Yellowknifers learn the ins and outs of prospecting

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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.

The prospectors take a break from concentrating on the rocks below to take in the view from above atop Ranney Hill. Back row, from left, are Aaron Perrott, Barbara Perrott, Landen Powell, James Boylan, Rod Hildebrandt, Peter Allen. Front row are Jeremy MacDonald, left, Travis Rivard and Sarah Campbell. Emelie Peacock/NNSL photo

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.