Archive | Canadian Mining History

Bruce Hutchison rediscovers THE UNKNOWN COUNTRY (Northern Ontario) – by Bruce Hutchison (MACLEAN’s Magazine – March 17, 1956)

https://www.macleans.ca/

“This land of shaven stone and stunted trees was called Ontario, but . . . the north was a separate province in everything but political arrangements, its people a separate breed, its life turned forever northward

IN COBALT I met two ruined men. One of them, being Chinese and therefore a philosopher, took ruin calmly and grinned at me from behind his restaurant counter like a gentle old monkey. The other, a broken miner, having no gift of philosophy, pointed to the tortured hills of Cobalt, the pyramids of crushed rock and the lurching mine towers. “She’s gone,” he said, “murdered, crucified and dead from hell to breakfast.”

The Chinese proprietor—speaking in an odd mixture of English and French—told me that the fatal mistake of his life had been to settle in Cobalt. His restaurant in Montreal had employed eight French-Canadian waitresses and had earned him a modest fortune, now lost. Here he was his own cook, waiter and dishwasher, trapped in Cobalt. Still, he rather liked it. The people were so nice, so gentile. Continue Reading →

Former coal miner says Jan. 28 is anniversary of an economic homicide for Cape Breton – by Sharon Montgomery-Dupe (Cape Breton Post – January 28, 2019)

https://www.capebretonpost.com/

‘Like a drive-by shooting’

SYDNEY, NS — For some people, today might mark an anniversary or birthday, but for Steve Drake of New Waterford it signifies the “economic homicide” of Cape Breton. Drake said Jan. 28 marks the 20th anniversary of the death of the coal mines when then-Natural Resources Minister Ralph Goodale announced plans to privatize the coal mining industry on Jan. 28, 1999.

“They did it like a drive-by shooting,” Drake said. “I stood side by side with 200 coal miners and their families at the Delta Hotel in Sydney and shook my head as Minister Ralph Goodale hammered the final nail into the coffin of our beloved coal industry,” Drake said.

“The government handed out information kits like they were lottery tickets, like we had all won something.” The federal government’s announcement included plans to close Devco’s Phalen coal mine by the end of 2000 and sell the company’s Prince mine and other operations. Continue Reading →

For some miners it was never say die – by T.W. Paterson (Cowichan Valley Citizen – January 26, 2019)

Cowichan Valley Citizen

For 12 years, single-handed, A.L. Marsh bored his way to bedrock. A miner’s lot, like that of a policeman, wasn’t an easy one in the so-called good old days. In an industry that’s known a thousand busts for every boom, countless dreams have been shattered in the quest for riches.

A prime example is that provided by A.L. Marsh, who invested 25 years of back-breaking work to prove his claim in the Okanagan’s Cherry Creek district. Gold Commissioner L. Norris, writing his annual report for 1913, described Marsh’s lonely battle against the odds. In so doing, he wrote an encapsulated history of the B.C. mining industry.

“Over the hill and east from the Monashee [Mine] mill-house lies the placer ground where A.L. Marsh drove, single-handed, 2,500 feet of tunnel in a vain attempt to reach bedrock in the bottom of the gulch. (To put this in context for the metrically corrupted, 2,500 feet is just short of half a mile! —TW.) Continue Reading →

Brian K. G. Meikle (1932 – 2016) – 2019 Canadian Mining Hall of Fame Inductee

The Canadian Mining Hall of Fame was conceived by the late Maurice R. Brown, former editor and publisher of The Northern Miner, as a way to recognize and honour the legendary mine finders and builders of a great Canadian industry. The Hall was established in 1988. For more information about the extraordinary individuals who have been inducted into the Hall of Fame, please go to their home website: http://mininghalloffame.ca/

The greatest discoveries are transformative, and Brian Meikle is one of only a few modern-era geologists who achieved this pinnacle of success. In the 1960s, he contributed to the discovery and development of the Camflo gold mine in Quebec, and later was part of a talented team that made it a cornerstone of growth for Barrick Gold (formerly American Barrick). In the early 1980s, he recognized the potential of the Mercur gold mine in Utah, which became a key link in the evolution of Barrick.

