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Ministry of Energy Mines and Responsible for Core Review

Chapter I - Introduction


A: About MINFILE/pc
B: Installing MINFILE/pc



This section of the manual provides background information on MINFILE/pc. It will also tell you how to install MINFILE/pc on your computer. If you already have the system installed, you might find it useful to skip ahead to the Operating MINFILE/pc section. If you have never worked with MINFILE/pc, and need to install it, the following sections will be exactly what you need.


A. About MINFILE/pc


1. The History of MINFILE/pc

In 1967, a card-based inventory of mineral occurrences in British Columbia was created and maintained by the Geological Survey Branch of the British Columbia Department of Mines and Petroleum Resources.

In 1973, at the University of British Columbia, a project was initiated to transfer the information contained in the unwieldy card-based files to a searchable, computerized system. The resulting system, called MINDEP, required powerful mainframes or minicomputers to operate.

In 1976, MINDEP was placed in the custody of the Geological Survey Branch of the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources. Renamed MINFILE, the system underwent numerous evolutionary changes until, in November of 1987, MINFILE/pc Version 1.0 was released.

With the advent of MINFILE/pc, the database on British Columbia mineral occurrences was easily and immediately accessible to users throughout the province. Since 1987, MINFILE/pc has undergone further development, Version 3.0 was released in July, 1991 and Version 4.0 was released in January, 1995. Version 4.0a of the software, released in May, 1995, introduced 3 new extract files, memory management changes, and installation fixes. MINFILE/pc version 4.5 features greatly increased flexibility in handling and storing data, new searches, Y2K fixes and an expanded database.


2. MINFILE/pc Features

The user-friendly MINFILE/pc program is a valuable tool for anyone interested in exploration, mining or minerals in British Columbia. Using MINFILE/pc, you can go "computer prospecting," anywhere in British Columbia. The main features are:

  • Security: read-only access or complete update access.
  • Efficient and user-friendly interface: including mouse support, hot keys and point-and-shoot selection.
  • Flexibility: users can define their own region codes, descriptions, and comments, as well as longitude/latitude coordinate areas. MINFILE/pc v.4.5 also allows you to easily change editors and devices.
  • QUIKMap compatibility: files compatible with the QUIKMap program can be automatically produced for MINFILE or Exploration data.
  • NAD 27 and NAD 83: location data in either datum; files and printouts display in either datum.
  • Variety of searches: the data can be searched on a number of criteria.
  • Variety of reports: the data can be output in a number of different report formats.
  • Data Entry: used to create, update, or add to the data.
  • Convenient data manipulation: anomalies or temporary occurrences can be input and any occurrence can be renumbered or duplicated.
  • Batch delete function: allows you to delete all the occurrences in a previously prepared list.
  • Batch assign function: allows you to assign a region to several MINFILE occurrences or Exploration Projects.
  • New occurrences: MINFILE/pc users can create their own "occurrences" and maintain them separately from the distributed database, and enter deposit descriptions for anywhere in the world.
  • Custom datasets: you can easily make your own customized datasets and/or backup your data.
  • New Exploration Database Coding Manual: the Geological Survey Branch has developed a new coding manual for use with MINFILE/pc V.4.5.
  • Exploration Projects data: you can create your own Exploration database, to track your projects. This is the way that the Ministry's Regional Geologist's track exploration activity in the regions.
  • Link between MINFILE and Exploration data: mineral occurrences data can be linked to Exploration data. Exploration Project data can also be exported.
  • Geographical Information Files: three comma delimited files can be extracted; these can be used for custom reports with database management software, such as dBASE or Excel or can be used with Geographical Information Systems.
  • Confidential Notes: allows you to enter anecdotal information regarding deposits and anomalies.
  • Deposit types: the deposit types used in this field are derived from the Geological Survey Branch's Mineral Deposit Profiles.

NOTE: Adding or changing data will mean that the user's data and the distributed MINFILE database are no longer the same. Please send data updates to GSB Victoria so that the main database can be updated.


The GSB, Victoria (see contacts in Chapter XII) maintains control of all items in the distributed MINFILE database. At this office, MINFILE numbers are assigned and all data for distribution is created.


B. Installing MINFILE/pc


1. Required Hardware

In order to run MINFILE/pc, certain technical requirements must be met. These include:

  • IBM PC or compatible computer with 640 kilobytes RAM.
  • MS-DOS Version 3.21 or higher.
  • 1.44 megabyte, 3.5 inch floppy disk drive.
  • Hard drive space: 6.5 MB for the program; 5-10 MB per 1000 occurrences data.
  • 486 processor or higher is recommended.

