on the Diamond Drill Hole at Smithers).
  • For important references, the asterisk should be placed before the year or the name, not at the front of the line e.g. EMPR PF (*Smith, B.J. (1939)...)
  • 18) NTS Map Sheet Summaries.
  • A 1 to 2 page summary of the NTS map sheet must be written. The summaries should state how many occurrences are documented in the area, the geology of the area and the important deposits and/or mines (including production or development phase). Contact the MINFILE office for examples and/or further information.
  • General references should be included with the summaries.
  • These should be done separately from the occurrence (i.e. NOT entered using MINFILE/pc V. 4.0) using MS Word.

19) Editing.

MINFILE is a large and complex relational database. In the process of making the MINFILE product as accurate and consistent as possible, all coded material is edited before and after input to the database. However, due to the large volume of data, it is necessary for each coder to ensure their work is as complete and error free as possible. The following are some general guidelines to assist in the editing process and they should be applied to all occurrence descriptions before submission to the MINFILE database.

i) Style:

The Mineral Resources Division, Geological Survey Branch Style Guide should be referred to for details on sentence structure, spelling, punctuation, word usage, etc.

  • Abbreviations are NOT to be used in any text fields unless absolutely necessary.
  • Measurements of fractional values must be presented in decimal format with a zero placed before the decimal.
  • Information extracted from confidential sources must be clearly marked and the reference and confidentiality period must be identified.
  • Some common usage to be checked:


North Trending not North-South Trending
Southeast not Southeasterly
Sulphide not Sulfide
Striking 065 degrees not Striking north 65 degrees east
Jurassic Hazelton Group not Hazelton Group of Jurassic age
23 by 300 metres not 23 X 300 m.
20 to 25 per cent not 20% to 25%
"close to" or "near" not "in close proximity to"
gossanous preferred to rusty

ii) Deletions:

If you delete a MINFILE occurrence from the database, a coding form should be submitted identifying the MINFILE Number and the occurrence name. Clearly identify the reason for deleting the occurrence on the front of the form (e.g. Combined with another occurrence (identify); not sufficient documentation to warrant an occurrence; located on a different map sheet, etc.). Under no circumstances are veins or old workings to be coded as MINFILE occurrences unless mineralization of economic interest is documented.


iii) Occurrence Names:

  • Is the primary name consistent with the common usage for that occurrence?
  • Are the names in order of significance?
  • Primary occurrence names within a map sheet must not be duplicated. If unavoidable, identify them by the correct name plus a number (e.g. Debbie 1, Debbie 2, Debbie 3, etc.).
  • If MINFILE numbers are used as references in text fields, comments etc. the MINFILE name must be included.

iv) Status:

  • Does Status conform to Production and Reserve/resource data? If production or reserve/resource data is present the status should indicate a "developed prospect", "producer" or "past producer" etc., not a "showing". Bulk samples for testing or very small scale single event mining activity does not warrant classification of an occurrence as a past producer.

v) Location:

  • Is the NTS Map Sheet consistent with the Latitude/Longitude information?
  • Have you double checked the location data? Coordinates must be derived from
    1:50 000 scale government topographic maps or larger scale sources.
  • Identity comment should indicate if you are identifying the location of a claim group, actual outcropping mineralization, mine portal, etc.

vi) Commodities:

  • Are commodities consistent with Significant Minerals field?
  • Are commodities coded in order of abundance/importance?
  • Are commodities consistent with Production/Reserve/Resource data?

vii) Mineralogy:

  • Are all minerals considered important coded in the Significant Minerals field? Minerals identified as such DO NOT have to be present in economically recoverable amounts.
  • Are minerals in order of importance?
  • Do the Alteration Types reflect the Alteration Minerals.
  • Have all Alteration Minerals (particularly oxides) also been identified in the Significant or Associated fields if appropriate.
  • Synonyms for minerals (and rocks) should be avoided (e.g. Fluorite and Fluorspar).

viii) Deposit Descriptions:

  • All characteristics of MINFILE occurrences described in the Capsule Geology should be identified in the Deposit Character, Classification and Type fields. These should be ranked in order of importance.

ix) Host Rock:

  • Have you identified the one "Dominant Host Rock" type for the economic mineralization and is it consistent with the Rock Type/Lithology data?
  • Are Formal/Informal Host Rocks consistent with "Terrane" and "Tectonic Belt" information from occurrence to occurrence within a map area?
  • Is the hostrock age consistent with the age described in the Capsule Geology?
  • Is the stratigraphic data used consistent with the most current stratigraphic nomenclature for the map area?
  • Are all significant rock types identified by correct codes and are all appropriate Modifier Codes identified? Remember: a database search can be done for either rock types or modifiers or any combination of the two, so it is important to include as much detail as is appropriate for these fields. Rocks hosting mineralization should be coded first.

x) Metamorphism:

  • Is the "Type" and "Grade" of metamorphism consistent with the alteration mineralogy and setting described elsewhere in the database?

xi) Capsule Geology:

The Capsule Geology is a compilation and interpretation of all data coded to the various data fields. It is particularly important to check the following:

  • All rock types, minerals, commodities, alteration types, Formal and Informal Hosts, deposit classification and characteristics, etc. identified in the geology text must also be coded in the appropriate data fields and vice versa.
  • All measurements are to be in METRIC units.
  • Are reserves/resources and assays quoted consistent with data in Production and Reserves/resources sections?
  • Generalizations should be avoided: e.g. Sulphides, mineralization, alteration, etc. should be defined in terms of specific rocks and minerals, etc.

xii) Bibliography:

  • Is the bibliography complete? Does it include all recent publications, particularly Open Files and Assessment Reports?
  • Are more regional references included which may clarify the geological setting of the deposit?
  • Are abbreviations consistent with the Coding Manual listings?
  • Are the most significant references marked (*)?