Meikle’s crowning achievement was the 1986 Goldstrike discovery in Nevada, which grew to approximately 60 million ounces of gold reserves and resources in several deposits. Goldstrike propelled Barrick into the world’s largest gold miner and generated immense wealth that has flowed back to benefit Canadian companies, shareholders and society.

Born in Montreal, Meikle returned to Canada from California as a post-graduate student. He earned an MSc degree (geology) from McGill University in 1955, followed by his PhD in 1959. He was the recipient of McGill’s Logan Gold Medal in 1958, awarded to the graduating student who stands highest in the First Class Honours list in Geology.

http://www.pendaproductions.com/ This video was produced by PENDA Productions, a full service production company specializing in Corporate Communications with a focus on Corporate Responsibility.

In 1962, Meikle joined Camflo Mines and was instrumental in discoveries that made the mine and the company. He spent 22 years with Camfl o in diverse roles, including mine manager and vicepresident of operations. In 1984, Peter Munk acquired Camflo for American Barrick and also gained a dream technical team to help realize his dream of creating a major gold producer.


(LtoR) Lisa MacDonald, Executive Director, Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada, presenting the award to Janet Meikle on behalf of Brian Meikle at the Mining Hall of Fame dinner on January 10th. Keith Houghton Photography.

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A. M. (Sandy) Laird (Born 1934) – 2019 Canadian Mining Hall of Fame Inductee

The Canadian Mining Hall of Fame was conceived by the late Maurice R. Brown, former editor and publisher of The Northern Miner, as a way to recognize and honour the legendary mine finders and builders of a great Canadian industry. The Hall was established in 1988. For more information about the extraordinary individuals who have been inducted into the Hall of Fame, please go to their home website: http://mininghalloffame.ca/

During a 39-year career with Placer Dome and predecessor Placer Development, Sandy Laird was directly involved in transforming at least 15 mineral projects into profitable mines. He was a driving force in the company’s project development group, which he headed from 1988 to 1995, and was later responsible for Placer Dome’s global operating and development subsidiaries.

Many of the mines were large, technically complex, and in challenging jurisdictions. Laird earned a reputation for overcoming obstacles and delivering projects to high technical, social and environmental standards. He was a team-builder and a key participant in the growth of Placer into one of the world’s great mining companies before it was acquired by Barrick Gold in 2006.

Born in Invermere, BC, Laird spent several summers as an underground miner and a geologist’s assistant before graduating from the University of British Columbia with a BASc in mining engineering in 1957. He joined Placer in 1960, and worked in various positions at the Craigmont mine near Merritt, BC. Placer was then considered a prime training ground for young engineers, and Laird’s responsibilities increased as he quickly scaled the ranks, moving to Endako as Open Pit Superintendent in 1964.

http://www.pendaproductions.com/ This video was produced by PENDA Productions, a full service production company specializing in Corporate Communications with a focus on Corporate Responsibility.

From 1968 to 1971, he was the Resident Manager during construction and start-up of the Marcopper mine in the Philippines. During the next ten years, Laird worked in management positions in Vancouver and San Francisco, and built and managed the McDermitt mine in Nevada.


(LtoR) Dr. Chris Twigge-Molecey, senior advisor, Hatch, presenting the award to Sandy Laird at the Mining Hall of Fame dinner on January 10th. Keith Houghton Photography.

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James W. (Jim) Gill (Born 1949) – 2019 Canadian Mining Hall of Fame Inductee

The Canadian Mining Hall of Fame was conceived by the late Maurice R. Brown, former editor and publisher of The Northern Miner, as a way to recognize and honour the legendary mine finders and builders of a great Canadian industry. The Hall was established in 1988. For more information about the extraordinary individuals who have been inducted into the Hall of Fame, please go to their home website: http://mininghalloffame.ca/

James Gill secured a place in mining history through the exceptional success and staying power of Aur Resources. In 1981, he made a timely decision to launch his own company and begin the hunt for projects with potential to become producing mines. With a PhD in economic geology and early career experience with senior companies, he brought strong technical skills and a disciplined approach to corporate management to his newly incorporated junior.

