History of the BC Assayers Foundation Advisory Council
| Background | Chronology | Organizational Structure |
|24-Oct-2003||Formation of the BC Assayers Foundation Advisory Council.
During a 24-Oct-2003 meeting, the name of the BC Assayers Certification Program Advisory Council was renamed to be the "British Columbia Assayers Foundation Advisory Council."
|21-Apr-2003||Corporate membership fees lowered to $500 to encourage membership growth, and in light of "current" budget surplus. Corporate ($500), associate ($250) and individual ($50).|
|1998-Mar-27||Formative meeting of the BC Assayers Certifiication Program Board
The concept of the Advisory Board originated because of industry concerns that the Assayers Certification Program would be cancelled. A government-industry-BCIT partnership had been proposed to improve the program.
Recommendation that the Certification Examination fee increase from $50 to $100 because the "present" cost to examine each candidate was $680.
|1997||Retirement of last Government of BC Assayer|
|1997||An executive summary
of a review of the Assayer Certification Program & recommendations
The original review was undertaken by Dr. J. Alan Coope in October 1992. The full report is in files of the Ministry.
|1992||An Examination of the British Columbia Assayers Certification Program, Dr. J. Alan Coope, Oct. 1992|
|1977||Certification program reinstated by provincial government, Social Credit Party.|
|1973||Certification program cancelled by provincial government, NDP.|
|1895-1997||Assayer Certification Program run by the Government of BC Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources|
British Columbia Assayers Certification
Background -Ray Lett, 22-Jul-2009
The Ministry of Energy, Mines & Petroleum Resources (MEMPR) Act (1979) mandates a BC Assayer Certification Program. The Act requires that any one performing an assay on a sample of rock, mineral, ore or metallurgical product be a BC Certified Assayer or be supervised by a BC Certified Assayer. Certification is gained by passing separate theory & practical examinations that are set, invigilated and graded by three BC Certified assayer examiners who are presently Mr. Mac Chaudhry (MEMPR), Mr. Keith Rogers (ALS Global) & Ms Elaine Woo, British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT). The Program was introduced by legislation in 1895 because of numerous public complaints about fraudulent and incompetent assayers that were operating in the province. At that time the primary aim of the program was to ensure that assayers were fully trained and qualified. In its current form, it encompasses not only fire assaying for precious metals, but also mineral analytical technical techniques (e.g. classical assay and instrumental methods for trace elements analysis). The program operated continuously from 1895 to 1973 when it was cancelled by the government, but was reinstated in 1977 in response to industry demands. While several other jurisdictions require that assayers be registered, BC is unique in that is candidates must pass written and practical examinations to qualify as a certified assayer.
In the early years of the program (pre ~ 1960), assayer training and examination was carried out by the provincial government in its Victoria laboratory under the supervision of the Chief Assayer. Examinations were also frequently hosted by Teck (formerly Cominco Ltd.), in their Trail Operations laboratory; this reflects the excellent in-house training program for assayers that was operated for many years by Cominco. After 1977, government assayer training ceased and examinations were carried out at mine and commercial laboratories (e.g. Island Copper, Teck-Trail), and most recently at BCIT. During early 1990's, there was limited industry contact with government, apart from examination of candidates by the Chair of the Board of Examiners, Mr. Mac Chaudhry. Dr. Ron Smyth, then Chief Geologist of the BC Geological Survey, Ministry of Energy, Mines & Petroleum Resources, recognized a weakness in not maintaining a higher profile for the Program and, in 1998, initiated formation of the BC Certified Assayers Program Advisory Council with representatives from BCIT (Training directed by Elaine Woo), commercial laboratories and industry (Certified Assayers) and government. Because of limited government resources at that time, the Program administration (except for issue of certificates) was transferred from government to the Advisory Council. Program administration costs were funded by a one-time government grant ($10 000) to BCIT. In 2003, the funds were transferred from BCIT account into a non-profit society - the BC Certified Assayers Foundation. Since then, the BC Assayers Foundation has funded Examining Board expenses and scholarships to BCIT students and to assayer-trainees working in commercial laboratories. Over the period 1997-2009, commercial laboratories made voluntary annual contributions (typically $500 each) to the Foundation; the BC Geological Survey gave a further grant ($3000) to the Foundation in 2005. Starting in 2010, larger contributions were required to propertly support the work of the Board of Examiners.