The existing data set for the province presently occupies approximately 54 megabytes of hard disk space, with the MINFILE/pc program itself taking up another 3.5 megabytes. The initial installation procedure requires an additional 2.5 megabytes which will be released when the installation is complete.


2. The MINFILE/pc Package

The MINFILE/pc package includes this User's Manual and the following:

Two 3.5 Inch disks labelled:

MINFILE/pc, Version 4.5 (Y2K) June 1999
Disk 1 of 2 and Disk 2 of 2

This is all you need to install MINFILE/pc. The program is provided for your use to examine the data on mineral occurrences in British Columbia. In order to utilize the MINFILE/pc program, however, data diskettes containing the mineral occurrence data can be downloaded from the GSB website.  

The mineral occurrence data is distributed in 15 sets of files, which may be downloaded from the GSB website.  It is also available on 3.5 inch 1.44 Mb diskettes. Each disk contains data for approximately 1:1,000,000 scale NTS mapsheets (e.g. 093). The entire province resides on 15 diskettes and each diskette is $7.50 if purchased individually or $75.00 for all 15 diskettes.  Also available is a $25.00 CD-ROM.


3. How to Install MINFILE/pc

Prior to installing MINFILE/pc, you may need to change the configuration of your system. Contained in the system file called "config.sys" (on the hard drive), you should find the following lines:




In order to run MINFILE/pc, the value for "FILES=__" should be at least 42, and the value for "BUFFERS=__" should be between 20 and 50 depending on the size of your hard drive and whether or not you use a disk caching program such as SMARTDrive (e.g. 200 megabytes: Buffers = 40). If the file has different values in these positions, change them. If you do not have a "BUFFERS=__" statement, you should enter one, since doing so can double the speed at which your system will run MINFILE/pc.


Another system file "autoexec.bat", needs to be changed to reflect the drive on which MINFILE/pc will be installed. If you plan to install MINFILE/pc on drive C:, for example, then you should add, on the "path=" line, the following: ';C:\MINFILE;'. Once these changes have been made and you have re-booted your computer, MINFILE/pc can be installed. See Appendix A or your DOS Manual for information on modifying these files.

The next thing to do to install MINFILE/pc on your computer is to insert the MINFILE/pc disk 1 of 2 in your 3.5 inch floppy disk drive. Type in 'A' or 'B', depending on your disk drive, and press 'Enter', to ensure that you are attempting to retrieve files from the floppy disk, not from the hard drive of your computer. When you have done this, you should see a prompt that looks like this: "A:\>" or "B:\>". It is recommended that you view the readme.doc on the disk in order to read the installation instructions before proceeding.


NOTE: A copy of the readme.doc is located in Appendix M.


On the MINFILE/pc disk, there is a routine which installs the program for you. To begin the automatic installation routine type 'install' followed by the letter of the hard drive that you want MINFILE/pc installed on (e.g. install C:). This drive letter should be the same as the drive specified in your autoexec.bat.


HINT: If you type 'install' and get the message "Bad command or file name", check the drive prompt on the screen. If it does not read 'A:\>' or 'B:>', then change it so that it does. Do this by typing 'A:' or 'B:' and pressing the 'Enter' key. The new prompt should read "A:\>" or "B:\>". Now, when you type 'install' followed by the appropriate drive letter things will start to happen.


After you activate the installation program the message "loading the MINFILE/pc installation system" will appear. This will be followed by some information on MINFILE/pc and a warning/recommendation to backup existing MINFILE/pc data before proceeding. You will have the option of printing the information, scrolling forwards and backwards through the information, or immediately beginning the installation process. It is important that you read, or ideally, print the information before continuing to install MINFILE/pc.

Once you have read the information, look at the menu at the bottom of the screen. Press 'C' to continue installing MINFILE/pc. You will be asked to select a text editor. If you wish to use a text editor other than the one which is incorporated into MINFILE/pc (the FoxPro editor), enter the drive, path and filename where it can be found. For example, if you would like to use the Norton Editor from the "\norton" directory of drive C:, enter: 'C:\norton\ne.exe'). If you intend to use the FoxPro text editor press the 'Enter' key, and the installation program will proceed to the next step.


NOTE: The text editor which you select must be small. It should not use more than approximately 70 kilobytes of RAM while operating. This means that you will not be able to select WordPerfect or Microsoft Word as your text editor -- these programs are too large to use with MINFILE/pc.


