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NORMIN - the Northern Minerals Database

Proceeding further constitutes acceptance of our disclaimer. Re-distribution of NORMIN data is subject to certain conditions.

NORMIN Definitions

What is NORMIN?

NORMIN is a database of mineral showings, and a database of references to geology and mineral exploration in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. NORMIN stores location and geological information about showings, as well as information on the content of references. It allows each showing to be linked to as many references as apply to it; and each reference to be linked to whichever showings it covers.

The Northwest Territories Geoscience Office (NTGO) is a centre for government geoscience in the NWT which is jointly operated by the NWT Geology Division of the federal department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) and the Minerals Oil & Gas Division of the Government of the Northwest Territories. The Geoscience Centre maintains and upgrades the NORMIN database. Data input is an ongoing job, as new reports are released and the existing backlog is researched. Staff record data which is already in public records, and although every effort is made to be accurate, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of either the source data or the data as it is recorded in NORMIN. Staff do not calculate weighted averages or reserves, nor do they guarantee that any reported calculated information such as reserves is correct or is based on data of sufficient quantity and quality. If a reported reserve calculation or category is obviously not based on sufficient data, a subjective judgment may be made to present it in a more appropriate way.

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What is a Showing?

A mineral showing is an indication of a potentially economic concentration of a mineral commodity, as defined by the reported existence of at least one sample of whatever material would constitute the ore if the deposit were minable (usually bedrock), in which a commodity has been detected in anomalous amounts. Anomalous amounts are those equal to or above a minimum value assigned semi-quantitatively to each commodity. Minimum values for the purposes of NORMIN do not vary with area although actual background values do.

If a showing is defined for one commodity, another commodity may be listed as anomalous if it has been detected in an amount above or equal to a second assigned value, its 'As a By-Product' minimum.

The number of showings in NORMIN for any area is dependent on what has been discovered and described in the literature, and whether that literature has been researched by NORMIN staff. Please keep this in mind when interpreting your search results.

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What is a Reference?

A reference is a publicly available source of information on the geology of, or mineral exploration in, any part of the NWT or Nunavut. Most of the references in the database are 'assessment reports' written by exploration companies, but there are others, such as government maps, scientific journals, company annual reports, and press releases. The existence of showings is revealed to data entry staff by research of references.

Click here to see detailed information on the types of references in NORMIN.

Showings for Non-Geologists

The following information may assist in interpretation of showings data by non-geologists:
  • A mineral deposit may exist in an area.
  • Indications of the possible existence of a mineral deposit may or may not have been discovered and reported in publically available documents. Such indications are commonly called "showings" if they derive from assays of bedrock which yielded amounts of a mineral commodity above background amounts. Other indications include such things as geophysical anomalies; these are not called showings. (Some of these are recorded in NORMIN and are differentiated from true showings by their assigned Rank.)
  • Entry of mineral showings into the NORMIN database is ongoing, both from a backlog of released or published references and from references being released or published monthly. Therefore, reported showings may or may not have been researched and incorporated into the NORMIN database. (For completeness of the backlog research, see the coverage map on the website or contact us directly.)
  • Showings may or may not point to the existence of a mineral deposit. Whether a deposit exists can be revealed by further work on the showing. (For the amount of work done on a showing recorded in the NORMIN database, refer to its Development Stage.)
  • If a mineral deposit exists, it may or may not be economically feasible to extract it. The feasibility of extraction depends not only on the quality of the deposit, but also on many factors which change over time, for example world commodity prices, mining technology, transportation infrstructure, etc.
  • For all available information on recorded mineral showings, users are referred to AANDC NWT Geology Division's Archives and Library, and AANDC Nunavut's Mineral Resources Section Archvies, which house the reference material from which the data in NORMIN was taken.

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Downloads and Extracts

Downloading and Extracting Data from NT GoMap

NORMIN references and NORMIN showings data can be acquired by downloading them from NT GoMap. More recent or specialized sets of data can be acquired by emailing All downloads are available as Shapefiles and ASCII reports. The ASCII reports can be viewed or edited in any text editor, and because they are structured can be imported easily into spreadsheets and database tables. If you alter one of these files in a word processing program (such as Word or Wordperfect), be sure to choose the 'Save as Text' option or equivalent, with no formatting.

Within each references or showings download, the meaning of each attribute (each column or field of data) is given in the Attribute Definitions sections.

