Mine Money Triangle – By Leslie McFarlane (Maclean’s – April 15, 1938)

Inco Advertising 1939Prosperity, modernity, pioneer color and a relief problem
– You’ll find them all in the Big Three of Ontario mining

Considering Northern Ontario’s glittering triangle. At the apex, toward the eastern border of the province, lies Kirkland Lake; one hundred miles west and a little north, timmins; southward, along that invisible boundary that makes Ontario two provinces in one, Sudbury.

No communities in all of Canada are busier, none more prosperous. The same golden light shines on each. Close together geographically, speaking the same language of mines and mining in a score of tongues, with a common tradition of pioneer luck and labor and a common destiny in that their wealth is derived from the rock, it might seem that they would share a common personality. They don’t. They are too vital for that.

Each of the three communities is distinctive in its own right. Continue Reading →

Sudbury History – An Introduction

Sudbury is the richest mining district in North America and among the top ten most important globally. The region accounts for roughly half the mining production in the province of Ontario, the largest mineral producer in Canada. This prolific mining camp has been in continuous production for almost 130 years and many industry experts predict up to another century and a half of production.

The principal metal in the Sudbury region is nickel, an extraordinary substance that helped transform industrial society. Today nickel is essential to all facets of industrial manufacturing, primarily through stainless steel which uses about 70% of global production. The metal is found in over 300,000 products ranging from heart stents used in bypass surgery, to hybrid automobile batteries, jet engines and of course the kitchen sink.

Nickel’s unique properties include a combination of strength, hardness, ductility, resistance to corrosion and the ability to maintain strength under high heat. It can transfer these properties to other metals, making nickel absolutely essential for a wide variety of both civilian and military uses.

Yet, it was nickel’s critical role in military uses that thrust the Sudbury Basin mines into the geo-political spotlight, ensuring that the community’s history would be anything but dull.

During the war years (1939-45), International Nickel Co. of Canada, as it was known back then, and its employees in Sudbury and Port Colborne supplied 95% of all Allied demands for nickel–a vital raw material critical for the Allies’ final victory.

In fact, for much of the past century the key location for this essential metal was the legendary Sudbury Basin, with the South Pacific island of New Caledonia coming a distant second. During certain periods up to the mid-1970s, Sudbury supplied up to 90% of world demand.
Beginning this week I will be posting a few historic articles on the Sudbury nickel mines that were published by Macleans – often called the Canadian version of Time magazine. The writing is exceptional, and more importantly they give a great historical snapshot of how highly this community was thought of during those time periods.

In addition, later this week I will be introducing a Sudbury historian who has researched and written many columns on the community’s vibrant and exciting past.

Canadian Mining and Aboriginal Communities in Conflict – Glenn Nolan

Glenn Nolan - Chief of the Missanabie Cree First NationMining activity in Canada is on the rise due to higher metal prices and the metals shortage worldwide. According to Natural Resources Canada, “approximately 1,200 Aboriginal communities are located within 200 kilometres of producing mines and 2,100 exploration properties across Canada”.

Some of those communities have been participating in the industry through partnerships, joint ventures, and employment contracts in all aspects of mining ranging from early exploration projects to production mining. However, the majority of communities remain on the outside of development projects, some even resisting any aspect of development within their traditional lands. Continue Reading →

Glenn Nolan – An Introduction

Glenn Nolan is the Chief of the Missanabie Cree First Nation, located in northern Ontario. He is a strong advocate for sharing information between the mining industry and First Nation communities.

Nolan is a director at the Prospectors and Developer Association of Canada (PDAC) and has been recently voted to the position of second Vice-President. Nolan is also the co-chair of the Aboriginal Affairs committee, which promotes greater involvement and inclusion in the mining industry for First Nation communities.

He began his career in mining, prospecting for uranium in the NWT and Northern Saskatchewan before moving on to search for base and precious metals throughout Canada with his own geophysical survey company.

Nolan has been a member of the National Orphaned/Abandoned Mines Initiative for the past four years, where he continues to speak on behalf of the First Nation communities who are directly impacted by closed mines on or near their traditional territories.

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 →

Michael Barnes Columns – An Introduction

In addition to publishing 50 books, Michael Barnes has written many columns on the history of northern Ontario. Even today, this is a region of Canada that is not well known across the country.

With Michael Barnes’ permission, the Republic of Mining will be posting these columns on this site so a new digital generation can easily access his captivating tales of northern Ontario’s past.

His first column is about Fred Schumacher and the gold-mining region of the Porcupine in the early 1900s.

Michael Barnes – The Godfather of Northern Ontario History-Stan Sudol

Michael BarnesFor someone who has been retired since 1989, Michael Barnes has no intention of slowing down.

The author of 50 books and counting, most about Northern Ontario, Barnes has had a long and varied career that included a bus conductor, a bush cook in Ramsey, and a beer thrower in Wawa.

He has also been a CBC freelance broadcaster and newspaper columnist, both for a time in Sudbury. But his “real job” was a public school teacher and principal working in locations across the north and finally ending up in Kirkland Lake. Continue Reading →

FNX Mining – Sudbury Basin Success (Part Two) – Stan Sudol

Underground at McCreedy West - FNX Photo“We had the pick of the geologists’ crop in the depressed mining sector of 2002 and subsequently built one of the country’s biggest, youngest and most innovative exploration teams,” continues MacGibbon. “And with all that historical data, our fantastic computer- literate staff played a key role in helping us decide where to drill.”