After you have chosen a text editor, you will be asked to choose a printer. If you have an Epson-type dot-matrix printer, choose '1'. If you have a Hewlett Packard LaserJet series printer, choose '2'. Finally, you will be asked to choose between a monochrome or color monitor. Again, simply press the key that corresponds with your choice. If you change the configuration of your system in the future (for example, if you change printer types) you can make the appropriate changes using the MINFILE Utilities Device Setup option.

Next, a screen describing the installation and initial log-on procedures will appear. Read this and press 'C' to continue, the installation of MINFILE/pc will proceed automatically and will prompt you for disk #2. When the installation is complete you will be in the C:\MINFILE\WORK directory.  If you are running Windows 95, 98 or Windows 2000, please see Appendix Q.


4. Logging on to MINFILE/pc

MINFILE/pc allows the system to be set up to restrict access to various capabilities of the system. In MINFILE/pc there are two types of system access. You may be assigned either read-only access to the database or complete access with update privileges. Users with read-only access to the database have all the features of the system available to them with the following restrictions:

  • Browse mode only in MINFILE and Exploration Project data entry
  • No access to the User's Maintenance table
  • No access to the Transfer, Update, Append, Create or Delete functions
  • No access to Confidential Notes for occurrences
  • No access to the Confidential Notes report

The first time you activate MINFILE/pc, by typing 'minfile' from any directory, after installing it you will need to log-on. The MINFILE banner screen with the window requesting an ID and password appears as follows:


MINFILE/pc log on screen.


Type in 'NEW' for the User and do NOT press 'Enter'. The line will automatically advance to the Password line because the User field is full. At this point type in 'NEW' again and press 'Enter'. Once you have filled in these two fields you will have complete access to the database.


NOTE: You will not see the password appear as you type in the password field; it will be blank.


After initially logging on, go to the User Maintenance option and change the 'NEW', 'NEW' log-on to a confidential user ID and Password (see Code Table and User Maintenance).


5. Installing MINFILE data

Before using MINFILE/pc to search the data, it is necessary to install a dataset. Installation of MINFILE/pc data is simple, once you have installed the system and are logged on with complete access. To start MINFILE/pc (from any neutral directory), type 'minfile', press 'Enter' and after logging on you will see the following screen:


MINFILE/pc Main System memu.


This is the Main System Menu, from this menu select MINFILE Utilities by simply pressing the 'U' key and the screen will change to look like this:


MINFILE Utilities screen.


When the screen changes, press 'A' for "Append/Delete data", the screen will change to look like this:


MINFILE append/delete menu.

To install MINFILE/pc data, select Append data (Deposits & Entities). At the bottom of the screen, the question "Which drive has new data? (A, B; X=Abort)" will appear. If you are installing from a floppy diskette, place it into the floppy disk drive. Enter the letter that corresponds with the drive in which you placed your data disk. The system will now ask you to press 'C' to continue, or 'X' to abort. Verify that your data disk is in the correct drive and press 'C'. The program will do the rest. A message at the bottom of your screen will verify that your data (Mapsheet) has been loaded.


NOTE:  If you have downloaded the datasets from the GSB website, follow the instructions provided there for installing the MINFILE data from your hard drive.  If you downloaded the datasets to floppy disks, follow the instructions provided above.


After you have installed one dataset, you will be asked if you would like to install any more data. If you have more data diskettes, install the data using the same procedure. Otherwise, press the 'X' key twice to return to the Main System Menu.


HINT: You may exit any menu in MINFILE/pc, except the Main System Menu and Data entry Menu, by pressing the 'Escape' (Esc) key. If you press 'Escape' in the Main System Menu, the system will assume that you wish to quit. If you want to quit at that time, press 'Y'. If you want to keep working in MINFILE/pc press 'N'.


At the bottom-right of the screen you will see the word "Deposits:____". The number in the blank should be greater than zero after you have installed data from a diskette. At this point, you are ready to search the MINFILE database, report on the findings, edit the data, or add exploration project data.


6. Exploration Data

There is no data being distributed for this module. What you use it for, and which data you input is up to you. However, when you have created data for this module, you can easily parcel it from one computer and add it to any other computer which has MINFILE/pc V.4.5 or higher installed on it.

The Regional offices use this module to import Notices of Work data from the Ministry's MIS database. This data is then updated, verified and added to, for use in tracking exploration in the regions.