BC Assayers Certification Program

The Certification of Proficiency In Assaying Examination

Proficiency examinations are set and invigilated by the Assayers Certification Board of Examiners and are held at the campus.

Board members are Mr. Manzur Chaudhry, Ms. Elaine Woo and Mr. David Tye. As Chair of the Board of Examiners, Mr. Chaudhry is instrumental in maintaining the high standards for the written and practical examinations.

Board of Examiners

Individuals listed below may be contacted by writing to them using e-mail addresses in the format

Mr. Manzur (Mac) Chaudhry
2320 Lexington Place,
Victoria, B.C. V8N 5K4
Ms. Elaine Woo
3700 Willingdon Ave,
Burnaby, B.C. V5G 3H2
Mr. David Tye ,
9050 Shaughnessy Street,
Vancouver, B.C. V6P 6E5

Examination Information

General Information

All correspondence regarding the Certification Program should be addressed to:

Mr. Stephen M. Rowins, Chief Geologist & Executive Director
British Columbia Geological Survey,
5th Floor 1810 Blanshard St.
Victoria, B.C. V8W 9N3
Email: Stephen.Rowins@gov.bc.ca


Claims for Exemption from the Examination


When and where Examinations are held

Part 1- Theory examinations are held once a year, generally in the spring, the intending candidates must notify the chairperson of the Board of Examiners no later than January 2nd of the year to receive notification of the date and location of examination.

Part 2 - Practical examinations are scheduled when a minimum of four candidates have qualified and are ready to take this examination. Candidates are notified of the date and location at least 30 days before the examination date.

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Scope of Examination

The examination consists of two parts:

Part 1- Theory Examination

Part 1 consists of two written papers of 3 hours each, both being closed book exams. Paper 1 deals with Precious Metal Assaying, Sampling Theory and Practice, Quality Assurance/Quality Control and Statistical Analysis.

Part 2 deals with Classical Assaying, Instrumentation, Acid Base Accounting and Safety Practices in an assay laboratory including the Federal legislated Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS).

NOTE: Only non-programmable scientific calculators will be permitted in both papers and examinations.

The majority of the questions in Paper 1 deal with fire assaying and others deal with sampling and other topics. Some of the topics covered are listed below:

Paper 2 covers a wide range of analytical techniques commonly used in a modern laboratory. The acid base accounting refers to the methods used in test work pertaining to acid rock drainage prediction of proposed, working, and abandoned mines.

Candidates must be knowledgeable and prepared to answer questions dealing with the following topics:

Particular stress will be laid on the sources of error, interfering elements and basic chemical reactions in the methods. Candidates must be prepared to give detailed procedures only for the elements written in italic. Candidate should be prepared to give brief outlines of the procedures for the elements not underlined. If an instrumental method of analysis is chosen for a detailed procedure, t he examinee's answer should include a detailed discussion of calibration and of possible interference and errors and how to avoid them.

Candidates will be expected to know the common sources of error and interference as well as the basic principles involved in the operation of laboratory instruments. These include: Laboratory based and portable X-ray fluorescence, atomic absorption, Arc-ES, ICP, ICP-MS and DCP emission spectrometers, ion selective electrodes (including pH electrodes), electroanalytical methods (polargraphy, anodic stripping, coulometry, etc.) fluorimetry and colourimetry techniques. The candidate is also expected to and be able to discuss; the relative advantages and disadvantages of these instruments for a given analytical application, what errors might be encountered and how to avoid them, and how to calibrate the various operational parameters. The examinee will also be required to possess knowledge of the major building blocks of these instruments and the purpose of each.

Typical Written Papers

In order to acquaint the candidate with scope of written papers and the type of questions asked, a sample of recent papers will be supplied on request, however, it should be clearly understood that these questions are not necessarily any more important than any of the other topics listed above. A suggested reading list broken down under different headings is to serve as a rough study guide.

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Part 2: Practical Examination

Candidates are permitted to use textbooks, notes and calculators during the practical work. Candidates are also required to be able to make accurate and precise measurements of elemental concentration, ranging from several percent levels to trace level, in suitably prepared samples, using both "classical" and instrumental methods of analysis. These include the following:

Furthermore candidates are required to be able to:

The choice of methods to be used rests entirely with the candidates with the exception that the practical qualitative analysis part will be performed by classical wet chemical techniques. An additional exception is that ICP/ES and XRE techniques are not acceptable for quantitative analysis. The reason for not permitting the use of ICP/ES and XRF is that the candidate need not set up the necessary inter-element corrections, calibrations and instrumental conditions since they are stored in computer memory and can be previously established by someone else. The use of an atomic absorption spectrometer that the candidate must set up at the time of the examination is acceptable.

The candidate will be allowed to bring to the examination previously standardized solutions.

Candidates must provide themselves with such platinum ware as they may require, as this will not be furnished at the examination.

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Standard of Examination

Not less than 67% must be obtained on the entire examination with not less than 50% of the marks allotted for the theory part of the examination and not less than 50% of the marks allotted for the Assaying portion of practical examination. Should a candidate fail to obtain 67% overall he/she will be required to take the entire examination again and pay the prescribed fees.

Marks Allocated
  Precious Metal Assaying Sampling/Sampling Theory and Statistics
Wet Assaying, Instrumentation, Quality
Control and Safety
  Assaying - Practical


Precious Metal Assaying
  Wet Assaying
  Quantitative Analysis
Mineral Identification

Pass Marks to be obtained by a candidate:
  • Overall - 667
  • Papers - 180

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Suggested Reading List

* Denotes books from which exam questions are taken.
Fire Assaying

Instruments and Instrumental Analysis

General Analysis

Sampling and Statistics


Quality Assurance / Quality Control

* Denotes books from which exam questions are taken.

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