Aur began life with $250,000 of seed capital, which Gill parlayed into a large land package in Quebec’s Val d’Or mining camp. Aur became a modest-sized gold producer through discoveries and mine acquisitions, but the big breakthrough came in 1989 with the Louvicourt copper-zinc discovery. Gill’s entrepreneurial energy came to the fore as Louvicourt was developed into one of Canada’s premier copper-zinc mines. He continued to develop and acquire mines in Canada and abroad until 2007, when he negotiated a $4.1 billion buyout of Aur by Teck Resources.

http://www.pendaproductions.com/ This video was produced by PENDA Productions, a full service production company specializing in Corporate Communications with a focus on Corporate Responsibility.

Mining was part of Gill’s DNA, as his grandfather James E. Gill (a 2003 CMHF inductee) was a successful consulting geologist and an influential professor of economic geology at McGill University. Born in Montreal, James W. Gill is a McGill graduate with a BSc degree (1971) and a MSc degree (1976). He also earned a PhD from Carleton University in Ottawa.


(LtoR) James W. Gill receiving the award from Anthony Vaccaro, CMHF Director and Group Publisher, The Northern Miner Group at the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame dinner on January 10th. Keith Houghton Photography.

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James M (Jim) Franklin (Born 1942) – 2019 Canadian Mining Hall of Fame Inductee

The Canadian Mining Hall of Fame was conceived by the late Maurice R. Brown, former editor and publisher of The Northern Miner, as a way to recognize and honour the legendary mine finders and builders of a great Canadian industry. The Hall was established in 1988. For more information about the extraordinary individuals who have been inducted into the Hall of Fame, please go to their home website: http://mininghalloffame.ca/

James Franklin is a distinguished geoscientist who helped build and advance the knowledge base of Canada’s minerals industry. He spent much of his career with the Geological Survey of Canada (GSC) documenting the complex evolution of the Canadian Shield and the link to its phenomenal mineral wealth. He was a pioneer in the development of models and techniques to guide exploration for volcanogenic massive sulphide (VMS) deposits and led ocean-based research of “black smoker” systems to understand how VMS deposits form.

In addition to these technical contributions, which led to new mines and discoveries, Franklin served the minerals sector as a geological consultant, educator, author and lecturer, and industry ambassador. Born in North Bay, Ontario, Franklin earned BSc (1964) and MSc (1967) degrees from Carleton University, and his PhD (1970) from the University of Western Ontario. He joined the GSC in 1975, after a six-year term as the first professor of economic geology at Lakehead University.

http://www.pendaproductions.com/ This video was produced by PENDA Productions, a full service production company specializing in Corporate Communications with a focus on Corporate Responsibility.

As a young GSC research scientist, Franklin developed the regional metallogenic framework for Southern, Churchill and Superior Provinces of the Canadian Shield. His original pioneering work in the field of economic geology contributed to numerous gold and base metal mines and discoveries in Canada and abroad.


(LtoR) Jon Baird Chair of the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame presenting the award to James M. (Jim) Franklin at the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame dinner on January 10th. Keith Houghton Photography.

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KLONDIKE DISCOVERER (1 of 5) Kate Carmack (1857-1920) – 2019 Canadian Mining Hall of Fame Inductee

The Canadian Mining Hall of Fame was conceived by the late Maurice R. Brown, former editor and publisher of The Northern Miner, as a way to recognize and honour the legendary mine finders and builders of a great Canadian industry. The Hall was established in 1988. For more information about the extraordinary individuals who have been inducted into the Hall of Fame, please go to their home website: http://mininghalloffame.ca/

The discovery of placer gold in the Klondike set off one of the world’s greatest gold rushes and forever changed the history of Yukon and Canada. Historic accounts of the landmark event recognized the contribution of Canadian prospector Robert Henderson and the bonanza gold strike made by American adventurer George Carmack, his wife Kate (Shaaw Tlaa) and her Tagish First Nation relatives, brother Skookum Jim Mason (Keish) and nephew Dawson Charlie (Kaa Goox). The day of discovery was August 17, 1896.

