Mineral Prospecting and Exploration

Prospecting Versus Exploration

Prospecting usually refers to the search for minerals deposits. If a potential mineral deposit is discovered during prospecting, the deposit may be subject to further exploration to find out more about its size, location, and composition.

Prospecting and exploration usually involve different activities. Although BC’s laws do not define prospecting, it is generally understood to mean non-mechanical, low-impact activities, such as desktop searches, geological field mapping and rock-chip sampling.1 Exploration activities, by contrast, tend to be more intrusive than prospecting activities and generally require the use of heavy machinery for road construction, drilling, blasting, and trenching.2

Prospecting and exploration activities can also be distinguished according to how they are regulated.3 In BC, prospecting activities can be performed by any holder of a Free Miner Certificate.4 Exploration activities, by contrast, require government approval in the form of a mine permit obtained by filing a Notice of Work Application.5

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