Archive | Kirkland Lake

Along the Blacktop of Riches: The Abitibi-Greenstone Belt – by Charlie Angus (1999)

Excerpt from Industrial Cathedrals of the North written by Charlie Angus and photographed by Louie Palu (1999)

To order a copy of Industrial Cathedrals of the North, please go to Between the Lines press.

Take a drive along the blacktop as Highway 66 turns into 117 and you’ll be taking a drive over one of the richest geological treasures in the world. The highway forms the lower part of a belt of riches known as the Abitibi-Greenstone belt. Over 140 million ounces of gold have been mined from the belt, a feat unparalleled anywhere except in the gold fields of South Africa. The belt is made up of two parallel fault lines running east-west from Ontario into Quebec. The northern edge of the belt – the Porcupine-Destor Fault – runs from the Porcupine along Highway 101 to Destor, Quebec, while the lower fault – the Larder-Cadillac Break – runs from Matachewan, Ontario along 66 towards Val d’Or, Quebec. The fault lines have been the source of some of Canada’s biggest gold mines. The ground between the faults is host to numerous base metal deposits.

The Larder-Cadillac Break is as much a social line as it is a geological formation. The fault runs straight through the heart of many historic gold camps: Matachewan, Kirkland Lake, Larder Lake, V-Town, Rouyn-Noranda, McWatters, Cadillac, Malarctic and Val d’Or. The Abitibi-Greenstone belt has created a natural east-west link across the two provinces. Communities along the fault lines share common links of history, work and identity. Indeed the whole opening up of Northwestern Quebec to mining is a direct result of the movement of prospectors and miners along the lines of the Abitibi-Greenstone belt.

Prospector Ed Horne played a pivotal role in this early development. Before the first World War he was prospecting in Gowganda, Kirkland Lake and the Porcupine. He then moved along the westerly axis from the Kirkland-Larder camps into the Lake Osisko region of Rouyn Township, Quebec. Continue Reading →

Master Plan To Destroy Northern Ontario – by Gregory Reynolds (Highgrader Magazine – Summer 2011)

This column was originally published in the Late Summer, 2011 issue of Highgrader Magazine which is committed to serve the interests of northerners by bringing the issues, concerns and culture of the north to the world through the writings and art of award-winning journalists as well as talented freelance artists, writers and photographers.

The recent annual meeting of Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities (FONOM) heard a great deal of comment, and concern, expressed about the Ontario government’s love affair with Greater Sudbury and Thunder Bay. Speakers claimed these two cities appear to be favoured when the Liberal government of Dalton McGuinty doles out assistance to the North.

That the two largest centres are special, even privileged, should not have been a surprise to those in attendance.

Members of Timmins city council should have been least surprised since famous prospector, and equally famous outspoken advocate for Northern Ontario, Don McKinnon presented each of them with two documents in 2004: The Master Plan to Destroy Northern Ontario; and Addendum to The Master Plan to Destroy Northern Ontario. Continue Reading →

An Ontario gold rush – by Christina Blizzard (Toronto Sun – June 10, 2011)

Christina Blizzard is the Queen’s Park columnist for the Toronto Sun, the city’s daily tabloid newspaper.  [email protected]

Remember a couple of years ago, Premier Dalton McGuinty said this province
 could no longer count on “pulling stuff out of the ground” for jobs? All goes to
show just how wrong he was. And how out of touch, not just with northern Ontario,
but with the economy. (Christina Blizzard – June 10, 2011)

Mining companies spending billions here in search of riches. So why did Dalton McGuinty blow them off?

Skyrocketing world gold prices are providing a boost to this province’s northern economy, as mining companies look to old mines in search of the precious metal.

Detour Lake gold mine, near Cochrane, will be the largest gold mine in Canada when it starts production in 2013. Based on today’s spot gold price, it will generate more than $1 billion a year for 21 years, says Detour Gold President and CEO Gerald Panneton.

And while the price of gold, like all resources, fluctuates, he says gold’s been around for 6,000 years and it’s here to stay. “People have tried to push it away and then get rid of it, but it always came back,” Panneton said in an interview.

Gold is tough to replace and is the most versatile, malleable element you can find. “If you try to accumulate value in silver or copper or zinc, you’ll need a huge warehouse,” he said. Continue Reading →

A golden opportunity [Northern Ontario mining] – by Jasmine Budak (Maclean’s – November 1, 2010)

Maclean’s, the most influential current affairs magazine in Canada, covers national and international politics, business, social issues and culture on a weekly basis. This article was published November 1, 2010.