In July of 1896, George and Kate Carmack, along with Skookum Jim Mason and Dawson Charlie, were camped at the junction of the Yukon and Klondike Rivers. Henderson visited their fish camp and told Carmack of some promising “colours” he had found panning in Gold Bottom Creek. Henderson invited Carmack, a part-time prospector, to try his luck in the region, but made it known that he did not want natives staking claims.

http://www.pendaproductions.com/ This video was produced by PENDA Productions, a full service production company specializing in Corporate Communications with a focus on Corporate Responsibility.

(LtoR) Louise Grondin, Agnico-Eagle is presenting the award to Zena McLean (great grand niece of Kate Carmack) at the Mining Hall of Fame dinner on January 10. Keith Houghton Photography.

Carmack and his team later visited Henderson’s showing, but left unimpressed. During the brief visit, Henderson again offended Carmack’s Indigenous partners. His prejudices would ultimately cost him a fortune. The Carmack team returned to their camp via Rabbit Creek, a tributary of the Klondike River where the fi rst large gold nugget was then found. Continue Reading →

Yukon woman’s role in Klondike gold rush to be honoured at Toronto ceremony (Canadian Press – January 10, 2019)

https://www.thestar.com/

WHITEHORSE—An Indigenous woman is being inducted into the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame for the first time. Kate Carmack of Yukon will be recognized as one of the handful of prospectors whose discovery of placer gold set off what the Hall of Fame describes as “one of the world’s greatest gold rushes” in the Klondike more than a century ago.

In 1999, the organization recognized four men who were known as the Klondike Discoverers by inducting them into the Hall of Fame for locating the site where the gold was found on Rabbit River in 1896.

But the president of Yukon Women in Mining says many stories also say Carmack may actually have found the first gold nugget while fishing with her family. Anne Turner said Carmack was “missed” in the first round of recognition but it’s “really exciting” that she is finally being honoured. Continue Reading →

Klondike Kate: Shaaw Tláa, part of the prospectors group who kicked off the Yukon gold rush, is finally recognized for essential role in Canada’s mining history – by Jordan Faries (CIM Magazine – January 10, 2019)

http://magazine.cim.org/en/

Shaaw Tláa – also known as Kate Carmack – was an often overlooked but essential part of the prospecting group that kicked off the historic Klondike Gold Rush. Carmack was the rumoured discoverer of the first nugget of Yukon gold and became, for a time, the wealthiest Indigenous woman in America, but was nearly forgotten by the industry she had a central role in launching.

Carmack was nominated to the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame (CMHF) in October, almost two decades after the four male members of her prospecting party that made the discovery were recognized.

The induction, which places her on equal footing with the other four and acknowledges her as “instrumental” to the expedition’s success, comes as researchers aim to correct a trend of underrepresentation of the contributions of Indigenous women to Canada’s mining history. Continue Reading →

Celebrating a century of mining at Yukon – by Anne Turner (nee Lewis) and Lindsay Wilson (Northern Miner – January 8, 2019)

Northern Miner

http://www.yukonminingalliance.ca/

http://www.yukonwim.ca/index.html

Anne Turner (nee Lewis) is the executive director of the Yukon Mining Alliance (YMA). Lindsay Wilson is communications manager at YMA.

It was finding gold at Rabbit Creek and along the riverbeds of the Klondike that forever changed one of the world’s final frontiers — the Yukon Territory — and cemented the region’s roots as an inspiring Canadian mining district.

Yukon’s rich mining history continues to provide exciting discoveries, varied commodities and significant opportunities for northerners and investors alike. As we kick off 2019, we reflect on our history and the last year that has proved — through achievements, advancements and accolades — that Yukon is a mining district to follow and to celebrate.

In 1896, a hundred-thousand stampeders journeyed north, following the news of “Gold, gold, gold!” and “The Klondike gold rush begins” in papers from Seattle to San Francisco. Kate and George Carmack, Skookum Jim Mason, Dawson Charlie and Robert Henderson discovered placer gold at Rabbit Creek (later renamed Bonanza Creek) on Aug. 26. Continue Reading →

The story of Klondike Kate Carmack and the (modern day) sisters who moil for gold – by Joe O’Connor (Financial Post – January 4, 2019)

https://business.financialpost.com/

Five sisters are modern pioneers linked to a colourful prospecting past that includes Carmack, whose lying husband took credit for the Klondike strike and cheated her out of her fortune

During the summer, when by fate of their unpredictable schedules the five Bjorkman sisters actually find themselves together at their parents’ log home on Whiskyjack Lake, Ont., the conversation inevitably turns to rocks.

