Archive | Books, Art, Music and Photography About Mining and Northern Topics

[Kirkland Lake History-Harry Oakes] ERNIE’S GOLD: A Prospector’s Tale – by Brian (Chip) Martin


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For an autographed copy of Ernie’s Gold, please contact the author at: [email protected] .

Great Christmas Gift: $20.00 plus shipping!

In the early 1900s, young Ernie Martin immigrated from Staffordshire, England, to Canada to seek his fortune. He finally ended up in Kirkland Lake, where gold was to be found if you were willing to work at it. Ernie was. And so was Harry Oakes. The two of them became prospecting partners. Ernie and Harry worked hard and non-stop to find a vein of gold so they could start a mine.

When it finally happened, the mine grew into a huge money-maker for the two of them. Ernie’s first wife, Mary, also was a prospector, and in fact ended up financially far better off than Ernie. Why was that? How is it that multi-millionaire Ernie Martin arrived at the end of his life virtually a pauper? This is a book full of surprises and answers — and a few questions.

Excerpt from Ernie’s Gold: A Prospector’s Tale:

By all accounts, Harry Oakes had a comfortable upbringing, not the sort of background that would likely compel him to dream of riches and spend his life pursuing them. Unlike Ernie Martin and so many other men who stepped off the T&NO train at Swastika, Oakes didn’t see finding gold as a means of escaping modest circumstances. Continue Reading →

[Kirkland Lake History] ERNIE’S GOLD: A Prospector’s Tale – by Brian (Chip) Martin

        

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For an autographed copy of Ernie’s Gold, please contact the author at: [email protected].

Great Christmas Gift: $20.00 plus shipping!

In the early 1900s, young Ernie Martin immigrated from Staffordshire, England, to Canada to seek his fortune. He finally ended up in Kirkland Lake, where gold was to be found if you were willing to work at it. Ernie was. And so was Harry Oakes. The two of them became prospecting partners. Ernie and Harry worked hard and non-stop to find a vein of gold so they could start a mine.

When it finally happened, the mine grew into a huge money-maker for the two of them. Ernie’s first wife, Mary, also was a prospector, and in fact ended up financially far better off than Ernie. Why was that? How is it that multi-millionaire Ernie Martin arrived at the end of his life virtually a pauper? This is a book full of surprises and answers — and a few questions.

Excerpt from Ernie’s Gold: A Prospector’s Tale:

By the time Mabel (Fetterley) had arrived in the Swastika area, Mary Violette had already been in mining country for several years. Mary came from even farther away, the small farm community of Goshen, Indiana. She would have a significant impact on the life of Ernie Martin.

Mary was born in 1874 on a farm at New Paris, just south of Goshen, the second of five children of Benjamin and Caroline Violette. Hers was a prominent family in the area, some of whom opted to drop the final “e” in their name. Mary’s father was the youngest of ten children born to John Wesley and Chloe Violette, who were among the area’s first settlers. One of Benjamin’s older brothers, John H., was not content to stay in farming and in the spring of 1850 joined the California Gold Rush. He was twenty. Continue Reading →

Michael Barnes Keeps Northern Ontario’s Mining Heritage Alive – by Adelle Larmour

Established in 1980, Northern Ontario Business  provides Canadians and international investors with relevant, current and insightful editorial content and business news information about Ontario’s vibrant and resource-rich North. This article is from the November, 2010 issue.

Chronicled the North’s Facinating History and Folklore

Humility and hard work has kept one Ontario author’s pen to the parchment. 

Michael Barnes, a prolific Haliburton-based writer and author of several Canadian bestsellers, describes himself as a middle-rank writer that people don’t remember. Yet he has produced more than 50 books, the majority of them about the history of Northern Ontario.

“I’m one of those people that fill up bookshelves in libraries,” he said.

Even though people may not remember his name, they recognize him as the fellow who writes mining books. “That doesn’t bother me. I would rather have the guy up the hydro pole shout down and say: ‘I just read your latest book.’… I want them in the hands of the average person.”

His written contribution to preserving the history of Ontario’s North was recognized by the Canadian government when he was named a Member of the Order of Canada in 1994. Continue Reading →

Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery (6 of 6) – Excerpt from Fortunes Found Canadian Mining Success – by Michael Barnes

Michael Barnes is the author of more than fifty books about characters, communities, mining, and police work. He is a Member of the Order of Canada and makes his home in Haliburton, Ontario, Canada. While living in Northern Ontario most of his life, he has come to know and admire those who make their living in the mining industry.

