Mineral Exploration Techniques

Post-Secondary Programs
Credential Earned: College Certificate (1 Year)
Campus: Haileybury, Kirkland Lake, Timmins, Distance
Program Length: 2 Semesters

Program Codes
M049 (CH) – Distance (Spring Field School in Timmins)
(HL) – Haileybury
(KL) – Kirkland Lake
(PC) – Timmins

Note: Fall 2023 intake is suspended

Mining your future success 

Northern’s Mineral Exploration Techniques certificate will give you the knowledge and skills you need to be a valued member of a mineral exploration team. It’s an exciting career for those that enjoy working in the outdoors helping with the many tasks involved in exploring for and evaluating new mineral deposits.

Combining on-site and distance learning, this full-time one-year program ends with an eight-day field school where you’ll get to practice carrying out basic and geological field and exploration methods you’ve been taught during the year. You’ll carry out activities such as practicing compass use, map orientation, field notes, sample collections, field description of rocks, mineral identification, map making, grids and grid mapping, drill core logging and more. Along the way, you’ll gain comprehensive skills and a broad understanding of one of the world’s biggest growth industries.

Coursework covers everything from ore signatures and environmental practices, to bush safety and survival. You will be prepared for a wide range of jobs, including lab assistant, geological technician, and quality controller.

This program of study also opens the door to continuing studies at the Haileybury School of Mines.

The modular format and distance delivery of this program provides the flexibility for students to study while maintaining their employment and caters to students in remote northern communities.

Graduates are ready to enter the job market with a College certificate after only one year of study.

Pathways to Success

Certificate to Diploma: Graduates of the Mineral Exploration Techniques program may choose to continue their studies in the Haileybury School of Mines – Mining Engineering Technician Diploma program at Northern College, with advanced standing in three common courses.


Career Opportunities

Upon the completion of the Mineral Exploration Techniques program, graduates will have a broad understanding of the mineral exploration industry and how it relates to mining. Students will graduate with a comprehensive range of skills required to be immediately employable in the mineral exploration industry including sampling, geological surveys, fieldwork and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). They will be mindful of health and safety, ethical practices, environmental sustainability and societal conscientiousness. Graduates may find employment as: Geological Assistant/Technician, Core Technician, Lab Assistant, Field Assistant/Technician, Geophysical Assistant/Operator, and/or Sales Representative.


Contact Information

Kellie Broderick
Program Assistant
Tel: 705-672-3376 ext. 8854
Email: broderickk@northern.on.ca

Admission Requirements

Program Specific Requirements

Mining Field School Supplies


General Admission Requirements

  • Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD)
  • Grade 12 English (C, U)
  • Grade 12 Math (C, U) (MCT4C preferred; MAP4C is accepted with a minimum GPA of 60%)
  • Grade 12 Chemistry (C, U) recommended
  • Grade 12 Physics (C, U) recommended
  • Good computer skills and a familiarity with Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint recommended

Or equivalent


Academic prerequisites for this program may be obtained free of charge through Academic Upgrading.

Applicants who do not have a high school diploma or equivalent and will have reached the age of 19 years on or before the start of the program must undergo academic testing and may be required to complete Prior Learning Assessment & Recognition (PLAR) process to demonstrate equivalency of admission requirements prior to admission into a program.

For more details, please contact the Admissions Office at 705-235-7222 or admissions@northern.on.ca.

Semester 1
CM1903 Communications I – Model A

Communications I is a practical course designed to help strengthen essential oral and written communication skills. Students will be exposed to a variety of learning methods and communication formats. Emphasis will be placed on the use of appropriate structure, writing conventions, tone and style as well as the enhancement of interpersonal, teamwork and presentation skills. Students will also develop discipline-specific documents, practice proper business etiquette and learn the importance of ethical behaviour and professionalism in the classroom and workplace. Attention to detail is emphasized.

MA1100 Mathematics I

This course covers basic algebra properties, graphing the straight line, basic geometry and trigonometry, and solving a system of equations graphically and algebraically. It also covers vector addition by components and by the cosine and sine laws.