The sky-high price of gold has sparked a modern-day rush to Ontario’s mining towns

With the price of gold currently hovering around US$1,300 an ounce—up 45 per cent since early 2009—Ontario’s mining towns are exhibiting the classic symptoms of a boom: inflated house prices, overbooked hotels, frantic construction, labour shortages and a collective sense of optimism after decades in a slump. Across the province’s northern gold belt, defunct mines are being revived and exploration activity has taken an almost frenzied pace, the product of gold being an investment safe haven amid global economic uncertainty and a weak U.S. dollar.

 “I’ve been here a long time,” says Brock Greenwell, statistical analyst for Ontario’s Ministry of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry. “And 2010 is looking like a record year for gold exploration. It’s unprecedented.”

There are 12 gold mines operating in Ontario, with four more slated to start production by 2012. And, with exploration expenditures for precious metals—mostly gold—expected to exceed $620 million this year in the province (compared with $389 million in 2009), it’s a safe bet that more mines will follow. “It’s an absolute boom,” says Bill Greenway, economic development officer for the municipality of Red Lake. “There are 40-plus exploration companies here at any given time.” Continue Reading →

Unique partnership provides niche mine training in Kirkland Lake – by Adelle Lamour

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 column was published in the April 2011 issue.

Hard Rock Miner Training program helps address shortage of skilled miners.

With a hand from Kirkland Lake Gold Inc., Northern College is helping to address the industry’s shortage of skilled miners with its Underground Hard Rock Miner Common Core training program. Created through a partnership between the school and the mid-tier gold miner, the program has provided an opportunity for those returning to the North in search of permanent full-time employment.

“It is so gratifying to see those who are highly motivated and never had a chance of getting in…this is their big break,” said Rose-Lyne D’Aoust-Messier, training consultant of apprenticeship, workforce development and training at Northern College’s Kirkland Lake campus.

It is one of two institutions in northeastern Ontario that offers this type of training for people not privately employed by a mining company. In mid-February, 12 students graduated from the program, six of which have already been scooped up by Kirkland Lake Gold. Continue Reading →

OMA member profile: Kirkland Lake Gold-new mines for old sites

This article was provided by the Ontario Mining Association (OMA), an organization that was established in 1920 to represent the mining industry of the province.


Ontario Mining Association member Kirkland Lake Gold is expanding its precious metals production not just at a former mine site but on the foundations of its name sake gold mining community.  Kirkland Lake Gold, which has more than 600 employees, is involved in a $56 million-plus capital expenditure program to increase its gold production from 50,000 ounces per year to 200,000 ounces per year by 2012.

Kirkland Lake Gold from its South Mine Complex is building on the legacy of the ground mined by five of the seven former gold operations that made Kirkland Lake famous and produced more than 24 million ounces of gold.  This is the first time properties in the Kirkland Lake area have been consolidated with a single owner.

The new gold miner controls the five westernmost mine sites in the Kirkland Lake mile of gold.  From west to east, the mines are Macassa, Kirkland Minerals, Tech-Hughes, Lake Shore and Wright-Hargreaves.  The distance from Macassa to Wright-Hargreaves is about seven kilometres.  The Sylvanite Mine, which operated from 1927 to 1961 and the Toburn Mine, which operated from 1913 to 1953, lay to the east of Kirkland Lake Gold’s consolidated property.   Continue Reading →

Life in Kirkland Lake during World War II – by Michael Barnes

The following is an excerpt from Michael Barnes’ new book: Gold in Kirkland Lake, published by General Store Publishing House, and available for $29.95. Contact the author at

After the war in Europe commenced, the bright spot in Ontario’s Kirkland Lake gold camp area was the Kerr Addison mine in Virginiatown, which by 1941 was able to ramp up milling to 1,200 tons per day.

Over at Larder Lake, the Omega mine payroll had not raised much over the past few years, with muckers and labourers earning $4.64 a day and track and lamp men $5.20, while the main official in charge underground, the mine captain, took top dollar at $8.70.

On the surface, Kirkland Lake was busy and in good economic health. The town’s population had now dropped to 21,500 and seen 1,600 men go to serve their country in the armed forces, and some miners had left to work in war-related industries.

In the patriotic fervour that gained strength after the declaration of war, there was a move by some southern-based citizens to change the name of Swastika to what they thought would be a more politically acceptable “Winston,” honouring the wartime British leader. Continue Reading →

Housing bonanza hits a snag in booming Kirkland Lake – by Nick Stewart

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 March, 2011 issue.

