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 British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) campus.

Board members are Mr. Manzur Chaudhry, Ms. Elaine Woo and Mr. Keith Rogers. 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. Keith Rogers,
2103 Dollarton Hwy
North Vancouver, B.C.
V7H 0A7

Examination Information

General Information

All correspondence should be addressed to:

Dave Lefebure, Chief Geologist
BC Geological Survey,
PO Box 9333 Stn Prov Gov't
Victoria, B.C., V8W 9N3
Email address: as noted above


When and where Examinations are held

Part 1- Theory examinations are held twice yearly, one in March, and the other in September. Intending candidates must notify the chairperson of the Board of Examiners no later than January 15th for the March examination and July 15th for the September 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.


Claims for Exemption from the Examination

A person who has passed courses in analytical chemistry and/or assaying in an accredited (by the Board of Examiners) university or school of mines, may be eligible to receive a certificate entitling him/her to practice assaying without taking the examination. Or, with such qualifications, he/she may be required to take an oral examination before a majority of the members of the Board of Examiners.

A person claiming exemption must submit a transcript of his/her university or institute of technology career. This transcript should come to the Board of Examiners direct from the Registrar of the institute or university. The university or school calendar should also be submitted. It should be clearly understood that the Board of Examiners has the sole right to decide whether or not the school or university shall be regarded as accredited. Claims for exemption call can be made at any time. A processing fee of $100.00 must be submitted together with the application. The fee is not refunded if the application is withdrawn or rejected by the Board of Examiners.

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Scope of Examination

The examination consists of two parts:

Part 1- Theory Examination

There are two written papers of 3 hours each, both being closed book exams. The first deals with Precious Metal Assaying, Sampling Theory and Practice, Quality Assurance/Quality Control and Statistical Analysis. The second deals with Classical Assaying, Instrumentation, Acid Base Accounting and Safety Practices in an assay laboratory.

Precious Metals Assaying, Sampling Theory and Practice, Statistical Analysis, and Laboratory Safety.

The objective of this exam is to test the proficiency of the candidate in the whole assay procedure from raw sample preparation to data analysis. Majority of the questions deal with fire assaying and others deal with sampling and other topics. Some of the topics covered are listed below:

Instrumental, classical and Acid-Base accounting methods.

The exam paper 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 assessment 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: 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 will also be expected to be able to discuss the relative advantages and disadvantages of these instruments for a given analytical problem, 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.

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

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 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.

Candidates are permitted to use textbooks and notes during the practical work.

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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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