Prospecting Dorset
A successful week-long prospecting course wrapped up

Maria Canton
Northern News Services

IQALUIT (Oct 04/99) - Crystals, pyrites and quartzites were found during a week-long prospecting course in Cape Dorset.

Sixteen local residents took part in the course that offered up hands-on and book instruction to students with an interest in the basics of prospecting.

"The course was very thorough and the fact that we were out on the land poking around was very beneficial," said Cal Gillis, who lives in Cape Dorset.

"I'm interested mainly in crystals and semi-precious stones because I have a jewelry background, but there were people who were interested finding other kinds of rocks and minerals."

Comprised of afternoon classroom work in mineral and rock identification, staking claims, topographical and geological map reading techniques, as well as basic outdoor navigation, students moved outside for practical evening sessions.

"We're preparing them with all of the elements they'll need to help guide them to where they'd better spend their time looking," said instructor Mark Connell.

The course was funded by the Qikiqtaaluk Association, which also ensured a comprehensive collection of minerals were left at the hamlet office for everyone in the community to enjoy.

"We put together two collections of 123 minerals and left them in the community," said Connell.

Smaller rock and mineral sets were also left amongst the students for further study.

During the course, students located some samples that will be sent to laboratories for further analysis, but Connell, who wouldn't say what or where the samples were, says there is an air of secrecy in prospecting.

"In every course there are always a few samples that we send away," he said.

"But there is a certain amount of confidentiality to prospecting. Locals don't want to attract people to their spots."

The prospect of a prospectors group being organized in the community is also something that emerged from the course, says Gillis, who keeps a small mineral collection on display in his local coffee shop.

"There is talk of forming some sort of group and I hope they do," he says.

Grants are also available through Paul Pemik, who works for the Department of Sustainable Development, to those wanting to pursue a prospecting project. Pemik helped Connell instruct the course.