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Importing a NORMIN Data File

The following are instructions for opening a NORMIN data file formatted as txt in some spreadsheet and database programs commonly used on Windows computers.


Excel: To open a txt file choose Data Get External Data Import Text File from within Excel.

In the text import wizard:

step 1: Original data type Choose delimted
click "Next"
step 2: Set the delimeter Choose tab;
Set the text qualifier Choose none
click "Next"
step 3: Select the data Format Choose "text" for NTSx and all comments
click "Next"

Some cells might appear filled with pound symbols. If you click on that cell, the content is displayed in the formula bar. By double clicking the cell, the content is displayed within the cell.

Quattro Pro v10:

step 1: After opening Quatro Pro, Choose File Open
Select "ASCII Text (*.txt)" for file type
Select the proper *.txt document
click "Open"
step 2: Choose "Delimited Auto" from the Parse Settings dropdown menu
click "Settings" to view the Parse Settings dialog
step 3: In Parse Settings, enure that "Delimited" is selected as Data type
To separate text, check off "tab" for end of cell and "return" for end of row
click "OK"
step 4: click "OK" in the Open File Dialog

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Access: Open Access, and either open an existing database or create a new one. Select the proper .txt file.

In the Link Text Wizard,

step 1: choose Delimited as the format
click "Next"
step 2: choose Tab as the delimiter that separates your fields
select the "First row contains field names" check box
choose "none" for Text Qualifier
click "Next"
step 3: make sure that NTS and comment fields are of type text
click "Next"
step 4: Choose a name for the linked table
click "Finish" and the table will be created

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Attribute Definitions

Showings Attributes

Each showing in the NORMIN database has a unique number that  is based on the  NTS (National Topographic System) sheet and quadrant on which it is located,  followed by a numeric identifier i.e. 085JSE0012 is on NTS map sheet 085J  in the SE quadrant, and has an identifier of 0012.

Locations of showings are always given as latitude and longitude in decimal degrees. Coordinates based on the WGS1984 geodetic datum are used where possible.   The location of a Showing is sometimes obvious, but where multiple zones make up a Showing, the location of the "best" zone is used as the Showing location. This is sometimes a subjective decision. Location accuracies are stored in the main database and are included in the 'Download Table' option on the NORMIN website.

This is the name by which the showing is most commonly known. Showings which were not named during exploration are given a name by NORMIN staff, based on a sample number or nearby formally or informally named topographic feature. For showings that have more than one name (eg. it was given different names over the years) usually  the most recent name is used;  the older names are listed as aliases in the main database but not in this extract.

NTS1 is the National Topographic System 1:50,000 series map sheet in which the showing lies. Showings at the boundary between sheets may have up to 4 NTS entries.

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The Development Stage refers to the current degree of development of a Showing, ranging from initial discovery to a mine. These stages are:

Reconnaissance:  preliminary examination of an area has revealed a site of interest.

Local Examination: sampling and ground investigations such as grid-based surveys have been carried out to further knowledge of the site. These may include trenching but not drilling.

Drilled: the showing has been tested by at least one drill hole, not including Winkie/packsack holes or holes less than 3 m deep. Generally surface work has been done as well.

Advanced Exploration: a deposit which is well understood in three dimensions. Generally this means enough work has been done on which to base resource calculations.

Producer: a deposit which is currently being mined and producing a commodity.

Minor Producer: a deposit which is currently being mined and producing a commodity, at rates of mining less than about 10,000 tonnes of ore per day.

Past Producer Abandoned, Past Producer Care and Maintnc, Past Producer Renewed Exploration: a deposit which at one or more times was producing a commodity but is no longer. A Past Producer may be an abandoned mine, it may be on care and maintenance, or there may be renewed exploration for the same or different commodities in the vicinity. If a deposit cycles in and out of production over the years, its Development Stage in the database will be updated as its status changes.

Minor Past Producer Abandoned, Minor Past Producer Care and Maintnc, Minor Past Producer Renewed Exploration: a past producer which produced < 100,000 tonnes of ore.

If the "zones" of a mine (Producer) are spatially distinct from each other at a scale of 1:50,000, they may be entered separately, especially if production statistics for them are separate.

A value of  'xTo Be Assigned' in this field indicates that data entry is incomplete.

