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Ministry of Energy Mines and Responsible for Core Review

Chapter II: Operating MINFILE/pc and MINFILE/www


A.  Getting Started in MINFILE/pc


B.  Getting Help in MINFILE/pc

C.  Getting Around in MINFILE

D.  General Comments on Searches

E.  Reports

F.  Code Table Maintenance

G. General Comments on Data Entry


A. Getting Started in MINFILE/pc


When MINFILE/pc is installed, you are ready to go. There are two ways to open MINFILE/pc: 


From the MINFILE/pc file

1.  Browse your computer to find the MINFILE/pc file (called minfile_pc.mdb) stored on your computer.
2.  Click the MINFILE/pc file (minfile_pc.mdb) to open the file.
3.  MS Access opens automatically with MINFILE/pc open on the MINFILE/pc Search Menu Form.


From MS Access

1.  Open MS Access.
2.  From the file menu Select open.
3.  Browse your computer or network for your MINFILE/pc file (minfile_pc.mdb) and click on the file to open it.
4.  MINFILE/pc opens automatically on the MINFILE/pc Search Menu Form.
5.  Select basic or advanced searches or return to the tables menu.


If this proves unsuccessful, then you will need to return to review (Installing MINFILE/pc, Chapter 1, Section B).
When MINFILE/pc is loaded and running you will see the title screen below:



B. Getting Help in MINFILE/pc


MINFILE/pc is equipped with a number of Help Screens.   Go to the directory where you extracted the MINFILE/pc files and double click on MINFILE_pc.chm to open up the MINFILE/pc help file.  If you did not download it then please return to and download it and print a copy.  It will open up to look like the following:



C. Getting Around in MINFILE


MINFILE information is listed by:  

  •  Names; commodities; status (from showings to major producing mines).
  •  Location (NTS map, BCGS map, longitude/latitude, UTM, elevation, Electoral District,
     Forest District and Mining Division).
  •  Mineralogy and alteration.
  •  Host rock (lithology, stratigraphic names and ages).
  •  Geological setting (tectonic belt, terrane, physiographic area and metamorphism).
  •  Inventory (assays, reserves/resources and production).  
  •  Capsule geology and work history.
  •  References and publications.

Common Features

Sub-Menu Tab Bar



This tab bar is used on all the MINFILE/pc and MINFILE/www basic and advanced search forms as well as the MINFILE

Coding Card for data entry purposes.  By clicking on any of these tabs you will move to the specified section of the form.


D. General Comments on Searches in MINFILE


Search Features

MINFILE allows you to search more than 12,500 metallic mineral, industrial mineral and coal, deposits and occurrences documented in British Columbia. You have the option of performing a basic search or an advanced search. Use the hyperlink at the top right of the screen to switch between the two searches.


Note: The basic and advanced searches are two separate searches, they cannot be combined.

With MINFILE you can search by:


  • Identification and location
  • Mineral occurrence
  • Host rock
  • Geological settings
  • Inventory
  • Production
  • Bibliography and Capsule Geology comments
  • Imported MINFILE numbers file

Click on the tab title for more information on each tab.

Basic Identification/Location or Advanced Identification/Location - Allows you to search by MINFILE names, numbers, status (showings to major producing mines) and location (NTS map, longitude/latitude).


Basic Mineral Occurrence or Advanced Mineral Occurrence - Allows you to search by commodity, mineralogy and alteration, deposit character, classification and type (based on BC Mineral Deposit Profiles)


Basic Host Rock or Advanced Host Rock - Allows you to search by lithology, stratigraphic names and ages.


Basic Geological Settings or Advanced Geological Settings - Allows you to search by tectonic belt, terrane, physiographic area and metamorphism.


Basic Inventory or Advanced Inventory - Allows you to search by inventory information.


Basic Production or Advanced Production - Allows you to search by production information.


Basic Bibliography and Capsule Geology or Advanced Bibliography and Capsule Geology - Allows you to search the Bibliographic and / or capsule geology comments by entering search keywords.

Basic Import Numbers or Advanced Import Numbers - Allows you to import a series of MINFILE record numbers to use as a search filter.


Many of the basic and advanced searches in MINFILE make use of Boolean logic. This logic depends upon "And"..."Or"..."Not"... statements. In those search menus which use this logic, the search statements have been converted into sentence form in order to make them easy to understand. Just fill in the blank(s) with the code(s) of the parameter(s) that you would like to search the database on and the system will do the rest.


1. Hints for Searches in MINFILE

Of the various searches available to users of MINFILE, several provide for the ability to select from a range of valid choices. Complete lists of these descriptions and their codes can be found in Appendices A, B, C, D, E, and F of this manual.  See specific searches for details.


2. Between Searches

Notice that after you do a search, the "Search Filter Criteria" and "Number of Records Returned" is displayed at the top of the search result screen.  If it does not change, then your search criteria have not narrowed the database or you have made an error.


For both basic and advanced searches, after each search, this number will either remain the same (if all occurrences met the search criteria) or become smaller (if the search narrowed the field of acceptable data). If the number goes to "0" then no data meets the criteria you specified or you have made an error.


To begin a new advanced search with the complete dataset, you need to hit the Return to Search button and you should be back to the Total Records equal to that of the complete dataset.  If you are not then hit the Clear button. 

To begin a new basic search with the complete dataset, you need to hit either the New button and you should be back to the Total Records equal to that of the complete dataset.  If you are not then hit the Clear button.


