On Sunday a group of 15 students, geologists and prospectors headed out to the forests around Ranney Hill to learn the ins and outs of a trade that has inspired countless gold-fevered Canadians to pack up and move to Yellowknife.
Sarah Campbell, a prospector since 2013, splits her time between the forests of the NWT and the city of Toronto. She said prospecting is about a lot more than gold fever. Prospectors often have a knack for spotting quartz veins, rusty rock and other indicators of a mineral rich area.
“You like being outdoors and you have a curiosity for what the story is behind the rocks you’re looking at,” she said. “You have to be fairly adventurous and athletic because you’re carrying a lot of samples.”
In the NWT, prospecting work is seasonal. Prospectors are out in the summer and fall before a shut down period from November to January when it is too cold to prospect and not cold enough to drill.
Geologist Eric Hebert said a mistake on a college course application landed him in a geology course instead of his plans for neurosurgery. He said it’s a perfect career, combining the physical work of being out on the land with the intellectual work of knowing what is beneath his feet.
The two-day prospector training session is offered by the NWT Mine Training Society once a year in Yellowknife. The same course will be held Sept. 23 and 24 in Hay River.