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The status of the showings as a whole (versus the status of individual commodities - see ARANK, etc.). Almost all showings  in the database will have the  rank of Showing. This means they are truly showings by NORMIN standards, in that a commodity has been detected in amounts equal to or above our minimum cut-off, in whatever material would constitute the ore if the deposit were minable (usually this means bedrock).

Occasionally you will see a showing which was not defined by a bedrock sample, but by a sample (or more than one sample) identified as float, frost heave, or felsenmeer, or sometimes identified as 'boulder or frost heave' by the source reference. These get a Rank of 'Showing, Frostheave/Boulder'.

Zones or bodies of massive sulphides, gossans, kimberlitic intrusions, and various other lithologies are entered in the database if deemed appropriate, and  given a Rank of Prospective Lithology. Note this is only for occurrences which have NOT yielded an anomalous commodity.

Sometimes a soil or other non-rock geochemical anomaly is entered, and given a Rank of Anomaly.

Blank values or 'To Be Determined' here indicate that data entry is incomplete.

Minimum Grade Requirements (Cutoffs)

For a Showing to be included in NORMIN, at least one commodity must have been detected in an amount above an assigned minimum, either in bedrock or (in the case of placers, for example) in the material which would constitute the ore if the deposit were minable. Click here to see the minimums.

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Commodities_All: A string of abbreviated commodity names listed in order of economic importance. Abbreviations for elements are their elemental symbols; abbreviations for other commodities are the first four letters of their name (eg. Diam for diamond). For example, a string of  U-Th-Nb means that uranium, thorium and niobium all are commodities of the showing in question, and that uranium is (qualitatively) the most economically important (usually this means the most abundant).

Characteristics of the showing which might aid in classifying it. These characteristics may pertain to the host rock, style of mineralization, presumed mineralization process, or structural controls, among others. Some showings have only one value entered, some have more than one. Their order does not imply relative importance.

For a shear-hosted gold deposit,the entry might be ‘Structure: Shear'; for a pegmatite lithium deposit, ‘Rock: Pegmatite’; and for a sulphidic zone along a sheared contact between mafic and felsic volcanics, ‘Structure: Shear’, ‘Structure: Contact’, and ‘Ore: Sulphide’ would be used. Other choices include 'Model: Mississppi Valley' and 'Model: Olympic Dam'.

'Insufficient Data' is used if there was not enough information to make a proper choice. Blank values here indicate that data entry is incomplete.

The rock types which host the showing, or host the host, or are otherwise closely associated with the showing spatially or genetically. Up to five different rock types may be listed. The order of these does not reflect their relative importance.

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The lithology relationship field  shows the connection between rock type and mineralization, that is, whether or not the rock type is mineralized.

These fields give the full names of up to five commodities (A to E). If the showing has more than 5, only the 5 of highest economic importance (see A_RANK etc below) are listed.  Metallic commodities and gems are named specifically, for example 'Zinc’, ‘Diamond’, ‘Indicolite’. Non-metallic,  non-gem commodities are often named according to their purpose rather than their composition, for example ‘Aggregate’, ‘Carving Stone’, ‘Flux’; but not in  all cases, for example ‘Barium, Barium Minerals’, ‘Phosphate’, ‘Potash’.

The economic status of commodities A to E. The possible values are:

Anomalous anomalous or "anomalous, reserve status unknown"
Has Reserves has reserves, never produced
Had Reserves (Status Unk) has/had reserves, current production/reserve status unknown
Produced, Has Reserves was produced, has reserves
In Production in production
Produced (Resrv Unk) was produced, current reserve status unknown
Produced, Exhausted was produced, exhausted
Observed observed ore mineral, not assayed

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This field gives the rank in economic importance of  each commodity, with 1 being the highest. Rank is a qualitative indication of relative economic importance. These fields may be unnecessary for some users since ACOMMODITY is always of Rank 1, B of Rank 2, etc.

The major group for each commodity; for example: Metal, Gem, Industrial...

The subgroup to which each commodity belongs; eg. if the group type is metal, the subgroup may be base (as in base metal).

Same as DEV_STAGE, except all Past Producer and Minor Past Poducer variants have been re-labelled simply 'Past Producer' or 'Minor Past Producer'. This is more useful for symbolizing on a map.