HINT: If you would like to keep a record of these search results, you can either generate a report (MINFILE Reports, Chapter IV) or create a search file from MINFILE/www that can be imported back into MINFILE/pc at a later time (see Import Search File, Chapter III, Section K).


3. Limitations to MINFILE Searches

There are some limitations to the searches performed by MINFILE/pc and MINFILE/www. While these are not of great concern, it pays to keep them in mind when you are interpreting the results of your searches.


The first of these is MINFILE/pc's inability to distinguish between the various levels of ranked data. For example, each MINFILE occurrence may contain numerous significant minerals, which are stored in the database in descending order of importance. The first commodity for each occurrence is called the primary commodity, and is recognized as such by the system. However, any other commodity for that occurrence is treated as equal, whether it is second on the list, or eleventh.


It is also important to note that all commodities reported for an occurrence need NOT be economically viable. In effect, the MINFILE data includes occurrences with very small amounts of a commodity, just as it includes occurrences with commercially valuable amounts of a commodity. There is no distinction made (except in the status designation) between the two, this judgment is up to you!


Another limitation to the searches occurs in the "Deposits with production" search. It is important to remember that this search does NOT require that each of the occurrences "found" have production figures for every year in the range you specify. Similarly, deposits selected by this search are not restricted to those with production only in the years you specify. For example, if you enter the range 1980 to 1990, MINFILE will select all occurrences that have recorded production in any of those years but not necessarily all of them.


None of these limitations are "crippling", as long as you remember that they exist, and take them into account when you are interpreting search results. It is highly recommended that you refer to the MINFILE Coding Manual for the rules and regulations applied to the data collection.


4. Executing MINFILE Searches

Once you have entered all the search parameters you would like select Search to begin the search.


To continue searching on Previous Results - This option allows you to search the MINFILE database, using a number of criteria to isolate specific mineral occurrences.

5. Wild Cards in Searches

The wildcards % and _(underscore) will work with MINFILE Name, Number and NTS Map searches.

If you precede a word with %, the search will return occurrences which have that word anywhere within the field. For example, %Poll will find names like POLLY, APOLLO, and MOUNT POLLEY. And %2F will find NTS maps like 082F02W.

If you precede a word with _ (underscore), the search will return occurrences which begin with any character followed by the word. For example, _OAT will find names like GOAT or BOAT. And _OLD will find names like GOLD, HOLD, GOLDEN, GOLD DUST, but will not find OLD GOLD.


There are 4 characters that can be used as wildcards, the % symbol mentioned above is used for finding multiple letter alternatives, while the underscore (_) character is used for finding one letter alternatives.  The other two characters are "?" and "*".  "?" is the equivalent of (_) and "*" is the equivalent of "%".


6. Returning to the Main System Menu

From MINFILE/pc:  When you are finished searching the database, select Return to Search and Close to take you back to the Main System Menu or select Choose Report to Print to see a preview with an option to print the summary information.

From MINFILE/www:  When you are finished searching the database, select New Search or select a Report and then Print Preview to see a preview with an option to print the summary information.


E. MINFILE Reports


There are several different types of reports from both MINFILE/pc and MINFILE/www.  Reports can be printed in PDF or MS Word format.  Select the report you want to generate from the pull-down menu in the top right-hand corner of the screen and select Print Preview.  A preview of the report will be sent to the screen.  The report can be viewed or printed from the preview


NOTE: The MINFILE Detailed report will take longer to generate than any of the other reports. This is because it contains
substantially more information.


HINT: You can advance or move backwards through the Preview of a report using the arrow keys in the preview screen.  The total number of  pages will be indicated.  Eg. 1/3 means you are on page 1 of 3 pages.


1. Reports Sent to the Printer

If you would like to have a paper copy of a report, select the printer icon (top left icon on grey bar) from the preview menu. This option will send the report to whatever type of printer is connected to your computer.


2. Report Type

Select the choice which corresponds with the type of report you would like to generate. For a description of each available report type, see the section entitled MINFILE Reports (Chapter IV). Also, a sample of each available report is included as Appendix K to this manual.


F. Code Table Maintenance

The code tables are maintained by the BC Geological Survey in Victoria.  Users may request the addition of new codes.  These requests will be reviewed by a staff geologist and if approved, added to the MINFILE corporate database.  For further information on Code Tables refer to Chapter VI.  Code Table and User Maintenance/Administration.


IMPORTANT: Users should NOT attempt to edit the MINFILE codes, as this may lead to corruption of the database and cause inconsistencies with the corporate version.


G. General Comments on Data Entry

Data Entry is done exclusively online via MINFILE/www and it's MINFILE Coding Card.  BC Geological Survey staff (see contacts in Chapter VII) and pre-authorized users are permitted to make revisions to the corporate MINFILE database.  To obtain authorization to capture mineral occurrence data online please contact Laura deGroot with the BC Geological Survey. 


The Data Entry component is equipped with numerous edit checks that will help you use it. These checks will prevent you from leaving the system before you have submitted any changes you have made. They will also prevent you from making any changes which do not meet the requirements (locations outside of B.C., for example). All you need to do is keep an eye on the message bar at the top of the screen once you hit save. It will advise you of problems you might encounter in Data Entry. All changes will be reviewed by a designated Ministry Approver and either accepted or rejected for further information (via email). 


The MINFILE/www online Coding Card has its own Help screens which provide basic information on the data entry functions.