[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: chipmartin@sympatico.ca.

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.

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The people vs gold – a global battleground – by Lawrence Williams (Mineweb.com – November 29, 2011)


Recent public opposition to gold mining developments in Peru and in Bulgaria are indicative of a trend towards opposition to new mines which are accused of threatening water supplies.

LONDON – More and more it seems that local populations, perhaps stirred-up  by often misleading information from environmental activists, are protesting – sometimes violently – against the establishment of significant gold mining operations in their areas.

For example, in Peru, there is an ongoing protest by the citizens of Cajamarca against the development of the Newmont/Buenaventura $3.4 billion Minas Conga gold mine while in Europe’s Balkan region the citizens of the town of Krumovgrad in Bulgaria are currently conducting  a campaign against the development of an open pit gold mine by Dundee Precious Metals.  Both these to an extent also pit the locals against central government which sees the potential benefits of the respective mining operations to their revenues and in terms of increased employment.

The above protests revolve around water supply concerns, as have a number of other recent protests against mining operations.  In the case of Minas Conga, this is something of an embarrassment to Peru’s left-leaning new President, Ollanta Humala, whose government has so far supported the mining companies in this particular case because of its potential importance to the economy.

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A giant step in the mining agreement process [Goldcorp and Cree Nation of Wemindji] – by J. Borsato (CIM Magazine – May, 2011)

Founded in 1898, the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM) is a technical society of professionals in the Canadian minerals, metals, materials and energy industries.

Cree Nation sets the tone for future collaborations with mining industry

Mineral exploration and development in Canada typically occur in close proximity to Aboriginal communities. The positive impact such activities have on these communities are significant on many levels – agreements with First Nations on mining-related projects can result in job creation, skills training and economic growth at both the local and regional level.

If approached in a proactive, respectful and responsible way, companies can tip the balance in favour of a harmonious and profitable partnership. Moreover, when a First Nation is proactive in its negotiations, it is not only a recipe for success, it is a model to be emulated.

Historically, impact benefit agreements (IBAs) existed as bilateral agreements between the government and an Aboriginal community, to ensure local rights are respected and that employment opportunities are created for the people in the community.

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Chief has concerns with gold project – by Chris Ribau (Timmins Daily Press – November 15, 2011)

Location of Sold Gold Resources discovery sparks questions from First Nation

The Wahgoshig First Nation has expressed concerns over a exploration project close to the borders of their community. It’s concerns centre on Solid Gold Resource Corporation and their exploration of an area immediately north of the Porcupine Destor Fault zone at Lake Abitibi.

“Our territory covers basically south of Lake Abitibi,” said David Babin, chief of the Wahgoshig First Nation. “Our territory is about 12 miles long and three miles wide. Basically starting from Twin Lakes to three miles east. They’re not in our boundaries, but they’re just outside of them.”

Babin is concerned about keeping the historical significance of the area undisturbed and intact, as well as maintaining their culture and way of life.

“What we want is to make sure they adhere to some of our values within the area,” said Babin. “We have burial sites, artifacts in the area, and members of the community collect medicine for the community from the territory.”

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[Kinross Gold] Good times in the gulag – by Paul Christopher Webster (Globe and Mail – Report on Business Magazine – April, 2011)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

Vladimir Putin, Tye Burt and Kinross’s Gold Rush in Siberia

Looking like a luxury liner that took a wrong turn somewhere in the Pacific, the living quarters at the Kupol mine stand in surreal contrast to the surrounding moonscape of snow, ice and searing wind. Built largely in Alberta and trucked here to northeastern Russia from a port on the Arctic Ocean, the facility, which is operated by Toronto-based Kinross Gold Corp., boasts a huge gym, exercise rooms, high-speed Internet, extensive entertainment facilities and two spacious restaurants serving nearly 30 tonnes a month of remarkably palatable food.

Workers, who are flown in for four- to six-week stints from the city of Magadan, 1,200 kilometres to the south, peg their shift schedules to Sunday shashlik dinners. “I’ve never seen anything like this anywhere,” says Anatoly Orlinsky, a veteran of Russian resource development who runs Kupol’s power plant. “If this is the future for mining in my country,” he says with conviction, “it gives me hope.”

Here on Russia’s remote northeastern frontier, Kinross has secured its own private El Dorado just as gold prices head for the stratosphere. After 15 years of battling investor doubts about Russia, startling logistical improbabilities and sinister patches of resistance in a region first developed by prisoners of the Soviet gulags, Kinross has captured a prized part of Canada’s Cold War peace dividend.