To order a copy of “Fortunes Found – Canadian Mining Success” go to: General Store Publishing House

For an extensive list of articles on this mineral discovery, please go to: Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery

Ontario ’s Ring of Fire Discovery

Sheldon Inwentash is a major investor in the Ring of Fire area. He adds a cautionary note: “Until you have a number of these deposits that can carry the burden of infrastructure, it’s way too early to talk about mining.” No one argues the truth of this observation, but about twenty companies are staking big money that the size of the deposits will prove much larger in time with more drilling. Two companies that were in the play from the very beginning and pooled their efforts for a while are Spider Resources and KWG Resources; Freewest Resources has also been involved in a joint venture.

Spider president Neil Novak has been working in the James Bay Lowlands for a long time and stated once that, “Somebody told me my name is attached to about fifteen different kimberlites and a whole bunch of massive sulphide deposits.” Continue Reading →

Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery (5 of 6) – Excerpt from Fortunes Found Canadian Mining Success – by Michael Barnes

Michael Barnes is the author of more than fifty books about characters, communities, mining, and police work. He is a Member of the Order of Canada and makes his home in Haliburton, Ontario, Canada. While living in Northern Ontario most of his life, he has come to know and admire those who make their living in the mining industry.

To order a copy of “Fortunes Found – Canadian Mining Success” go to: General Store Publishing House

For an extensive list of articles on this mineral discovery, please go to: Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery

Ontario ‘s Ring of Fire Discovery

Robert studies a week’s menus. Suppers have a minimum of two proteins, two starches, two vegetables, and one dessert, as well as the baked dessert tray. Other lunch and dinner options have three salads and vegetable, cheese, and pickle trays. Some menu items this week include rosemary chicken schnitzel, halibut fillet, roast beef, and barbequed T-bone steaks. A highlight dessert is apple, raspberry, and pear cobbler. Well-fed workers do a good job, and there are no complaints about meals here.

Before dinner, Diane Pohl puts on a fire drill conducted by the Matrix Aviation crew. Fire is a danger in such isolated locations. A small fire is set in a clearing in a forty-five-gallon oil drum. There is a 1,000-foot fire hose ready laid and the pump is on a small pond. Within a couple of minutes it is jetting water, and other workers come running in with portable hand pumps. One is David Carrier, who comes from Marten Falls First Nation. He is a burly man able to do a lot of physical jobs around the camp and is pleased to be able to save money in the camp environment.

Continue Reading →

Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery (4 of 6) – Excerpt from Fortunes Found Canadian Mining Success – by Michael Barnes

Michael Barnes is the author of more than fifty books about characters, communities, mining, and police work. He is a Member of the Order of Canada and makes his home in Haliburton, Ontario, Canada. While living in Northern Ontario most of his life, he has come to know and admire those who make their living in the mining industry.

To order a copy of “Fortunes Found – Canadian Mining Success” go to: General Store Publishing House

For an extensive list of articles on this mineral discovery, please go to: Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery

Ontario’s Ring of Fire Discovery

Bruce gives us a tour and points to other residents. There are twenty drillers, some from Cyr Drilling from Western Canada, but the majority from Orbit Garant, a company from that seemingly inexhaustible supplier of the trade, Val–d’Or, Quebec. There are also three men who operate Devico directional drilling equipment, and their skills can send diamond drill rods slanting off in any desired direction. Caterer 1984 provides food services, and Matrix Aviation Solutions Inc. works to deliver services maintaining camp operation. One 1984 employee is Diane Pohl, who with her occupational first-aid certificate also is Health and Safety Officer, and in her spare time oversees housekeeping services. Her cautionary safety signs are found everywhere, as well as the Noront policy warning that states the camp is alcohol-free and illicit drug-free and advises all on the site that those who ignore this dictum face instant termination.

The camp consists of a combination of thirty-eight tents and green painted plywood cabins. One row of tents is called Sleep Alley, and signs warn passersby that drillers who work in twelve-hour shifts are sleeping. The tents are sixteen by ten feet and, like all the buildings, are well insulated. Continue Reading →

Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery (3 of 6) – Excerpt from Fortunes Found Canadian Mining Success – by Michael Barnes

Michael Barnes is the author of more than fifty books about characters, communities, mining, and police work. He is a Member of the Order of Canada and makes his home in Haliburton, Ontario, Canada. While living in Northern Ontario most of his life, he has come to know and admire those who make their living in the mining industry.

