|Also Known As|
|Assay laboratory (lab) techs||Chemical lab techs|
|Fire assayers||Gold assayers|
|Laboratory techs||Mine analysts|
|Mineral analysts||Mineralogy assayers|
|Precious metal assayers|
Assayers test and analyze ores and minerals to determine the composition and value of the samples. Some assayers analyze samples to find specific types of ores or precious metals, such as gold, silver, or platinum. Some assayers work with process materials, analyzing substances such as metals, non-metallic materials, concentrates, and waste and air samples. How good an assayer’s work is can have a large impact on how much money their employer earns.
Assayers are considered geological and mineral techs. Geology includes the study of the origin and evolution of our planet, the structure of the earth’s crust, the history of life, human adaptation to natural disasters, and the chemical and physical properties of minerals, rocks, and fluids.
A relatively new term related to geology is “geoscience.” Geoscience refers to the traditional areas of geology, geophysics, geochemistry, and hydrology. The term geoscience has expanded to include many new areas in the earth sciences, such as environmental geology and geostatistics. For more information about careers in this area, check out Geoscientists Canada and EarthSciencesCanada.
Assayers typically work in laboratories but may also do fieldwork.The main employers of assayers are mining companies and commercial laboratories. Assayers are also employed by:
Assayers working in labs must follow strict safety regulations because of hazardous materials they sometimes use. Depending on where they work, they could be exposed to heat, dust, noise, and fumes. In the field, assayers often need to remain standing or crouching for long periods of time. They must also carry, put together, and use equipment; these activities involve light duty lifting and a lot of movement.
Employers seek assayers with the minimum of a college diploma with relevant courses such as chemistry, geology, and assaying.
To work as an assayer in British Columbia you must be certified through British Columbia’s Assayers Certification Program. British Columbia is the only mining jurisdiction in Canada where assayers must be certified.
Employers may test language ability because it is important for workers to understand instructions. Employees must be able to share information to complete tasks properly and work safely. Assayers need to have a good grasp of industry terminology and be able to interact in English with their employer, co-workers, and clients.
Below are examples of tasks where assayers use communication skills on the job:
To read examples of how other Essential Skills are used by assayers and other types of geological techs go to Explore Careers by Essential Skills on the Working in Canada website.
The ability to speak and write in multiple languages can be an advantage in Canada’s multicultural environment.
Wages are affected by the workers’ level of education, job responsibilities and requirements, work conditions, employer, location, and experience. Wages also depend on whether it is a union or non-union environment. The figures provided below reflect a national average for low, median (mid-point), and high hourly wages (before taxes).
National salary data is not available specifically for assayers, but assayers belong to the occupational group of geological and mineral techs. The wage data presented below are for that group.
|$14 per hour||$21 per hour||$38 per hour|
|$29,120 per year||$43,680 per year||$79,040 per year|
For wage information in specific parts of Canada, go to Explore Careers by Wages on the Working in Canada website.
Advancement opportunities for assayers are very good. Most start in an entry-level position, such as a laboratory tech, but with work experience, a good record of performance, on-the-job training, and formal education, they can move into a variety of jobs in mining, metallurgical services, sales, and environmental services. Sample jobs that assayers can progress into include:
A senior assayer working in a remote location can earn $75,000 to $85,000/year. A chief assayer can earn $90,000/year, plus a performance bonus.
Links to general career information and job posting resources are provided on the Introductory Page.
MiHR (The Mining Industry Human Resource Council). MiHR provides career information at Explore for More. There is a career profile about an assay lab technician.
WorkBC’s Career Profile for Geological and Mineral Technologists and Technicians (NOC 2211) http://www.workbc.ca/Job-Seekers/Career-Profiles/2212
British Columbia’s Assayers Certification Program
British Columbia Institute of Technology’s Assayer Training Program
Certified Assayers Foundation of British Columbia
HRSDC’s Essential Skills Profile for Geological and Mineral Technologists and Technicians