Mining legend built legacy by giving back [John Larche dies] – by Kyle Gennings (Timmins Daily Press – October 8, 2012)

The Daily Press is the city of Timmins broadsheet newspaper.

Timmins lost one of the golden pillars of its community this Thanksgiving Day. John Larche died of natural causes, surrounded by his family at Timmins and District Hospital on Monday morning. He was 84.

It was the final page in a life highlighted by a long list of accomplishments which changed the face of the prospecting and mining industry the world round; it was the final page in a life that saw both hardship and success, one that was built on giving back, a life that cemented him in the memory of the City with the Heart of Gold

Larche was one of the true legends of the Porcupine Camp, as one of Canada’s most successful prospectors and in term of generosity in the community. He became involved in exploration in 1955, as an independent prospector and contractor.

He remained active in the industry until shortly before his death. Beginning in the late 1960s, he was elected president of the Porcupine branch of the Prospectors and Developers Association for 17 consecutive terms.

“He was a long-time friend,” said Dean Rogers, the association’s current president. “John was one of the stalwarts of the Porcupine Camp’s second generation, a true legend”

Larche had always shared his expertise to the benefit of the mining industry.

For two years, Larche was a member of the advisory committee for the revision of the Ontario Mining Act.

He remained involved on subsequent advisory committees.

He was determined to change the act so that it would reflect what is happening in present-day exploration.

The resulting changes made it easier and less costly to stake large group claims.

By the early 1980s, Larche gained international fame in the mining industry alongside fellow prospector and long-time business partner Don McKinnon — who died just two months ago.

The two of them made the gold discovery that led to the operation of the trio of Hemlo mines near Marathon, Ont.

Hemlo went on to become one of the most prolific mines in Canada.

“John Larche was a Canadian success story,” said former Timmins mayor Victor M. Power. “His achievements speak for themselves. He is one of the outstanding prospectors in Canadian history, but in addition to all of this, he was a philanthropist who contributed immensely to the Timmins and District Hospital and always had the best interests of this community at heart.”

This monumentous discovery of Hemlo did not go unnoticed. In 1983 Larche received the Prospector of the Year Award and was also given the same honour by the Northern Miner in 1987.

Larche served as vice-president and then preside of the Prospectors Association of Canada from 1984-1988. Through this platform, he became the country’s top spokesman in exploration.

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