Archive | Canadian Mining History

Excerpt from Murdered Midas: A Millionaire, His Gold Mine, and a Strange Death on an Island Paradise – by Charlotte Gray (September 11, 2019)

To order a copy of Murdered Midas: A Millionaire, His Gold Mine, and a Strange Death on an Island Paradise: https://bit.ly/2lHTbYt

Charlotte Gray is one of Canada’s best-known writers of non-fiction, specializing in history and biography, and her books have been nominated for or won most major non-fiction literary prizes. Murdered Midas is her eleventh book, and her second study of a great gold rush. In 2010, she published Gold Diggers: Striking it Rich in the Klondike which was the basis for both a PBS documentary and a Discovery Channel mini-series. She lives in Ottawa and is an adjunct research professor at Carleton University and a Member of the Order of Canada.

Excerpt from Murdered Midas: A Millionaire, His Gold Mine, and a Strange Death on an Island Paradise 

Had Harry Oakes once again arrived too late for a big strike? In Toronto in the spring of 1911, the thirty-six-year-old stared at the geological charts and topographical maps in Ontario’s Department of Mines, noting the extensive grid of prospectors’ claims superimposed on the region north of North Bay, bang in the centre of the immense expanse of Canada.

On paper, Northern Ontario looked as though government surveyors had already outlined its features and its potential. By now, the provincial bureaucrats suggested, the land had been “tamed.” Oakes traced with his stubby, stained finger the settlements strewn across the grim monotony of forest, rock, water, and muskeg swamp.

The charts recorded only mining camps; the cartographers had ignored the numerous Indigenous communities, although their presence showed up in the Ojibwa or Cree names of several features, such as Lake Temagami. Most of the network of links connecting mining camps consisted of rough, winding trails, but there were also newly laid railway tracks, punctuated at regular intervals by stations. Continue Reading →

History Hunter: Hard rock mining on Dublin Gulch is more than a century old – by Michael Gates (Yukon News – August 29, 2019)

Yukon News

For other Michael Gate’s Mining History Columns on the Yukon: https://www.yukon-news.com/author/michael-gates/

The Klondike gold rush drew tens of thousands of hopeful prospectors into the north hoping to strike it rich in the placers of Bonanza Eldorado and numerous other creeks.

But among them were a smaller but unwavering brigade of prospectors who were determined to burrow beneath the placer gravels into bedrock in hope of finding the mother lode. These prospectors spread out to the branches of tributaries in regions so remote that they weren’t yet even plotted on maps.

One of these remote locations was Dublin Gulch, which was said to have been first staked by 1897. There was a staking rush to the area in 1901. Interest quickly dwindled and many of these claims lapsed, but another flurry of staking occurred two years later. Continue Reading →

[Ontario Mining History] The noise, the glow, the rush of sparks – by Susanna McLeod (Kingston Whig Standard – July 19, 2019)

https://www.thewhig.com/

An ocean away, discussions about iron mining and processing in Upper Canada progressed. Kingston’s Royal Naval Dockyards needed a local supply of iron to augment security after the War of 1812. Initial negotiations with a local merchant in 1816 fell through, but Charles Hayes in Ireland was interested.

Before Hayes came to Ontario, he had been in touch with Maj. George Hillier, civil secretary to governor general Peregrine Maitland. Delaying his voyage until a determination on timber duties was reached, Hayes and his wife sailed for North America in autumn 1820.

“Upon his arrival he went to York [Toronto] to petition the governor for land on which to establish his works,” wrote Rita Michael in “Ironworking in Upper Canada: Charles Hayes and the Marmora Works” (Report to Ontario Heritage Foundation, 1982). Continue Reading →

Sculptor helps gold mining town celebrate 100 years – by Marc Montgomery (Radio Canada International – July 8, 2019)

Radio Canada International

Northern Ontario’s history is tied to that of mining. It was back in 1919 that a rush for silver in the north led instead to a discovery of gold and a another sort of rush.

This led to the development of several mines and creation of the township of Teck, eventually renamed Kirkland Lake in 1972. Renowned bronze sculptor Tyler Fauvelle has created a lifesized recreation of a period prospector which has been placed near the Toburn mine, the first of several which once flourished, and are now gone.

