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Ministry of Energy Mines and Responsible for Core Review

Chapter I: Introduction


A. About MINFILE/pc and MINFILE/www
B. Installing MINFILE/pc


This section of the manual provides background information on MINFILE/pc and MINFILE/www. It will also tell you how to install MINFILE/pc on your computer. If you already have the 5.0 Version installed, you might find it useful to skip ahead to the Operating MINFILE section. If you have never worked with MINFILE/pc, and need to install it, the following sections will be exactly what you need.


Please note that the information contained in this manual is the property of the BC Geological Survey Branch (GSB), and may not be commercially reproduced or sold without the express permission of the GSB.


A. About MINFILE/pc and MINFILE/www


1. The History of MINFILE

In 1967, a card-based inventory of mineral occurrences in British Columbia was created and maintained by the BC Geological Survey 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 BC Geological Survey 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 featured greatly increased flexibility in handling and storing data, new searches, Y2K fixes and an expanded database.

In 2006, MINFILE/pc Version 5.0 was released.  This version was converted to an MS Access application that is downloadable from the web.  Due to the large file size MINFILE/pc is a compressed (zipped) file.  Version 5.0 is not compatible with older versions of MINFILE/pc.  At this time, a new component called MINFILE/www was introduced to provide online data entry and online access to the MINFILE database.


2. MINFILE/pc and MINFILE/www Features

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


  • Free: the MINFILE/pc program and data is available for download free of charge.
  • Variety of searches: the data can be searched on a number of criteria under two types of searches - Basic and Advanced.
  • Variety of reports: MINFILE/pc provides a portable extract of the MINFILE database along with search forms and printable reports.  MINFILE/www provides on screen occurrence summary data, reports and downloads of the MINFILE database for Internet users.  Online data entry via MINFILE/www can be performed with pre-authorization from the BC Geological Survey in Victoria.
  • Custom datasets: you can easily make your own customized datasets, import datasets and/or backup your data.
  • New Coding Manual: the BC Geological Survey has developed a new coding manual for use with MINFILE/pc Version 5.0 and MINFILE/www.

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 BC Geological Survey in Victoria so that the main database can be updated.

The BC Geological Survey, Victoria (see contacts in Chapter VII) 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. System Requirements

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

  • MINFILE/pc requires Microsoft Access 2000 (or a later version) installed on your computer.
  • An internet connection is required to download MINFILE/pc from the website.
  • A downloadable shareware version of WinRAR is available free of charge for evaluation purposes.  To download or find out more about WinRAR go to  WinRAR is a powerful compression tool with many integrated additional functions to help you organize your compressed archives. • WinRAR supports all popular compression formats (RAR, ZIP, CAB, ARJ, LZH, ACE, TAR, GZip, UUE, ISO, BZIP2, Z and 7-Zip).


Minimum Hardware Requirements


  • Pentium 75-megahertz (MHz) or higher processor.
  • Microsoft Windows 95, 98 NT, 2000 XP or later.  

NOTE: Windows 2000 requires a Pentium 133 megahertz (MHz) or higher processor.  


Software Requirements

  • Microsoft Access 2000, XP or a later version.   
  • WinRAR to download MINFILE/pc.

The existing MINFILE/pc program and data for the province presently occupies approximately 307 megabytes of hard disk space once downloaded and extracted.


2. The MINFILE/pc Package

The MINFILE/pc Version 5.0 (December 2006) including the online version of this User's Manual can be downloaded from: and

3. How to Install MINFILE/pc

  • Be sure you've downloaded WinRar first.  Use WinRAR to extract the compressed MINFILE-pc.RAR file.  The download contains a MINFILE/pc Help file.
  • Click on the link Download MINFILE/pc from the above mentioned page.  A File Download window will pop up asking "Do you want to open or save this file?"  Click on Save to save your MINFILE/pc file on your computer to a directory of your choice.  This file is approximately 31.2 Mb in size in .rar format.  Once extracted it is approximately 307 Mb in size.
  • Go to the directory where you saved the minfile-pc.rar file and double click on the MS Access file called minfile-pc.mdb.  A security warning may pop up - click Open now.  You are now ready to start searching on the MINFILE/pc database on your computer.  There are basic searches and advanced searches.

               Note:  MINFILE_pc.chm is the Help file. 

4. Link to MINFILE/www

  • Click on your internet browser and go to the online searches at:

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


At the top-centre of the screen you will see the word "Total Records:____". The number in the blank indicates the number of records in the database since you downloaded it or called it up in your browser.  At this point, you are ready to search the MINFILE database, report on the findings, or recommend edits to the data (via BC Geological Survey staff).