Red Lake renaissance: After a decade of decay, historic Ontario gold district bouncing back – by Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – February 16, 2021)

When Australia’s Evolution Mining Ltd. took over the Red Lake gold mine in Northwestern Ontario in early 2020, it found busted equipment, manually operated mine shafts and demoralized employees. Formerly owned by Vancouver-based Goldcorp Inc., the operation was in a shambles.

“This mine was lost within the Goldcorp portfolio,” Evolution chief executive officer Jake Klein said. “It was a tough place to work. It never met its budget or forecast. It never got allocated capital. Exploration development was starved. It was kind of a spiral of negativity.”

Now the Melbourne-based company is trying to turn the mine around, investing hundreds of millions to mechanize, improve and tweak the operation – and protect hundreds of jobs in the process.

The revival is welcome news for an Ontario community that had fallen on hard times. Once one of the world’s most prolific mining districts, Red Lake had petered out over the past decade and fallen victim to more than its fair share of mining catastrophes.

But amid a dearth of new gold discoveries worldwide, investor wariness of risky mining jurisdictions such as West Africa – not to mention a surge in the price of gold – mining entrepreneurs are doubling down on some of the most promising prospects in Canada.

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