“Although the artwork is a tribute to all of the Kirkland Lake Gold Camp prospectors, I did include some features representing some of Kirkland Lake’s legendary prospectors. I hope visitors will enjoy looking for those symbols, and learning about the local history behind them,” says Fauvelle. Continue Reading →

Back in Time: Striking it rich at Flin Flon’s first mine – by Craig Baird (Flin Flon Reminder – June 19, 2019)

https://www.thereminder.ca/

The origins of Mandy Mine involve two men who were working as railroad builders by Hudson Bay. They decided that they wanted to take their own prospecting trip along Grassy River and see what was there. They had some knowledge of the area thanks to earlier surveyors, but they wanted to see it for themselves.

Fred Jackson and Sidney Reynolds decided to take the trip in the autumn of 1915 and see what they could find. Luck was on their side as they decided to camp on top of a 35-foot wide lens of solid chalcopyrite.

Over the next few months, the were able to pull out 22 to 28 per cent copper, which contained $3.60 worth of gold per ton, along with about nine to 16 ounces of silver. For every $1,000 they spent drilling into the find, $1.25 million in ore was brought out. It was pay dirt for the two men. Continue Reading →

Coal miners daughters story told at Davis Day ceremony in Springhill – by David Mathieson (Amherst News – June 14, 2019)

https://www.cumberlandnewsnow.com/

SPRINGHILL, N.S. – Springhill mining history came to life at the 2019 Davis Day service June 11 at the St. Andrews-Wesley United Church in Springhill.

“As was the practice in those days, the eldest son, Donald, my grandfather, went to work at a man’s job at the age of 13 to support his family,” Shawna Canning said to the crowd gathered for the service.

Born in 1913, Canning’s grandfather, Donald Arthur Campbell, was named after his grandfather who was killed in the 1891 explosion that killed 125 miners. Donald began working at the mine at the age of 13 after his father, John Campbell, was injured at the mine and was unable to work again. Continue Reading →

Canada’s Northern mining future looks as glorious as our golden past – by Terence Corcoran (Financial Post – June 7, 2019)

https://business.financialpost.com/

Canada’s gold-mining spirit is still alive today, and doing extremely well in Nunavut

Around this time of year, half a century ago, 4,400 feet underground, as an apprentice miner I lugged heavy timbers around dark damp stopes to help tough-talking miners of every nationality drill for gold at the Kerr Addison mine in Virginiatown, 600 kilometres north of Toronto.

I got the job and “apprentice miner” title through the father of a girl I’d met — Claudia was her name — at school in Ottawa. As a native of east end Montreal, I had no idea that Canada was a gold-mining powerhouse.

Even today there is much to learn, including the fact that a few years before my summer job at the mine, Kerr Addison produced 500,000 ounces of gold a year — shipped by rail south to Montreal — and in 1962 it was the largest gold producer in the Western Hemisphere. Continue Reading →

The Hunt for the Singing Atom – by C. Fred Bodsworth (MACLEAN’S Magazine – August 15, 1948)

http://www.macleans.ca/

Gold’s old stuff; miners on the Trail of ’48 want uranium, the stuff that can chirp in their ears or flatten a city

WHERE Northern Ontario’s broad Abitibi River tumbles through the spruce-walled gorge of Otter Rapids and lunges northward on its final 90-mile dash for James Bay and the sea, I stood over one of Canada’s newest radioactive ore discoveries and listened to its tune of disintegrating atoms, the theme song of the atomic age.

Locked in a brown-red vein of ore at my feet there was possibly bread-and-butter stuff for scores of potential atom bombs, but the tune of cracking atoms I heard could have been drowned out by the snap of a jenny firecracker.

