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Ministry of Energy Mines and Responsible for Core Review

Chapter III - Searching the MINFILE Database


A: Location Search
B: Commodity Search
C: Status Search
D: MINFILE Name/Number Search
E: Mineralogy Search
F: Age (Host Rock or Mineralization) Search
G: Deposit Character/Class Search
H: Deposit Type Search
I: Lithology Search
J: Formal/Informal Host Search
K: Production Search
L: Inventory Search


This option allows you to search the MINFILE database, using a number of criteria to isolate specific mineral occurrences. See General Comments on Searches in MINFILE/pc (Chapter II, Section E) for additional information. Each search criteria will be dealt with in this section.

In order to search the database, select "Search Database" from the MINFILE Deposits section of the Main System Menu. The MINFILE Search Menu will then appear:


MINFILE Search Menu.


There are twelve selections you can use to search the MINFILE database. Decide which search you would like to perform and select it. When you have finished searching the database, press the 'X' key (or the 'Esc' key) and this will return you to the Main System Menu.


HINT: Many of the searches in MINFILE/pc require you to enter codes, rather than full names. A complete listing of these codes can be found in Appendices C, D, E, F, G, and H of this manual.



Location Search


The location search is one of the fastest searches available in MINFILE/pc. To search by location, go to the MINFILE Search Menu and select the Location search.

There are eight possible ways to define a location in this search. Only one of these can be used at a time. For example, it is not possible to search by NTS map sheet AND by terrane at the same time. However, you can search by NTS map sheet and then search again by terrane. This will isolate the occurrences on that NTS map sheet which occur in the specified terrane. If you try to search by two or more location variables at once, the one which appears higher on the screen will be searched and the rest will be ignored. For example, if you enter an NTS map sheet number AND a terrane on the same screen, only NTS map sheet number will be searched; terrane will be ignored.


HINT: While searches MAY be performed in any order, it is strongly recommended that, when practical, you search the database by location FIRST, as this is the quickest search method available.


The location search screen looks like this:



1. Latitude/Longitude

Searches by latitude and longitude may be general (searching across a wide range of each) or specific (looking for specific coordinates). If you are searching for a specific location, it is important to note that only degrees and minutes can be input for searching. For example, if you need to locate 50 degrees 03 minutes 34 seconds North latitude, you should use a small range (for example, from 050 degrees 03 minutes to 050 degrees 04 minutes), rather than searching for a precise location. Valid ranges of latitude for occurrences in British Columbia are 48 to 60 degrees North, and valid values for longitude range from 114 to 140 degrees West, although users may input any valid co-ordinates for worldwide occurrences in the database, depending on the region you are searching for.


NOTE:  The latitude/longitude search requires northwest coordinates in the fields to the left and southeast coordinates in the fields to the right.  The UTM search requires minimum and maximum values.


2. Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM)

These searches are similar to latitude/longitude searches. If you would like to search for occurrences using Universal Transverse Mercator coordinates, please ensure that the values you enter are valid for searching the data. Searches must be made within a single UTM Zone. Valid UTM parameters for British Columbia are limited to Zones from 7 to 11; Northings from 5350000 to 6652000; and Eastings from 290000 to 710000.


3. Regions

This search selects all occurrences in the specified geographic region (i.e. British Columbia) defined by the two- or three-letter region code.  You may search up to 7 regions at a time.  A listing of valid region codes may be found in the pop-up menu, which is accessed by entering a letter in the blank provided for the region code and pressing "ENTER".


4. National Topographic Series (NTS) Map Sheet

This function may be used to search for NTS map sheets with scales from 1:1,000,000 (for example NTS 094), ranging to 1:25,000 (for example NTS 094H05E). When searching by NTS map sheet number, ensure that ALL digits are entered to the desired scale. For example, enter '092', not '92'. If only two digits are entered where three are needed, the search will be unsuccessful. You may search for up to four different NTS map sheets simultaneously.


5. B.C. Map Sheet

MINFILE/pc has the capacity to search for up to four B.C. map sheet numbers at once. This field is not presently in use. A search here comes up with "Invalid Search Criteria Search Again?".


6. Mining Division

A search can be performed for up to two Mining Divisions at once. Each of these divisions is represented by a four-letter code which must be entered in the appropriate spaces on the location search screen. A listing of valid Mining Division codes can be found in Appendix C of this manual.