To order a copy of “Fortunes Found – Canadian Mining Success” go to: General Store Publishing House

For an extensive list of articles on this mineral discovery, please go to: Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery

Ontario’s Ring of Fire Discovery

The hour-long flight offers an overview of small trees, narrow, winding rivers, and small lakes. The aircraft skims along at 283 knots and bumps down on schedule on the dirt runway at Fort Hope, whose traditional name is “Eabmetoong.” This settlement is on a fairly large lake, and the name means “the reversing of the water place.” The pilots stow baggage that accompanies the newcomers. One young mother has her baby in a soft, moosehide-covered tikanagan, the cradle of the Cree. The flight to Landsdowne House or Neskantaga is only about ten minutes. The population is similar to that of Fort Hope, less than 300 persons for this settlement on Attawapiskat Lake. The plane takes off and has another short hop of fifteen minutes before arriving at Webequie, the third dirt runway of the trip.

Although the resident population is only 253 persons, Webequie is an important community, as it is a jumping-off point for northern exploration camps. The band council has taken a 20 percent share in a drilling company, and local entrepreneurs have formed a logistics company to provide services to camp operators. This village is 540 kilometres by air from Thunder Bay. Continue Reading →

Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery (2 of 6) – Excerpt from Fortunes Found Canadian Mining Success – by Michael Barnes

Michael Barnes is the author of more than fifty books about characters, communities, mining, and police work. He is a Member of the Order of Canada and makes his home in Haliburton, Ontario, Canada. While living in Northern Ontario most of his life, he has come to know and admire those who make their living in the mining industry.

To order a copy of “Fortunes Found – Canadian Mining Success” go to: General Store Publishing House

For an extensive list of articles on this mineral discovery, please go to: Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery

Ontario’s Ring of Fire Discovery

When junior companies take on ambitious exploration projects like the work to develop The Ring of Fire, the rate of burn — the expenditure of hard-won financial investment — is used up at a fast clip. Noront Resources alone spent $19 million in 2009. One industry analyst suggests that the six companies drilling in the area will spend around $250 million over five years on exploration. Since site access is by fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters, the budget for transportation is huge.

So it is that the juniors band together in various joint ventures and option agreements, and, since many actually share offices in the same building, there is frequent consultation and shared planning. Nickel ore is considered attractive and would likely bring the fastest payback, but chromite as chrome also has great possibilities for development. If this is the case, concentrate produced on-site could be shipped on the hoped-for road to the south and possibly be processed at a facility set up to produce ferro-chrome, which could be built in Thunder Bay.

Continue Reading →

Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery (1 of 6) – Excerpt from Fortunes Found Canadian Mining Success – by Michael Barnes

Michael Barnes is the author of more than fifty books about characters, communities, mining, and police work. He is a Member of the Order of Canada and makes his home in Haliburton, Ontario, Canada. While living in Northern Ontario most of his life, he has come to know and admire those who make their living in the mining industry.

To order a copy of “Fortunes Found – Canadian Mining Success” go to: General Store Publishing House

For an extensive list of articles on this mineral discovery, please go to: Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery

Ontario’s Ring of Fire Discovery

As the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada Convention came to a close in March 2008, a group of industry influentials crowded the Imperial Room of the Royal York Hotel in Toronto for a luncheon to benefit Mining Matters, the mining education charity.

While they waited for the event to begin, a scratchy version of the stirring Johnny Cash song was played over the public address system. The fundraiser was in aid of charity, but the draw beyond the lunch was a claim-staking venture in the remote James Bay Lowlands, which was initiated in the late 1990s, and the events that followed. The series of properties that sparked the interest was dubbed — some say by Rob Cudney — “The Ring of Fire” because when it was further explored, the target area had the distinct shape of a broken circle or crescent with an original source as magma or molten rock from huge volcanic action.

The Cash song was really about love, but this mining play with the potential to create huge wealth for Canada and the expected much needed jobs and spinoff economic activity conjures up a mixture of emotions. The origin of the interest in the area came when two junior companies, Spider Resources and KWG Resources searched as a team for diamonds in 1997–98. They had optioned promising targets to De Beers, and one of these kimberlite targets was drilled and unexpectedly turned up evidence of copper and zinc. Continue Reading →

Excerpt From Michael Barnes New Book – More Than Free Gold: Mineral Exploration in Canada Since World War II

More Than Free Gold - Michael BarnesFaults and Fissures Vein Deposits

The discovery of silver and gold vein deposits marked the start of Canada’s mining legacy. The discovery of gold at Kirkland Lake and Timmins and silver in Cobalt and near Thunder Bay set the stage for the development of these parts of Canada’s hinterland and founded the development of a mining culture that continues today. …

Gold mining has come a long way in Ontario since the first property, the Richardson Mine in Eldorado near Madoc, fizzled shortly after its 1867 opening. The scattering of small mines working in northwestern Ontario eked out a few ounces of gold in the early part of the twentieth century. The success of the Cobalt camp gave witness to the Mexican proverb, “It takes a silver mine to make a gold mine,” by providing a labour pool and ready financing for the rich gold bonanzas of the Porcupine and Kirkland Lake.

