Archive | Gold and Silver

Alaska Votes for Gold, Not Fishing – by Marilyn Scales

Marilyn Scales - Canadian Mining JournalMarilyn Scales is a field editor for the Canadian Mining Journal, Canada’s first mining publication.

This week the voters of Alaska were asked to decide whether or not they favour prohibitive clean water regulations for new mines in that state. Ballot Measure 4 was aimed specifically at stopping Vancouver’s NORTHERN DYNASTY MINERALS (50%) and South Africa’s ANGLO AMERICAN from completing the Pebble gold mine.

The potential of the Pebble deposit is huge. The property is believed to contain 91.6 billion lb of copper, 84.6 million oz of gold and 5.5 billion lb of molybdenum in the inferred resource category. What concerns opponents is that the deposit is located near the headwaters of Bristol Bay, one of the world’s greatest salmon runs. The sport and commercial fisheries would be crippled if the salmon habitat were damaged.

The initiative was brought by a Washington, D.C.-based lobbying group. Alaska allows legislature to be initiated by voters as well as the state legislature. While Measure 4 did not mention Pebble by name, the target was obvious. Passing it would have effectively delayed or stopped other mine developments, for example, the Donlin Creek gold project belonging to BARRICK GOLD and NOVAGOLD RESOURCES. TECK COMINCO’s planned expansion of its Red Dog zinc mine might have been delayed.

In case the reader has not quite guessed yet, the measure was defeated on Aug. 26. The outcome was not as close as predicted. Almost 57% of voters were opposed and only 34% in favour. That is a result we applaud because we know the mining industry is mindful of local flora and fauna and does all it can to mitigate potential harmful effects. The Hope Brook gold mine that operated from 1987 to 1997 on the southwest coast of Newfoundland was located in a salmon habitat. The fish survived nicely, in fact mine workers were forbidden from fishing or even bringing fishing gear to the site.

Canada does not allow its voters to initiate legislation, and perhaps that is a good thing. Imagine heavily populated Toronto swaying a vote against expansion at XSTRATA COPPER’s Kidd mine or against development of DE BEERS CANADA’s Victor diamond mine. Suppose the residents of Canada’s southern cities said “no” to AGNICO-EAGLE’s Meadowbank gold mine in Nunavut. On the other hand, if voters in Indonesia had stepped in to stop exploration at the Busang project, the entire BRE-X fiasco might have been prevented.

British Columbia Continues to Attract Gold Hunters – by Marilyn Scales

Marilyn Scales - Canadian Mining JournalMarilyn Scales is a field editor for the Canadian Mining Journal, Canada’s first mining publication.

Gold has been prized throughout history and remains one of the most sought-after metals today. In British Columbia gold was found along the Fraser River (1858), along the Peace River (1861) and in the interior (1865). Dawson Creek became the jumping off point for the great Klondike gold rush of 1898.

The modern gold prospector, spurred by high gold prices and with the help of sophisticated technology, is again scouring the map of British Columbia in hopes of striking it rich. News of bonanza grades is as welcome today as it was in the 19th Century.

For example, Pinnacle Mines (51%) and Mountain Boy Minerals (49%) recently reported grades as high as 81.57 g/t over 1.52 metres at their Silver Coin project near Stewart. A quick run through the metric calculator, and that is equivalent to over 2.4 oz/ton. Such grades bring a smile to most gold lovers I know. Plus the Silver Coin property appears to have recoverable amounts of silver, copper, zinc and lead.

Also in the Stewart area, drill core from Toronto’s Seabridge Gold’s Kerr-Sulphurets-Mitchell (KSM) project is not assaying high grades (it is generally less than 1.0 g/t Ag plus copper), but it is mineralized over exceptional lengths: 745 metres, 109 metres, 498 metres, 921 metres, 500 metres and so on. The company has circulated estimates of over 19.7 million oz of gold in indicated resources and 14.3 million oz in the inferred portion. If the gold grades don’t set a heart to fluttering, the millions of contained ounces should. (For readers of the base metal persuasion, the property may also host more than 8.0 billion lb of copper.)

The deposits described here may differ, but there is no doubt that the rush for the yellow metal in British Columbia never goes out of style.

Ontario Gold is Where You Find It – by Michael Barnes

Famed prospector Don McKinnon, co-disoverer of the Hemlo gold fields north of Lake Superior is fond of an old axiom in the mining business.