7. Tectonic Belt

This search allows you to isolate all of the occurrences within one or two Tectonic Belts. Each belt is represented by a two-letter code. A list of these codes may be found in Appendix C of this manual. (WARNING: some occurrences currently do not contain this information).


8. Physiographic Areas

This search will select all of the occurrences which are found in up to two specified Physiographic Regions. Like Mining Divisions, each Physiographic Region is identified by a four-letter code. A complete list of these codes may be found in Appendix C of this manual. (WARNING: some occurrences currently do not contain this information).


9. Terrane

Terranes may also be used as criteria for searching the data. Each of the terranes identified in British Columbia is identified by a one- to three-letter code. It is important to note that when you are entering Terrane codes of less than three letters, the rest of the field must be filled with spaces (for example, the code for the Pacific Rim Terrane must be entered as 'prSPACE'). Further more, any spaces you enter as a part of a Terrane code must be entered AFTER the code (for example, enter 'prSPACE', NOT 'SPACEpr'), or the search will not be successful. The terrane codes are listed in Appendix C of this manual. (WARNING: some occurrences currently do not contain this information).


NOTE: Remember that location searches must be carried out one at a time. Therefore, if you would like to find all the occurrences that occur in the area where the Thompson Plateau Physiographic Region (code THPT), overlaps with NTS map sheet number 092I/09, you first do a location search on the Physiographic Region, and THEN do a second search based on the NTS map sheet number.


B. Commodity Search

To search the database for specific commodities, select Commodity from the MINFILE Search Menu. This will activate the following commodity search screen:


Commodity search screen.


The commodity list for each occurrence is arranged in descending order of importance. For each occurrence, there may be numerous commodities listed; the Primary Commodity would be at the head of the list. A commodity search requires you to enter two-letter codes rather than full names. A list of these codes can be found in Appendix D of this manual. The commodities can be entered in any order. However, the fastest search is the "At least one of..." search (the third *starred row).

For example, if you would like to search for all of the occurrences with titanium as the primary commodity, you have two ways of performing the search. First, enter the code 'ti' (for titanium) in the Primary commodities row and simply press the 'PgDn' key to execute the search. Using the entire provincial database (about 11,600 records), finding all of the occurrences that contain titanium as the primary commodity takes less than a minute (using a Pentium 100 computer processor) using this method. A faster way to do the same search would be to use the "at least" one of search first to isolate all the occurrences which have titanium in the commodity list. Then search for (in the now much smaller dataset) all occurrences in which titanium is the primary commodity. This method takes approximately 3 seconds.


HINT: Whenever possible, initiate your searches for commodities using the "At least one of..." search (third row). If you would like to find a particular primary commodity (gold, for example), search for that commodity using this search first, then search the resulting occurrences (which will all have gold) for those which have gold as their primary commodity.

With the exception of the primary commodity, the searching routines do NOT distinguish between more or less important commodities in an occurrence. In other words when searching for a commodity, there is no distinction between gold as the second most important commodity in an occurrence, and gold as the tenth most important commodity. In the database, commodities are stored in order of importance even though the searches are not designed to recognize this order.


C. Status Search


If you select Status from the MINFILE Search Menu, you will see the following screen:


Status Search Menu.


Each MINFILE occurrence is assigned one of six status designations. Each of these six is assigned a number which appears next to the status designations. You can search for up to five status types at one time, simply by entering the number(s) that corresponds with your choice(s). If you would like to search for a single status type, enter the number that corresponds with that type, press the 'PgDn' key, and the search will automatically be executed.

The Anomaly status designation will not contain any occurrences from the distributed MINFILE database. This designation is meant to be a holding place for temporary occurrences or occurrences of interest that do not have documented in-situ mineralization. You are encouraged to use this designation to add appropriate data for your own use.


D. MINFILE Name/Number Search


This option allows you to search for occurrences by either MINFILE number or name.

You can search for a specific MINFILE number, a set of numbers, or a range of numbers. If you want specific MINFILE numbers you need to fill all nine spaces in the MINFILE Number blank (e.g. 114P__045, 082ENW025). Otherwise you can enter partial numbers, for example enter '092J' to select all the occurrences that have 092J as the first 4 numbers.


HINT: MINFILE/pc is not sensitive to uppercase and lowercase letters. There is no reason to capitalize MINFILE names in a search, however, names occur in proper uppercase form in the reports.