The Porcupine-Timmins area produced 67 million ounces of gold from 48 mines between 1910 and 2004. The smaller but richer grade Kirkland Lake camp had an output from twenty-four mines that gave up 42 million ounces between 1917 and 1990.

Continue Reading →

Excerpt From Michael Barnes New Book – More Than Free Gold:Mineral Exploration in Canada Since World War II

More Than Free Gold - Michael Barnes

Our Best Friend
Kimberlites with Diamonds

With the discovery of diamonds in the kimberlite bodies of the Lac de Gras district in the N.W.T., Canada emerged as a major diamond producer, challenging South Africa, Botswana, Australia and Russia in both quality and quantity of diamond production.

Diamond hunting is difficult because kimberlite outcrops are rare, due to the fact that the rock is easily eroded; often a chunk of the stuff will crumble in the hand.

The big mining news in the eighties was of the gold at Hemlo, but in that decade two men were searching for a much more elusive quarry. Veteran prospector Chuck Fipke and geologist Dr. Stu Blusson spent all they had and all they could borrow to finance a quest for diamonds.

Continue Reading →

Excerpt from Michael Barnes New Book – More Than Free Gold: Mineral Exploration in Canada Since World War II

Pronto Mine, Rio Algom - Elliot Lake 1958The World Wants Yellowcake (Uranium)

Among some people uranium gets a bad rap due to its use as the explosive material for atomic weapons and yet these folks tend to forget that it has most beneficial uses for mankind, principally as the fuel for nuclear reactors which deliver about 15% of the country’s electricity. Canada is currently the largest producer of uranium in the world, although Australia has the larger proportion of the world’s known deposits. In 2006 of the seventeen countries that mined the element, Canada produced 28%, followed by Australia with 23%. The term ‘yellowcake’ was originally given to uranium concentrate, although the colour and texture today can range from anything through dull yellow to almost black.

Early interest in uranium in Canada took a back seat to the work of Gilbert and Charles LaBine who discovered radium at Great Bear Lake in the Northwest Territories in 1930. Continue Reading →

Excerpt from Michael Barnes New Book – More Than Free Gold: Mineral Exploration in Canada Since World War II

2006 Mining Activity in British ColumbiaHidden in the Rock – Porphyries (British Columbia)

Those who seek minerals in porphyries would be advised to follow the old adage, “Go west young geologist,” as this form of igneous activity is found in young rock with large crystals. Deposits are usually large but the trade-off is in low-grade mineralization. The name porphyry comes from the Latin for its colour purple and has associations with royal or imperial qualities dating back to the Romans. In Canada, British Columbia enjoys the lion’s share of this rock, which contains the largest resources of copper, significant molybdenum and 50% of the gold in the province.

British Columbia is copper-rich, and mining of the metal commenced in the late nineteenth century. Many mines have been worked in the province over the past 125 years, and there are currently still some porphyry deposits of interest. Continue Reading →

Michael Barnes Columns – An Introduction

In addition to publishing 50 books, Michael Barnes has written many columns on the history of northern Ontario. Even today, this is a region of Canada that is not well known across the country.

With Michael Barnes’ permission, the Republic of Mining will be posting these columns on this site so a new digital generation can easily access his captivating tales of northern Ontario’s past.

His first column is about Fred Schumacher and the gold-mining region of the Porcupine in the early 1900s.

Michael Barnes – The Godfather of Northern Ontario History-Stan Sudol

Michael BarnesFor someone who has been retired since 1989, Michael Barnes has no intention of slowing down.

The author of 50 books and counting, most about Northern Ontario, Barnes has had a long and varied career that included a bus conductor, a bush cook in Ramsey, and a beer thrower in Wawa.

He has also been a CBC freelance broadcaster and newspaper columnist, both for a time in Sudbury. But his “real job” was a public school teacher and principal working in locations across the north and finally ending up in Kirkland Lake. Continue Reading →