A concatenation (joining) of the ACOM_GROUP and ACOM_SUBGR fields, again for convenience in symbolizing on a map. This field will contain 'Metals Precious/Noble' when ACOM_GROUP contains 'Metals' and ACOM_SUBGR contains 'Precious/Noble', and will allow users to apply symbols based on the nature of a showing's main commodity.

The Internet address or URL at which a detailed report for the showing in question will be dynamically generated. The detailed report contains the above fields, plus others, including detailed descriptions.

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References Attributes

Depending on which type of extract you received or downloaded, some or all of the following fields of data may be included, under one of the given names:

A unique identifier for each reference.

Each reference in the database is assigned a Type. Examples of Types: Assessment Report, GSC Paper, AANDC EGS Open File, M.Sc. Thesis, Personal Communication. The federal department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) requires mineral exploration companies to submit reports detailing the work they did on mineral claims and the results of that work, in order for the companies to retain their interest in the claimed ground. These reports are known throughout the industry as 'assessment reports', and are labelled as such in the Archives where they are stored by AANDC NWT Geology Division. In this file they are generally referred to as 'exploration assessment reports' in order to avoid any confusion with resource assessments or appraisals. They are also referred to as 'representation work reports' in the Canada Mining Regulations. The term 'Assessment Report' is used in the NORMIN database. Exploration assessment reports remain confidential for a period of years, after which they are open to the public. They are the primary source of mineral occurrence data in NORMIN.

A list of reference types is available on the website. It can be linked to from the Help page, Reference Query Options, Reference Type.

The Reference Number is an alphanumeric identifier which is unique for each reference of a given Type. The format of this Number is based on the reference Type. For assessment reports, the Number is the government assigned file number. Company annual reports are assigned a Number which starts with the year and is followed by the first 8 letters of the company's name. The format used for each Type of reference may be viewed on the NORMIN website at

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The date the reference was published or filed.

The author(s) of the report, paper, journal or other reference.

The title of the report or file. Some assessment reports and other unpublished references do not have actual titles; titles for these may be assigned to reflect their contents.

The legal owner of a mineral lease, claim, or permit or group of those (i.e. of a mineral property), during the time in which the work described in a reference was done.

The operator of the property during the time in which the work described in a reference was done; that is, the company or person who funded the work. This may be the owner, or a different company or person such as a joint venture partner.

The date the work described in the reference commenced.

The date the work described in the reference was finished.

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Assessed value of the work described in the reference (as per the Canada Mining Regulations).

The northernmost latitude of the area(s) in which the work described in the reference was done. Together, LATN, LATS, LONGE, and LONGW define a rectangle which encompassess the areas in which work was done. The entire area within the rectangle was not necessarily worked; a reference may cover several smaller areas within this larger one.

The southernmost latitude of the area(s) in which the work described in the reference was done. Together, LATN, LATS, LONGE, and LONGW define a rectangle which encompassess the areas in which work was done. The entire area within the rectangle was not necessarily worked; a reference may cover several smaller areas within this larger one.

The approximate central latitude of the area covered by the report.

The easternmost longitude of the area(s) in which the work described in the reference was done. Together, LATN, LATS, LONGE, and LONGW define a rectangle which encompassess the areas in which work was done. The entire area within the rectangle was not necessarily worked; a reference may cover several smaller areas within this larger one.

The westernmost longitude of the area(s) in which the work described in the reference was done. Together, LATN, LATS, LONGE, and LONGW define a rectangle which encompassess the areas in which work was done. The entire area within the rectangle was not necessarily worked; a reference may cover several smaller areas within this larger one.

The approximate central longitude of the area covered by the report.

The page, pages, volume or appendix of the reference; this field is used if only part of the reference is relevant to geology or exploration of either Territory.

The URL of a detailed report on the reference (generated by the NORMIN Web Query).

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Names of lakes, rivers, prominent topographic features, administrative districts, or regions which identify the geographic area covered by the reference.

A list of the types of exploration or research described in the reference.

The target(s) of exploration, if any.

The names and numbers of mineral claims, leases and permits, for an assessment report.

The release date of an assessment report.

A description of illustrations besides maps.

A brief synopsis of the contents of the reference, divided into four parts of 500 characters each.

Parts 2, 3 and 4.

A list of the 1:50,000 scale National Topographic System map sheet number for the area covered by the work desribed in the reference. If the list consumes more than 500 characters, it is continued in up to four additional fields.

Continuations of the NTS1 list.

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