Mining symposium highlights modernization in exploration – by Len Gillis (Timmins Daily Press – April 18, 2017)

TIMMINS – After more than 120 years of prospectors staking claims in Ontario, the old and honoured practice of putting a claim post into the ground is soon to be over. A new system of staking claims online by clicking on a computer map through the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines (MNDM) is scheduled to come on stream next winter.

One can only imagine what Jack Wilson, Benny Hollinger and Sandy McIntyre would say. You could even add the names of John Larche and Don McKinnon to that list of legendary claim stakers and mine finders who lived in glory days of gold prospecting in Timmins. They might laugh at how easy it all seems. They might also lament the loss of tradition.

Back in the day, claim stakers were required to head out on the land where their prospect was located. They would place a four-inch wide post in the ground, tag the post and then set off blazing a trail 400 metres to the south for post No. 2, 400 metres west for post No. 3, 400 metres north for post No.4 and then cut the final trail 400 metres east back to post No. 1. The first man to rush back to the mining recorder’s office would win the claim.

Once a mining claim was registered, it gave the claim holder the right to do exploration work such as trenching or drilling on that property in the search for a mine. If the claim showed promise, it could be sold for thousands or tens of thousands of dollars.

An old prospector’s guidebook published at Queen’s Park warned that claim staking “was not a walk in the park” and advised stakers to be physically fit and properly prepared.

The new system which has been talked about for nearly 10 years is finally going to come on stream next winter in Ontario.

Roy Denomme, the project lead for Mining Act Modernization, outlined the key details of the plan Tuesday while speaking to the 2017 Northeastern Ontario Mines and Minerals Symposium being held this week at the McIntyre Community Building.

“We are now moving from concepts and trying to figure out how Ontario is going to move to this new system, to starting to implement,” said Denomme, who added that mining claims are to become known as cells.

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