Each mineral occurrence in the MINFILE database may have up to sixteen different names, again in descending order of importance. When searching by MINFILE name, the system considers all sixteen entries for each occurrence. This means that a search on the name Goldstream Bridge and a search on the name Bentley will select the same occurrence (092B 067) because the occurrence is known by both names.

There is often some overlap of names. You may find that numerous MINFILE occurrences have (as one of their names) the same name as the one for which you are searching. For example, at the time of writing, there are 41 occurrences which contain Bonanza in their name lists. Of these, 25 have the name Bonanza and 16 have Bonanza as part of their name (for example, Bonanza Lode and Bonanza Queen). All of these will be found searching on the name Bonanza.

If you do not know the entire name of an occurrence, you can search the database using only part of the name. For example, for an occurrence called Blueberry, you might enter only 'Blu'. All occurrences that begin with the letters "Blu", including Blueberry, Bluebell, and so on, will be selected in the search.

It is NOT possible to search by both MINFILE number and name at once. If you know a partial MINFILE name and a MINFILE number range within which that occurrence falls, you must search for one, and then the other, the searches cannot be executed simultaneously.


The MINFILE Name/Number Search screen appears as follows:


MINFILE Name/Number Search screen.


E. Mineralogy Search


This search option allows you to search the database on the basis of significant, associated or alteration mineralogy. The Mineralogy search operates on the same Boolean logic as the Commodity search. As with the commodity search, the statements have been converted into sentence structure in order to make the logic easy to understand. Just like the Commodity search, the "At least one of..." search is accelerated.


Select the Mineralogy option from the MINFILE Search Menu; the following appears:



Before you can enter the codes for the mineral(s) you would like to search for, you must decide whether you would like to search on the basis of significant, alteration, associated (1, 2 or 3), or all (leave blank) mineralogy. When you have decided, type the number that corresponds with your choice. Now you are ready to enter the mineral codes (listed in Appendix E) for which you would like to search.


F. Age (Host Rock or Mineralization) Search


To search the database by the age of the host rock, or by the age of the mineralization, select this option from the MINFILE Search Menu. The following screen appears:


Age (Host Rock or Mineralization) Search screen.


This search uses three digit numerical codes (listed in Appendix F) to identify various ages of mineralization or host rock (e.g. 227 is the code for Middle Jurassic). Before you enter the age code, decide whether you would like to search on the basis of the age of the host rock or the age of the mineralization, and then select '1' or '2'. When this is entered, you must then enter either a single age code, or a range of codes. Many occurrences have an "unknown" age of mineralization or host rock. If you would like to search for occurrences with "unknown" mineralization or host rock ages, enter '***' in place of the three digit numerical code.


G. Deposit Character/Class Search


This search is initiated when you select Deposit Character/Class from the MINFILE Search Menu. This search procedure also uses Boolean logic to define the search parameters.

First decide whether you want to search on Deposit Character or Deposit Classification and insert the appropriate number at the top of the screen (see next page). Then use your mouse to click and hold on the blank field that you want to fill. A list will pop up containing all the valid choices for that field and you can simply select one. You can also use the arrow keys to move to the field that you are interested in, press 'Enter' and again a pop-up list will be displayed. Highlight first letter of your choice or use the arrow keys to move within the list and press 'Enter' when your choice is selected.

This data is also ranked in descending order of importance, with up to 4 entries in each of the Character and Classification categories. The Primary search will search on the Character or Classification ranked as the most important and listed first.


When you activate this search, the screen display will look like this:


Deposit Character/Class Search screen.


HINT: Remember to press the 'PgDn' key, after you have entered all appropriate codes, to execute the search.


H. Deposit Type (B.C. Mineral Deposit Profiles) Search


The Deposit Type search is activated when you select it from the MINFILE Search Menu. Select this search and the following display will appear:


Deposit Type (B.C. Mineral Deposit Profiles) Search screen.


This data is also ranked in descending order of importance, with up to 4 entries for each occurrence. The Primary search will search on the Deposit Type ranked as the most important and listed first. WARNING: Not all occurrences will have this data.


For this search, enter the codes which represent the deposit type you wish to search. Enter a single letter to search on a group of deposit types (e.g. "K" for SKARN). To browse and select from the list enter an invalid code such as 'aa' to position yourself at the top of the list or 'xx' to be at the bottom. A complete list of the Deposit Types, which are based on the B.C. Geological Survey Branch's Mineral Deposit Profiles, is included in Appendix G.