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[Kinross Gold] The gold standard for safety – by Mary Teresa Bitti (National Post – November 4, 2011)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

 Toronto-based Kinross Gold Corp. is a $17-billion market cap company with 8,000 employees in 10 countries on four continents. Its annual gold production is about 2.7 million ounces and it has more than 100 million ounces of aggregate gold and resources. It is one of the largest gold producers in the world and is working on a series of new gold mines that will also make Kinross the fastest-growing gold company in the world.

Kinross president and CEO Tye Burt says the company’s corporate culture is the adhesive that has allowed it to operate and grow safely and successfully, and that crosses cultures and geographies to link employees together and keep them focused on the same goal.

“Our culture starts from our four core values: putting people first, outstanding corporate citizenship, high performance and rigorous financial discipline,” Mr. Burt says. “These values define our top priorities. We try to live those values every day and reward our folks accordingly.

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[Kirkland Lake] Canada’s Mile of Gold regains its luster – by Euan Rocha (Reuters Canada – November 3, 2011)

KIRKLAND LAKE, Ontario (Reuters) – With a gleam in his eyes, Sidney Hamden recalls the glory days of Kirkland Lake, the little Canadian mining town in northern Ontario that was long ago dubbed “The Mile of Gold”.

Hamden, a spry 82-year-old, remembers his first big break in 1947 at the Lake Shore mine, then one of the deepest gold mines in the world, producing 8.5 million ounces between 1918 and 1965.

“We had seven mines. I personally don’t know of any other place that had seven major mines within a radius of two miles,” said Hamden. “If I’m not mistaken, in 1948 there were approximately 50 different places to buy groceries around town. We had 17 different hotels in the Kirkland Lake area alone.” But Kirkland Lake’s fortunes waned through the 1950s and 1960s, as costs rose and the price of gold stagnated.

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[Goldcorp’s Timmins] Site rehab near completion – by Chris Ribau (Timmins Daily Press – November 3, 2011)

The Daily Press is the city of Timmins broadsheet newspaper.

Goldcorp officials provide update on reclamation project

Life has returned to the Hollinger tailings area. A black bear and two cubs were seen roaming a grassy area that used to resemble a lunar landscape only 18 months ago.

Goldcorp Porcupine Gold Mines announced on Wednesday that Phase 2 of the Hollinger Tailings Management Area Rehabilitation Project will be completed by the end of November.

Phase 1 of the project began in 2009 and has been a high priority for the company given the acid-generating nature of the tailings.

Phase 2 of the project has focused on relocating all remaining tailings from private lands onto the Goldcorp’s Hollinger tailings facility, the final cleanup and chemical stabilization treatment of the McIntyre Concentration Dump, constructing a 1,100-metre drainage channel, completing work on the Hollinger (Gillies) Tailing Pond slopes and installing shoreline erosion protection.

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Family story provides literary gold [Kirkland Lake history] -by Laura Stricker (Sudbury Star – November 3, 2011)

The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.

A man takes his wife on a cruise around the world. A month later, she discovers his mistress on board and gets revenge on her husband the best way she can think of — by beating him and giving him a black eye.

The man in question was Ernie Martin, a prospector who came to Canada from England hoping to strike it rich. Ernie, who was worth $13 million in 1936, is rarely mentioned in history books and his story has never been told. Until now.

Brian Martin, a London Free Press journalist and author, penned Ernie’s Gold: A Prospect Tale, a book about the o r’s prospector’s life and how he made his money. He was in Sudbury on Wednesday for two public events at the Mackenzie Street branch of the Greater Sudbury Public Library.

“Ernie’s Gold is a story about Ernie Martin, who is my great uncle, my grandfather’s brother.

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Finding the golden lining [Nuinsco Resources] – by Thomas Watson (Canadian Business Magazine – October 19, 2011)


Executives from Nuinsco Resources, a Toronto-based mineral exploration company, recently checked in to the Corinthia Hotel in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum. The oval-shaped structure is known locally as Gadhafi’s Egg; its construction was financed by the notorious Libyan leader. The executives were there to pursue mining opportunities in Sudan, a country with a rough reputation in the Canadian business community and where, until recently, only mad dictators would consider investing in real estate.

For more than two decades, Sudan has been ruled by the Islamist government of Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir, who spent decades locked in a brutal civil war with Christian separatists in the south. Accused of genocide in the country’s Darfur region, al-Bashir is officially listed as a sponsor of terror by the United States and wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged crimes against humanity.