Detected and amplified by the Geiger counter which hung at my waist, a wondrous little electronic gadget which smells out disintegrating atoms of radioactive ore as keenly as a cat smells out fish, the atom tune in the Geiger’s earphone sounded merely like raindrops spattering on a tin roof. Without the Geiger to translate it into sound, those thousands of disintegrating atoms Would have been as undetectable as the 40-pound sturgeons which, so the natives say, lurk in the Abitibi’s khaki-colored water offshore. Continue Reading →

Canadian Ingenuity: Kate Rice canoed, hunted and prospected – by Susanna McLeod (Kingston Whig Standard – May 8, 2019)

https://www.thewhig.com/

Wherever she went, Kate Rice always had a particular item with her. It wasn’t a locket, it wasn’t a wallet, nor medication. The item was something every prospector girl needed when working by herself in the wilderness. It was a rifle.

Kathleen (Kate) Creighton Starr Rice, born Dec. 22, 1882, thrived in the outdoors. Her love began with canoeing, camping and hunting trips with her father, Henry Lincoln Rice. While her mother read bedtime fairy tales to her young daughter, Kate’s father ignited the child’s imagination with tales of adventure and nature.

Fine-featured, pretty and nearly six feet tall, Kate Rice was regarded by friends and family as eccentric and independent, with a stern “don’t mess with me” personality. The family living in St. Mary’s in southwestern Ontario was upper middle class. Henry Rice operated St. Mary’s Milling Company, the firm inherited by his wife, Charlotte Carter. Continue Reading →

BOOM! brings a century of Britannia mining history to life – by Brandon Barrett (Pique News Magazine – April 26, 2019)

https://www.piquenewsmagazine.com/

KIRSTIN CLAUSEN knows mining history isn’t exactly the sexiest topic for tourists, but the executive director of the Britannia Mine Museum is banking on an ambitious interactive show launching this summer to paint the historic mill in a new light.

“I think we can be honest: Mining can be a tough sell to turn it into a tourist attraction,” Clausen said. “We hope people will feel a connection to the story.” That particular story is deeply rooted in the history of British Columbia. Once the most productive copper mine in the British Empire, the Britannia mill today is a national historic site and museum that welcomes visitors from around the globe.

In an effort to better appeal to modern audiences, staff at the museum dreamed up the concept for BOOM!, a multi-sensory, interactive show that brings the historic Mill No. 3 to life through “sound, smell, shaking and noise,” Clausen explained. In operation from 1921 to 1974, the ore mill served as the focal point of Britannia Beach, and according to Clausen, has many stories to tell. Continue Reading →

Sponsored Content: Little House of Gold on the Prairie: Gold Exploration in Saskatchewan (Investing News Network – April 24, 2019)

Investing Network News

Gold exploration in Saskatchewan is an overlooked but promising segment of the industry in a stable jurisdiction with the least amount of regulatory uncertainty of any Canadian province.

When discussing mining in Saskatchewan, uranium and potash take most of the attention and there is good reason why. Saskatchewan’s uranium and potash reserves are of global significance. Resource size, purity and accessibility are key to Saskatchewan’s C$6.7 billion in mineral sales last year.

Gold exploration in Saskatchewan would seemingly be an afterthought. After all, Ontario and Quebec produced roughly 75 percent of Canada’s total gold in 2017. By comparison, Canada’s prairie provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba produced a mere 3.8 percent combined. A 2012 report into Saskatchewan’s gold potential reveals just how underexplored the province is despite historic and current operations. Continue Reading →

Glory to ghost; the 25-year NWT zinc town – by A.J. Roan (North of 60 Mining News – April 26, 2019)

https://www.miningnewsnorth.com/

Like many single-industry towns, once the well dries up, people seek greener pastures. However, the residents of a place many probably have never even heard of hold on to the remnants of their past. For them, it was an important and irreplaceable land, it was their home.

Pine Point, Northwest Territories, was a town located 10 kilometers (6 miles) inland from the south shore of Great Slave Lake and 87 kilometers (54 miles) east of Hay River. Cominco Ltd. (now Teck Resources Ltd.) explored the area around Pine Point as early as 1929 but it wouldn’t be for at least thirty years until development would begin and the plans for a settlement established. Production started in 1965.

Cominco built its own townsite which became known as Pine Point. It became a territorial settlement with private businesses and boasted a population of nearly 2,000 at its peak. By the mid-1980s depressed prices caused economic difficulties for the mine. Cominco shut down operations in the summer of 1987, although it continued to mill until the following spring. Continue Reading →

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 →