Rockhounding 101

Linda Bast

Just the Basics, by way of introduction to the exciting hobby of Mineral Collecting -- lovingly known as "Rockhounding" or recently "Recreational Geology". 

How to get started?
- learn a bit about geology
- get out there and do it
- join a club
- attend shows

Code of Ethics
Below is the Code of Ethics adopted by CCFMS to which all its members are expected to abide by:

1. I will respect both private and public property and will do no collecting on privately owned land without the owner's permission.
2. I will keep informed on all laws, regulations or rules governing collecting on public lands and will observe them.
3. I will, to the best of my ability, ascertain the boundary lines of property on which I plan to collect.
4. I will use no firearms or blasting material in collecting areas.
5. I will cause no willful damage to property of any kind -fences, signs, buildings etc.
6. I will leave all gates as found.
7. I will build fires in designated or safe places only, and will be certain they are completely extinguished before leaving the area.
8. I will discard no burning material -matches, cigarettes, etc.
9. I will fill all excavation holes which may be dangerous to livestock. I will not contaminate wells, creeks or other water supply.
10. I will cause no willful damage to collecting material, and will take home only what I can reasonably use.
11. I will leave all collecting areas devoid of litter, regardless of how found.
12. I will co-operate with field trip leaders, and those designated in authority in all collecting areas.
13. I will report to my Club or Federation Officers, or other proper authorities, any deposit of material on public lands which should be protected for the enjoyment of future generations for public educational and scientific purposes.
14. I will appreciate and protect our heritage of natural resources.
15. I will observe the "Golden Rule" and will use "Good Outdoor Manners" and will at all times conduct myself in a manner which will add to the stature and "Public Image" of rockhounds everywhere.  

Mineral Collecting & Ontario Law
Policy: L.P. 701-1
Date Issued: March 25, 2011


As stewards of minerals in the province, the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines recognizes hobby mineral collecting for its recreational and educational benefits to the public as a whole. The


Mineral collecting in Ontario  is  privilege offered by the Province and is not a right. Hobby mineral collectors have no legal right to collect or extract minerals on Crown land or on land where title, an interest or right is held by a person or company, who is not the mineral collector.

Therefore, the Ministry allows mineral collecting under conditions specified in this policy.

Types of Mineral Collecting

There are two types of mineral collecting recognized by the Crown: hobby mineral collecting, and large scale/commercial mineral collecting. The two types of mineral collecting are distinguished on the basis of a threshold limit, which is explained in the definition section of

Legal Requirement

The Mining Act makes it clear that minerals cannot be extracted or removed without a lease of the mining rights, and compliance with the provisions of Part VII of the Act. Extraction can also be authorized in some cases by the Aggregate Resources Act. However, there is no specific authorization to remove minerals as part of a hobby collection.

Hobby Collecting

Hobby mineral collecting is allowed to the threshold limit, where both surface and mining rights are owned by the Crown and open to mineral collecting.

The requirements, of the Mining Act and the Aggregate Resources Act, will generally not be enforced against hobby mineral collecting.

Threshold Limit

What one person can excavate with hand tools only and can carry unassisted, from a specific site or location. The limit is allowed once per year per site.

Hobby Mineral Collecting

- collection for personal pleasure, recreation, or interest, &
- the amount collected is below the threshold limit, &
- the samples are collected for the collector's personal collection, &

The collector has no intention to sell the minerals collected. Swapping minerals collected as part of hobby collecting is acceptable. This recognizes that swapping is part of a personal collection.


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