Nevertheless, he earned some credit for allowing the referendum that recently led to an independent South Sudan and effectively ended the country’s war. But Sudan must now confront a severe economic crisis. The country’s annualized rate of inflation was 21% in August, and its division this summer handed the south custody of most oil assets. As a result, the nation is looking to expand its minerals industry.

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Exploration company issues donation challenge – By Chris Ribau (Timmins Daily Press – October 28, 2011)

The Daily Press is the city of Timmins broadsheet newspaper.

Solid Gold Resources Corporation contributes to 2012 Timmins Centennial Legacy Project

The management of Solid Gold Resources Corporation took the opportunity Thursday to demonstrate their commitment to the community and also honour the pioneers who initiated one of the largest ever gold rushes ever.

The company donated $1,000 to the Porcupine Prospectors and Developers Association in support of the 2012 Timmins Centennial Legacy Project. The project aims to erect three bronze statues honouring John S. Wilson, Sandy McIntyre and Benjamin Hollinger.

“It is a privilege to be part of the Timmins 100th anniversary celebration,” said Darryl Stretch, president of Solid Gold. “Names like Wilson, McIntyre and Hollinger are synonymous with the spectacular discoveries that launched one of the biggest gold rushes in history and led to the founding of Timmins in 1912.”

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Solid future for gold firm – by Chris Ribau (Timmins Daily Press – October 28, 2011)

The Daily Press is the city of Timmins broadsheet newspaper.

Solid Gold Resources announces major gold find by Abitibi Lake

Drill testing near Lake Abitibi could prove the potential for a new gold camp.

Solid Gold Resources Corporation began staking mineral claims around the south end of Lake Abitibi in 2007 when they saw the possibility of good things happening in the gold industry.

“As we went forward in doing our work we realized that there was more perspective ground around us so we claimed up some more,” said Darryl Stretch, president of Solid Gold. “We have just over 200 square kilometres. It’s a very large land package.”

Northeastern Ontario has been a prolific mining area for over a century and is famous world wide as a place where world class deposits are found, explained Stretch.

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Gold miners bump up their dividends – by Brenda Bouw (Globe and Mail – October 23, 2011)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

VANCOUVER – Gold miners are sweetening their shareholder payouts in an attempt to lure investors as they dive back into the precious metal.

Barrick Gold Corp. and Newmont Mining Corp. two of the world’s top producers, announced increases to their dividends on Wednesday, while Goldcorp Inc. hinted a hike is in the works.

Gold companies traditionally have paid low dividends, but they’re stepping up payouts as they compete for investors in the precious metals industry.

More investors are turning to gold as a haven amid turmoil in global financial markets, which stems from worries about a replay of the last global recession.

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Native communities playing catch-up [in mining sector] – by Ryan Lux (Timmins Daily Press – October 26, 2011)

The Daily Press, the city of Timmins newspaper.

Chiefs say they could have benefited from information offered at summit

When Detour Mine initiated talks to re-start operations in Mattagami First Nation territory, Chief Walter Naveau says the band lacked the expertise to properly engage in those early negotiations. Naveau said the community leader would have benefited from the type of information being offered at this week’s Mining Ready Summit.

First Nation leaders from across the Northeast along with mining company representatives have gathered in Timmins for two days to share expertise and collaborate on the future of resource development in traditional territories.

Looking back, Naveau said, “Initially, we were in a place where we weren’t too sure what was happening in terms of duty to consult. Then we started looking to our treaty rights and spoke with lawyers and consultants.”

He said it has been hard to keep up with the pace of development when his community started off with a deficit of mining knowledge.

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Timmins mining activity created a buzz in 1915 – by Karen Bachmann (Timmins Daily Press – October 22, 2011)

The Daily Press, the city of Timmins newspaper.

Karen Bachmann is the director/curator of the Timmins Museum and a local author.

HISTORY: Social activities also made big news in the Porcupine Camp

Out and about in the Porcupine in 1915 – here are a few items (OK, some serious, some gossip) that made the papers that year. Front page news for June of that year included the exciting announcement that the mill at Schumacher Mines was to be completed by July, and that they were very quickly sinking another 200 feet at the mine (they had already sank 300 feet).

Fifty men were working underground with another 14 on the surface, but it was predicted that many more men could look forward to steady employment at the site.

Not to be outdone, Pike Lake Gold Mines in Deloro Township, run out of New York City, was actively exploiting their six claims. A bunkhouse, kitchen, blacksmith’s shop and office were built. Twenty men were hired to sink the initial shaft by hand and to build the road into the property, located about four miles south of South Porcupine.

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