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 was published in the January, 2011 issue.
Goldcorp Inc. is just months away from making a production decision to dig up the literal “heart of gold” a stone’s throw from downtown Timmins.
The Vancouver-based producer is working fervently through the winter months to build a case for a series of open pit mines at the very centre of the historic mining community, potentially making Timmins a unique portrait of modern mining in Ontario.
The project will carve out a patch of land just south of Highway 101, the main drag along which most of the city’s major commercial activity is located. The 250-acre property is surrounded by a pharmacy, a fast food outlet, a hotel, the Shania Twain Centre, the Gold Mine Tour and residential suburbs on two sides. The downtown core is across the street to the west.
This large area is the site of the shuttered but still treacherous underground Hollinger Mine, closed in 1968. Its hundreds of miles of tunnels have plagued the community with sinkholes and subsidences, creating a restricted wasteland and resulting in millions in property damage.
By mining out the area, Goldcorp stands to not only tap into the abandoned riches beneath the soil, but also to later transform it into safe, usable land. Like the issues surrounding the property itself, the new mining project is rife with logistical challenges, not the least of which involves determining what was left in the ground following nearly a century of mining.