A Brief Summary of the Mining Sector’s Contributions to Ontario – by R. S. Middleton, P.Eng.

R. S. Middleton is a well-known and respected geophysicist who has been involved with many mining projects around the world and in Canada over the past 40 years.

 The wealth extracted from the north has benefited southern Ontario and particularly Toronto since the 1800’s.  The discovery of silver at Cobalt in 1903 was a major historical event.  The enormous wealth produced at Cobalt was a major boost to  the early Toronto Stock Exchange.  The prospectors spread northward and found the Hollinger Gold Mine in 1909 and hence the town (now the  City of Timmins). 

The Town of Timmins needed a Newspaper and Radio station.  This was Roy Thomson’s first business and the beginning of the Thomson newspaper chain and empire.  Where is the monument to this success and financial wealth?  In Toronto on King Street – Roy Thomson Hall!  Where is the original head office where Roy’s son David worked as a cub reporter?  It was in downtown Timmins on the corner of Cedar and Second Street, which is now an empty space since the building was torn down.

The dividends paid by the Hollinger Mine financed the Noranda Smelter for Noranda Mines (based in Toronto.)  Hollinger money started the Iron Ore Company of Canada in Quebec and Labrador, the source for iron ore to make steel in Hamilton, Ontario and the USA.  Who was the lawyer and president for IOCC, Brian Mulroney!

Next to the Hollinger Mine was the McIntyre Mine which produced the funds to start Falconbridge Nickel in 1934 whose office was in Toronto.  The Dome mine, six miles to the east, started Dome Petroleum and the Canadian Oil Industry.  Argus Corporation (from Toronto) took over the Hollinger Gold Mine and remaining treasury and Conrad Black (from Toronto) used these funds to buy up many newspapers.  Hollinger Inc. held the Financial Post (now National Post), Daily Telegraph (London, England) Jerusalem Post, Vancouver Sun, Chicago Papers etc. and the rest of this story is still being played out.

In the 1960’s, the largest copper-zinc mine in the world is found near Timmins by investment from New York (Texas Gulf Sulphur) and the Kidd Creek mine which is still in production today and will soon become the deepest mine in Canada. There was also a smelter attached to this complex.  The shortage of copper reserves in Ontario and Quebec had become a problem for the smelter resulting in its subsequent closure.

The only way to feed the smelter is to find more copper which takes unrestricted exploration in areas where potential exists.  Discovery encourages exploration, exploration finds reserves and mines, and mines create wealth for the benefit of the people of Ontario.