I. Lithology Search


To search the MINFILE database by Lithology select this option and you will see the following screen:


Lithology Search screen.


The Lithology search offers a number of options for searching the database. You can search for up to 5 different rock types simultaneously or you can search for a single rock type, combined with 1 to 3 modifiers (e.g. Porphyritic Feldspar Granite). These searches may NOT be done together. If you enter more than one rock code AND enter modifier codes, all rock codes except the first will be ignored, and MINFILE will search for that rock code in the list, with any modifiers you have specified.

The Lithology search operates on Boolean logic. Like the Commodity and Mineralogy searches, the "At least 1 of......" search is accelerated. If you wish to search for a single rock type, or a number of rock types (with no modifiers), enter the codes in the top row of the screen. For a listing of acceptable rock-type codes, see Appendix E of this manual. If you would prefer to search for a single rock type with modifiers, enter the rock type code in the top row, then press the arrow keys to place your cursor at the start of the second or third row. You may enter up to 3 modifiers which must occur together, and up to 5 modifiers of which at least one must be present. When all appropriate codes are entered, press the 'PgDn' key to execute the search. A list of valid rock modifier codes is attached to the list of rock codes in Appendix E.


J. Formal/Informal Host Search


In this search, you have the option of searching by Group (e.g. Hazelton), Formation (e.g. Silverquick), or Igneous/Metamorphic (e.g. Coast Plutonic Complex) names, but not all at once. You may enter up to two names for any one of the three categories, but you cannot search more than one category at a time.

Each occurrence can have up to 2 Formal and 2 Informal Hosts. These are ranked but the search does not recognize this. As well, many mineral occurrences have 2 hosts, often a stratigraphic host and an associated plutonic host. See Appendix F for a complete list of Stratigraphic Host codes.


To activate this search, select Formal/Informal Host from the MINFILE Search Menu. The screen looks like this:


Formal/Informal Host Search screen.


HINT: When you are searching for a specific Group, Formation or Igneous/Metamorphic name, do NOT enter the word "Group" or "Formation" after the name. Also, you may enter a partial name, and all the occurrences which have a host beginning with the letters you have typed will be selected.


K. Production Search


This allows you to search the database on commodities and quantities produced. Select this option from the MINFILE Search Menu and the following screen will appear:


Production Search screen.


To use this search, you must first indicate which year or years of production you would like considered. The default is always 1800 to the present year which is the complete range of possible years. For example, you might want to see only those occurrences which have produced a certain number of tonnes in the years 1987 to 1992. In this case, enter '1987' in the "from" blank, and '1992' in the "to" blank.

The date is the only field that MUST be entered in this search (you can just accept the default); all other fields are optional. This allows you to search on the following basis: year only, by year and the amount of production, by year and the commodities produced, or all 3.

If you have a quantity of production you want to search on, enter the amount (in tonnes) in the Ore mined or milled on an annual basis field. If any quantity of production is acceptable for your search, leave these two fields blank.

You may narrow the scope of this search on the basis of commodity. The commodity fields are similar to those found in the commodity search and the codes used are the same (see Appendix D). MINFILE/pc will assume that all commodities are acceptable if you do not specify any. If you do enter commodities, MINFILE/pc will search for those occurrences with production on the selected commodity in the year or years specified.


HINT: If an occurrence has production in any year in the range you specify, this search will isolate it. Therefore, if you search for a range of years, every occurrence with production in any one of the years within the specified range will be found.


L.Inventory Search


This search allows you to isolate MINFILE occurrences on the basis of commodity and reserves/resources. When you select Inventory from the MINFILE Search Menu, you will see the following:


Inventory Search screen.


This search procedure has a number of restrictions and requirements which must be remembered. First, you must enter at least one category in order for the search to work. To select a category (or categories), place an 'x' in the blank beside the one(s) you would like to search for. MINFILE/pc will search for any combination of categories. In the next field (optional) you can enter a quantity or range of quantities (in tonnes). This figure represents the quantity of Reserves/Resources that each occurrence must have to be found in the search. If you choose the "Assay/Analysis" category in order to isolate those occurrences that have assays, do not enter anything in the Quantity fields.

The final set of fields on this screen are also optional. In these, you can enter up to 3 commodity codes, using the same codes as you would for the commodity search (see Appendix D), and the grade of each commodity.


NOTE: Commodity grades for precious metals are expressed in grams per metric tonne, while grades for other commodities are expressed in percentages.