Daniel Chodur – Soil Sampler/Mineral Exploration Technician

Daniel Chodur – Soil Sampler/Mineral Exploration Technician

This summer I worked as a Soil Sampler for Big River Mineral Exploration in the Yukon. I found out about this opportunity through our ERT (now Geological Technician) Program Coordinator, Joanna Hodge.

During my time with this company I learned a lot about the practical application of field geology and about the business of the mineral exploration industry. I started the season off doing claim staking and soil sampling for a company called Sans Peur. We spent the first few days placing claim posts, and after the claims were obtained we proceeded to take soil samples of the C horizon around the area of interest that would be sent to the lab for assay. This involved hiking through the forest and navigating to waypoints with a GPS. I found using a compass very helpful for navigating to the waypoints, and my knowledge of soil description really came in handy when logging soil samples. After this project was completed I got sent out to do a soil sampling project for a company called Cantex.

A hand holding a chunk of yellow-brown soil containing graphite.
Graphitic phyllite in a soil sample

Cantex’s North Rakla camp was fly in only and remote, above the tree line in the mountains. I would be flown in and out of the field everyday via helicopter where I would climb up and down mountains all day collecting soil samples with a trowel. The helicopter would come by twice a day with a bag on a long line to pick up samples, and it would get me back to camp in time for dinner. After this project was finished, I worked on another soil sampling project for Victoria Gold Corp. Victoria Gold has an active gold mine but I worked in a small exploration camp on the outskirts of the mine called Nugget Camp. Here I did more soil sampling with augers, in an old burn type forest. I also did trench sampling here, which involved collecting bedrock samples from the trenches in 2 meter increments using geotools and rock hammers. I went back up to Cantex for a month after this, to assist the chef and do janitorial duties, which I didn’t exactly enjoy. The last soil sampling project I did was for Metallic Minerals in Keno City.

Near the end of the season I did some core-cutting for a company called Equity Mineral Exploration Consultants Ltd. This job involved using a core saw to evenly split core and collect half of it in sample bags that were to be sent to the lab for assay. The other half is kept around to use as proof if there are any high occurrences of mineralization. Finally, I wrapped up the season with Mayo Lake Minerals doing a trial run of a newly designed portable drill called the Talon Drill. The Talon Drill was used to take bedrock samples in zones that showed intriguing soil sample results to further narrow the zone of interest.

My favourite part of this job was the variety of camps I experienced working in, and also just being able to walk around in the forest or through the mountains all day. Working with geologists showed me that I still have much to learn and has inspired me to pursue further study in the field of geology and mineral exploration. I feel like I learned a lot about how mineral deposits are discovered and geology in general during this co-op, and also feel that it has been a vital stepping stone in my career. Once I have graduated from this program I would like to transfer Acadia University via the agreement they have with Fleming College to pursue a BSc in geology and ultimately become a Professional Geoscientist.

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