MX1003 Introduction to Mineral Exploration

This course introduces the student to the Mineral Exploration industry, the associated policies, legislation and acts that govern exploration on a global, national and provincial scale. It examines the Mining sequence in Ontario. Students will learn about the process and responsibilities of companies from consultation, exploration, advanced stage exploration, development, production to closure/reclamation. This course also provides an introduction Mineral Economics as it pertains to global markets down to local scale impacts. The course introduces the different types of economic mineral deposits.

MX1013 Sampling Methods and Protocols

This course introduces the student to the sampling methods and protocols used in the mineral exploration and mining industry. The students learn various methods and processes for extracting, processing, recording, shipping and storage of geological, soil, vegetation and water samples. The students learn the importance of QA/QC – Quality Assurance/ Quality Control, accuracy, contamination prevention, accountability and transparency in sampling methods. Data entry creating spreadsheets in Microsoft Excel as a database platform is practiced.

MX1023 Introduction to Geology and Geomorphology

This course introduces the student to the science of geology and mineralogy and the theories that govern our understanding of the Earth’s processes and geomorphological processes that form the landscapes we see every day. These topics will be examined in context with how different ore deposits have different inherent geological indicators and subsequent exploration methods employed governed by the landscapes in which they occur.

MX1033 Mineral Exploration Workplace Best Practices

This course introduces the student to the best practices and standards in the mineral exploration workplace including the field, lab and coreshack environment setting. Students learn the general safety protocols and standards employed in the field of mineral exploration including bush safety and survival. Students learn about the social and personal benefits of safe work practices and the methods to best prevent accidents or injuries. Students will review the role, rights and responsibilities of an individual in today’s health and safety conscious world.

Semester 2
GN1443 Indigenous Culture and Awareness

This general education course will provide students with an introduction to Canadian Indigenous Nations’ history, sovereignty, land titles, cultural history and current critical issues. Topics addressed include the content of Indigenous rights, economic and social development, community and political processes, and business law and policies, justice & social services. Canadian Indigenous History and Relations is a general education course that has been incorporated into all programs at Northern College.

MX2003 Introduction to GIS Applications

This course introduces the basic principles of geographic information systems. Emphasis will be placed on the theory, uses and applications of GIS in mineral exploration. Students will examine the relationships between sample data, databases and GIS in mineral exploration and digital map making.

MX2013 Geophysical Methods in Mineral Exploration

This course introduces the student to the theory and application of geophysical surveys in mineral exploration. Students will examine the relationship of magnetic, electrical, electromagnetic and gravity properties and surveys to the various ore deposit type signatures.

MX2023 Environmental Best Practices in Mineral Exploration

This course introduces the student to concepts of environmental vulnerability and responsibility in mineral exploration industry. It outlines the responsibilities and best practices of all parties in regard to the Environmental Protection Act and the Mining Acts of Ontario. It examines the techniques used by the mineral exploration industry to mitigate the potential for environmental impacts during exploration activities.

MX2033 Fieldwork, Mapping and Orienteering

This course introduces the student to the basics of how to complete fieldwork efficiently, safely and with regard for the environment. Students learn about the components of maps and field notes and how to interpret air photos, topographic and geological maps and cross-sections. The course teaches the students about orienteering, compass and GPS use and bush skills.

MX2063 Geochemical Methods in Mineral Exploration

This course introduces the student to the theory and application of geochemical surveys in mineral exploration. Students analyze the relationship of rock, soil and biogeochemical chemistry to various ore deposit type signatures. Students also examine the various analytical methods used in industry.

MX2004 – Min Ex Field School

Students will gain direct hands-on experience in drill-core logging, drill-core-cutting and sampling of rock, soils, vegetation and water. Field work includes outcrop, grid and traverse mapping, line-cutting, digital map making, data entry, geophysical methods, geochemical methods, orienteering and bush craft, geology and geomorphology.

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