Jessica Bjorkman, the eldest sister at 38, might, for example, start talking about what she found or didn’t find, or the bear she had to run off, or the view from a B.C. mountain ridge that was so perfect she couldn’t quite believe it was real. Continue Reading →

Excerpt from “Wealth Woman: Kate Carmack and the Klondike Race for Gold” – by Deb Vanasse (December 12, 2018)

Kate Carmack was recently inducted into the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame for her part in discovering the Klondike gold fields. She is the first Aboriginal woman inducted into the Hall of Fame. Deb Vanasse has written the definitive story of Carmack’s fascinating life. It makes a terrific Christmas gift! Click here to order a copy of “Wealth Woman: Kate Carmack and the Klondike Race for Gold”: https://amzn.to/2yF7wZs

Deb Vanasse is an American writer of seventeen books, many of which are set in Alaska. She first became interested in the story of Kate Carmack when she hiked the “meanest miles” of the Chilkoot Trail, where as a young woman Kate packed for prospectors over the summit. After 36 years in Alaska, she now lives in Oregon, where she continues to write while doing freelance editing, coaching, and writing instruction. She is a co-founder of 49 Writers. www.debvanasse.com

Good Gold, Lotsa Gold – Excerpt from Chapter Ten

In addition to wealth, one of the key outcomes of what became known as “Discovery Day” in the Klondike—August 17, 1896—was a mosaic of stories that frame the event, dramas in which Kate plays various roles from supporting actress to chief protagonist, depending on the cultural context. Continue Reading →

Kitimat: a century of boom and bust: The heady dreams of a 50,000 population city turned out to be just that – by Walter Thorne (Northern Sentinel – December 1, 2018)

Northern Sentinel

By 1950 there wasn’t much happening when you looked northwest across Douglas Channel from Kitamaat Mission. It was still rather quiet, pristine and devoid of human presence. Even the pioneer ranchers of the estuary had all disappeared, leaving only a few buildings and artifacts.

The five hundred or so souls of Kitimaat Village had it all to themselves. But a new development scheme had been proposed and the Haisla were about to witness one of the most rapid and profound transformations to the landscape ever seen in B.C. – the Alcan project.

Development of the aluminum smelter and accompanying town got underway in April 1951 when the first barges and towboats arrived with pile drivers and bulldozers. But while this was to be the grand-daddy of all booms, it was not the valley’s first. The first was five decades earlier in 1900 when developer Charles Clifford began to promote Kitamaat in earnest, describing its harbour as the finest on the Pacific seaboard without exception. In 1903 Clifford was elected MLA for Skeena and continued to be an avid promoter of Kitimat. Continue Reading →

The Lure of Gold in Alberta’s History: Part II – by Michael Donnelly (Alberta’s Historic Places – November 29, 2018)

https://albertashistoricplaces.wordpress.com/

Michael Donnelly is a freelance historian.

In 1896, gold production in Edmonton reached $55,000,[i] with local banks purchasing gold dust off miners at $15 an ounce.[ii] No small amount for a town of roughly 1200 people. However, this amount was nothing compared to the following year when parties of gold seekers, upon news of rich gold strikes in the Yukon, began outfitting themselves in Edmonton on their way to the Klondike. By the summer of 1898, the stampede was over with local merchants having taken in $500,000.[iii]

When parties slowly began arriving in Edmonton by train in the summer of 1897, the business community quickly seized upon the opportunity and began actively advertising Edmonton as the, ‘All Canadian Route to the Klondike’, ‘The Back Door to the Yukon’, and ‘The Poor Man’s Route to the Yukon.’[iv]

By Christmas, there were people from Chicago, eastern Canada, the Atlantic seaboard, Europe, and Australia camped in small groups all over town. Historian J.G. MacGregor wrote that by mid-winter 1898, “…the town was knee deep in Klondikers.”[v] Continue Reading →