He says simply that you look for gold where gold is said to be. This sounds like double talk to the uninitiated but actually the seemingly obvious statement makes a lot of sense.

Short of expensive diamond drilling, the location of gold in commercial quantity is anyone’s guess. So the best places to look for the elusive yellow metal are where it has been found before.

A few years ago, an up and coming Junior mining company with a Scots name, Pentland Firth, announced that it was taking another look at the Munro Croesus property off highway 101 east of Matheson.

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Cobalt: A Mine was Something to Fall Back On for MJ – Michael Barnes

Most people have never heard of M J O’Brien- not in the north anyway. He died in Renfrew in 1940 and was one of Canada’s richest men. But in 1903 he made a deal at the King Edward hotel in Toronto which made him more money and created much work in the silver town of Cobalt.

O’Brien was born in the Ottawa Valley in 1851. He started off as a water boy on big construction projects and ended up owning countless big companies. He made his money through careful research and driving hard bargains. His real money came from railways and lumbering.

In 1903 the heavy set, black bearded magnate from Renfrew heeded some advice from his friend, Robert Borden, then leader of the Opposition in Pariament. Borden put him onto a lawyer who who had some business ideas.

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Good-bye to Sandy McIntyre’s Second Chance in Kirkland Lake – Michael Barnes

We keeping losing our heritage in Northern Ontario. In November 1995 another part of it came tumbling down.

A striking introduction for eastbound visitors to the town of Kirkland Lake would no longer grace the gold camp skyline and another link with our mining past was gone.

One of the distinctive contributions mining offers to Canadian architecture are  headframes, which when covered in with wood or steel become the shaft house. A newcomer might think of them as the above ground part of an elevator shaft.

Many hard rock mines are deep and the cables for the cage or elevator run up to a drum at the top of the shaft house. Each of these structures are different due to location, depth of the shaft and other factors.

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Roy Thomson’s Timmins Adventures – Michael Barnes

All millionaires have to start somewhere. After chubby,ambitious Roy Thomson started his first radio station on a shoestring in North Bay, his attention turned to the bustling Timmins-Porcupine area.

The hard luck,hustling salesman came to Timmins in the early thirties and worked to open a radio station.No one would loan him any money but he found an ally in J.P. Bartleman.

The insurance salesman thought a radio station would be a good thing and he rented the newcomer space in a building of his in the seamier part of town.

Thomson’s long suffering engineer cobbled together the parts for broadcast output and fell foul of the law until his tight fisted boss paid union dues. The new station started with a piano and a few records. Even the sole announcer became fed up with playing ‘In a Monastery Garden’ several times a day because the discs were scarce.

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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.

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The Virginiatown Bank Robbery – Michael Barnes

Kerr Addison Mine was one of the great elephants of Canadian gold mining. In the trade this simply means it had been a giant producer since the mine first started turning out mill feed in the mid-thirties.

The prospect of gold produced in bullion form excites both honest and criminal minds alike. While most of us like to dream about the precious yellow metal, some take positive action to acquire it.

In the mid-sixties a bullion shipment from the mine was hijacked at the Larder Lake station by Quebec underworld figures. On December 21st 1972 thieves struck again, this time with the mine payroll as the star attraction.

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Some Kind of Damn Metal in Cobalt – Michael Barnes

When railway contractors found traces or ore along the tracks at mile 101 north of North Bay in 1903, they did not know what they had. Fred LaRose said it was some kind of damn metal. But what? They needed a rock doctor to figure it out.

In modern day Cobalt, just around the corner from the Lang Street hotel, on a dead end, there is a monument to the man who ‘read the story of the rocks’. Few people have heard the story of the moonlighting geologist it remembers, but without him, well, let’s just say Cobalt would have been a lot slower to develop. Continue Reading →

The Shy Philanthropist from Schumacher – Michael Barnes

They speak well of Fred Schumacher in the community which honours his name just outside of Timmins. He was well-to-do before he came to the gold camp and seems to have made money for fun there.

Born in Denmark in 1863, the young immigrant to the United States eventually became a pharmacist but he did not make drug dispensing his occupation. Instead he became a salesman and later married the daughter of the firm’s owner.

He founded his own patent medicine firm and became rich in the process. Then he decided he needed some excitement in his life and investigated the potential of the new gold-fields in Northern Ontario. Continue Reading →