Golden lessons in prospecting
17-day course teaches the basics

Derek Neary
Northern News Services

FORT SIMPSON (Sep 03/99) - Faye Nadia has struck gold.

The 19-year-old Thomas Simpson school graduate from Fort Simpson returns home this week from a 17-day prospectors' course.

"I found some gold," she said from Yellowknife on Sunday. Although she's not going to retire off the find, which she said occurred on a place called Burnt Island, it was exciting.

The prospecting program took 12 students to the bush, roughly a 45-minute flight northeast of Yellowknife, where they spent a week studying rocks and minerals, learning to use geological instruments and read maps and compass.

"Sort of like bush survival, but then learning the geology of rocks, the vegetation and the whole ecosystem," she said. "We even went to different islands and we charted the islands by pacing, (counting) our steps."

Prospector Walt Humphries, who taught most of the lessons, said the purpose of the course was to show students first-hand what geology and mineral exploration is all about.

"In fact, these are ideal jobs or careers for Northerners to pursue," he said. "They allow you a lot of flexibility in your lifestyle and opportunity to be on the land."

Humphries described Nadia as "friendly" and "cheerful."

"She was a great student," he said. "A pleasure to teach."

Also included in the course was training in standard first aid and CPR as well as a self-esteem building workshop with psychologist Dr. James Battle.

On Monday morning, the participants took off for Sudbury, Ont., where they were to spend three days touring a mine site, the Science North Centre, NORCAT, Cambrian College, Laurentian University and Ontario Geological Survey. Nadia, who took an energy and mines class in high school, said a board member had contacted her about the program and she was immediately interested.

Leaning more towards a tourism-related career, she said she expects to pursue her post-secondary education in January.