Low assessments, high development costs pose major challenges

The explosive need for new homes in Kirkland Lake is being thwarted by low assessment values and expensive infrastructure improvements. After years of wishing for opportunities to grow its dwindling population, the City of Kirkland Lake is struggling to accommodate the thousands of people soon to be pounding on its doors.

With low assessment values and limited finances, the municipality largely lacks the resources it needs to build out the infrastructure that has suddenly become necessary to house a strong influx of mining workers. Estimates provided by the city indicate that 2,000 full-time production workers will be in place by 2013, with an additional 1,500 needed through development and construction of new projects.

“It’s really ironic, because 10 years ago, we were sitting at a table with the senior levels of government and saying, ‘We’re dying, we need your help,’ and we were told there were no programs in place to help us,” said Wilfred Hass, the city’s economic development officer. Continue Reading →

Kirkland Lake gold district seeing strong activity – by Nick Stewart

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 March, 2011 issue.

Gold adding a shine to exploration

As a camp which has lived and died on the back of gold, it’s perhaps no surprise that the Kirkland Lake district is thriving on the fortunes of the precious metal. Related exploration continues to shine in the region, as more and more drills are put into the ground to suss out the next major gold deposit or resource expansion.

“With the price of gold being between $1,300 and $1,400 an ounce, it makes it pretty easy to raise money on the market for gold projects,” said Gary Grabowski, resident regional ge­ologist for the Kirkland Lake district. “That’s what’s being looked at here, as you can imagine. Kirkland Lake is about gold.”

To put it into perspective, Grabowski says that the value of assessment work filed for the district in 2010 was $19 million; comparatively, it reached $27 million in 2009 and $17 million in 2008. “In previous years, we used to think if we got $8 million to $10 million that it was a really good year.” Continue Reading →

Governments should fund railroad to Ontario’s Ring of Fire mining camp – by Stan Sudol

Temiskaming & Northern Ontario Railway at the turn of the last century

This column was published in the March 17, 2011 issue of Northern Life.

Stan Sudol is a Toronto-based communications consultant who writes extensively on mining issues. [email protected]

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

“In the next 25 years, demand for metals could meet or exceed what we have used
since the beginning of the industrial revolution. By way of illustration, China needs to
build three cities larger than Sydney or Toronto every year until 2030 to accommodate
rural to urban growth.” (John McGagh, Rio Tinto – Head of Innovation)

Commodity Super Cycle is Back

The commodity super cycle is back, and with a vengeance. China, India, Brazil, Indonesia and many other developing economies are continuing their rapid pace of industrialization and urbanization. In 2010, China overtook Japan to become the world’s second largest economy and surpassed the United States to become the biggest producer of cars.

During a recent speech in Calgary, Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of Canada remarked, “Commodity markets are in the midst of a supercycle. …Rapid urbanization underpins this growth. Since 1990, the number of people living in cities in China and India has risen by nearly 500 million, the equivalent of housing the entire population of Canada 15 times over. …Even though history teaches that all booms are finite, this one could go on for some time.”

At the annual economics conference in Davos, Switzerland, held last January – where the most respected world leaders in politics, economics and academia gather – the consensus was one of enormous global prosperity predicting that, “For only the third time since the Industrial Revolution, the world may be entering a long-term growth cycle that will lift all economies simultaneously…”

John McGagh, head of innovation, at Rio Tinto – the world’s third largest mining company – has said, “In the next 25 years, demand for metals could meet or exceed what we have used since the beginning of the industrial revolution. By way of illustration, China needs to build three cities larger than Sydney or Toronto every year until 2030 to accommodate rural to urban growth. This equates to the largest migration of population from rural to urban living in the history of mankind.”

The isolated Ring of Fire mining camp, located in the James Bay lowlands of Ontario’s far north, is one of the most exciting and possibly the richest new Canadian mineral discovery made in over a generation. It has been compared to both the Sudbury Basin and the Abitibi Greenstone belt, which includes Timmins, Kirkland Lake, Noranda and Val d’Or.

Continue Reading →

Commentary on Mining Watch: Ring of Fire Report – by Stan Sudol


Map Courtsey KWG

Stan Sudol is a Toronto-based communications consultant who writes extensively about the mining industry. [email protected]

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

“In the next 25 years, demand for metals could meet or exceed what we have used
since the beginning of the industrial revolution. By way of illustration, China needs to
build three cities larger than Sydney or Toronto every year until 2030 to accommodate
rural to urban growth. This equates to the largest migration of population from rural to
urban living in the history of mankind.” (John McGagh, Rio Tinto – Head of Innovation)

Mining Watch Reputation 

Mining Watch was established in 1999 in response to the actions of Canadian exploration companies operating in Latin America and other jurisdictions in the developing world.

As stated on their website, “MiningWatch Canada … addresses the urgent need for a co-ordinated public interest response to the threats to public health, water and air quality, fish and wildlife habitat and community interests posed by irresponsible mineral policies and practices in Canada and around the world.”

In contrast to many in the mining sector I find a few of Mining Watch’s criticism’s legitimate and they have worked cooperatively with the industry in Ontario. In 2008, Mining Watch in conjunction with the Ontario Mining Association supported the amendment of the Ontario Mining Act that enabled companies to voluntarly rehabilitation mine sites even thought they had no legal requirments to do so. 

Recently, Mining Watch has issued a report titled, “Economic analysis of the Ring of Fire chromite mining play”. It was written by former Sudbury resident and well-known social activist Joan Kuyek. While the report covers a wide range of topics, I would like to focus on some important issues that have been downplayed or omitted, primarily the current state of mining, geo-politics and a history of enormous wealth creation from the mineral sector due to government infrastructure support.  Continue Reading →

Battle of the Canadian Gold Rushes: Klondike Versus Northern Ontario – by Stan Sudol

Stan Sudol is a Toronto-based communications consultant, who writes extensively about mining issues.([email protected])

The Yukon Klondike

I have a small complaint about Canadian mining history or more importantly, our media coverage of past gold rushes. The Yukon Klondike gold rush of 1896-1899 seems to take all the glory – thanks to writers like Jack London, Robert W. Service and Canadian literary icon, Pierre Berton – while northern Ontario’s four globally significant gold/silver discoveries in the first half of the last century do not get the historical respect they deserve.

The initial Klondike discovery, on August 16, 1896, at a fish camp near the junction of the Yukon and Klondike rivers, is credited to George Carmack and his Tagish Indian brothers-in-law, Skookum Jim Mason and Dawson (Tagish) Charlie. Robert Henderson, a Nova Scotia prospector is credited as a cofounder, since it was on his advice that the discovery was made, however he made no money from the find.

At the height of the rush, Dawson City, the main staging town at the mouth of the Klondike River had a booming population of about 30,000 and was known as the most cosmopolitan city west of Winnipeg and north of Vancouver.  Due to its isolation, all the claims had been staked by the time most people finally arrived. Some of the most memorable photographs from the period show a thin line of thousands of people climbing the legendary Chilkoot Pass – the shortest but most difficult route to the goldfields – bringing the required year’s supply of food and living material.

Fortunes were made and lost in Dawson City’s “rip-roaring” frontier atmosphere where prostitutes were tolerated and nearly everyone was on the lookout for charlatans and con men. Many became rich just supplying services to the stampeders.  In total, about 12.5 million ounces of gold was produced during this short-lived rush that lasted for less than a decade. Continue Reading →

Celebration Set for Historic Kirkland Lake Toburn Gold Mine – by Marilyn Scales

Marilyn Scales is a field editor for the Canadian Mining Journal, Canada’s first mining publication. She is one of Canada’s most senior mining commentators.

The first gold mine in Kirkland Lake, ON, is reopening this summer, not as a producer but as a monument to the early days of prospecting in Ontario’s North. The hunt for gold was filled with characters — “Swift” Burnside, the Tough brothers, Sir Harry Oakes and Bill Wright — all eager to make a profit on the next great gold mine. Part of their legacy is the headframe of the Toburn mine that began commercial production in 1913.

The Toburn mine struggled along with a 90-t/d stamp mill from 1913 to 1931. Then Toburn Gold Mines Ltd. was incorporated and installed a new, larger mill, which operated until 1953. A total of 1.1 million tonnes of ore grading almost 17.0 g/t Au (0.5 opt) was treated. 

The site was abandoned after mining ceased and reverted to the Crown. In 2006 the Northern Prospectors Association set about acquiring the last remaining original headframe on the “Mile of Gold”. Project funding was contributed by individuals, corporations and public institutions. Two years later, the Town of Kirkland Lake acquired the property and the Toburn Operating Authority was created to oversee its rebirth as a tourist and learning destination.

Continue Reading →

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.

Continue Reading →

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.

Continue Reading →