Right from the beginning, this junior’s exploration mindset was on steroids. From 2002 to 2007 FNX will have spent more than $100 million on exploring its properties in the Sudbury Basin. Continue Reading →

FNX Mining- Sudbury Basin Success (Part One) – Stan Sudol

Terry MacGibbon, Executive Chair, FNX Mining Company Ltd. - FNX Photo“Our company has a strategic position in the trillion-dollar Sudbury Basin which by far, is the richest mining district in North America,” observes Terry MacGibbon, executive chair of FNX Mining Company Inc. “With China’s and eventually India’s voracious hunger for metals, expected to last for decades, the long-term growth and future of our company on solid ground.”

MacGibbon’s dedication to the region is proudly on display in the front lobby of the company’s University Ave. head office – adjacent to Toronto’s high-rise financial core where many of the country’s top mining analysts and investors work – with a bold eight-by-four sculpted wall hanging in the shape of the famous Sudbury Basin.

“Most Canadians don’t realize the Sudbury Basin is a global ‘metallic super power’ and that there are many incredibly rich mineral deposits still to be discovered here. This 120 year old mining camp will be producing nickel, copper and platinum for at least another century if not more,” he said.

With two operating mines on the north range of the Sudbury Basin, another mine ready for production in 2008 and two other promising deposits in the district, many have overlooked the phenomenal growth of FNX Mining.

Continue Reading →

Another Rumble in the Nickel Jungle? -Stan Sudol

Stan Sudol - Executive Speech Writer and Mining ColumnistWith such turmoil on global stock exchanges, one might wonder if Xstrata CEO Mick Davis and Vale CEO Roger Agnelli are trying to perform their proposed merger/takeover – difficult enough at the best of times – on the deck of a financial Titanic.

On Monday, many stock exchanges around the world witnessed the worst single day decline since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The TSX saw $90 billion evaporate while European exchanges wiped out $300 billion. In total, trillions of dollars in investment value were lost. The U.S. exchanges were closed for a holiday.

The “American contagion” as many are calling this stock market slaughter – due to the U.S. subprime mortgage fiasco and collapsing property values – continued Tuesday morning around the world including American exchanges. Continue Reading →

2008 Canadian Mining Hall of Fame – Twenty years and going strong – Stan Sudol

Pierre Lassonde, Chairman of Franco-Nevada Corp. and the World Gold CouncilThe Canadian Mining Hall of Fame (CMHF) celebrated its 20th anniversary with a star-studded line-up of industry movers and shakers on January 17th 2008, at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel in downtown Toronto. The annual dinner and induction ceremony is one of the social highlights of the mining industry which has a lot to be celebrating about this year in addition to the five new members that were inducted that evening – Carroll O. Brawner, Johannes J. Brummer, Ernest Craig, Chester F. Millar and David A. Thompson.

In total, including this year’s inductees, 135 individuals have been honored for their outstanding lifetime achievements to the benefit of the country’s minerals industry.

Many people and politicians still think the mining sector is a boring, polluting, low-tech industry that should be delegated to the dustbins of history. A quick review of the many prospectors, metallurgists, geo-scientists, and corporate financiers in the hall of fame, whose discoveries and technological advances have made Canada a global mining powerhouse, would quickly change those negative perceptions of the industry.

Ed Thompson, Mining Consultant; Nean Allman, CMHF Coordinator; Doug Donnelly, Publisher, Northern MinerStories of intense courage, guts, greed and glory. Stories of passionate believers with quiet and tenacious determination. Stubborn characters who would not give up. These are the people who helped populate our isolated north, created enormous amounts of shareholder and corporate wealth and jobs for hundreds of thousands if not millions of Canadians.

That is why the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame is so important. It is the keeper of the flame ensuring that the next generation understands and is justifiably proud of the enormous contributions and debt we owe to those that preceded us.

The four main sponsors of the Hall of Fame are the Northern Miner, the Mining Association of Canada (MAC), the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) and the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM) which also publishes an industry magazine. Continue Reading →

CARROLL O. BRAWNER (BORN 1929) – 2008 Canadian Mining Hall of Fame Inductee

Carroll O. Brawner

The Canadian Mining Hall of Fame honours the mine finders and developers who helped develop our northern and rural regions and created enormous wealth for the country. For more exciting profiles on the individual who made Canada a global mining powerhouse, go to: http://www.halloffame.mining.ca/halloffame/

Carroll O. (“Chuck”) Brawner is known and respected worldwide for his contributions to open-pit mining and geotechnical engineering.

He earned his reputation as a foremost authority in these fields as the result of professional experience gained over half a century in no less than 40 nations and all the world’s continents, including Antarctica. In 1963, he co-founded a consulting firm that provided technical assistance to hundreds of open-pit mines and mineral projects in Canada and around the world. Golder Brawner and Associates subsequently evolved into Golder Associates, an internationally recognized firm with multi-disciplinary expertise. Continue Reading →

JOHANNES J. BRUMMER (1921-2005) – 2008 Canadian Mining Hall of Fame Inductee

Johannes J. Brummer

The Canadian Mining Hall of Fame honours the mine finders and developers who helped develop our northern and rural regions and created enormous wealth for the country. For more exciting profiles on the individual who made Canada a global mining powerhouse, go to: http://www.halloffame.mining.ca/halloffame/

Johannes J. (“Joe”) Brummer was one of Canada’s most accomplished exploration geologists. During a multi-faceted career that began with great promise in Africa’s Copper Belt and spanned five eventful decades in Canada, he continually pioneered the development of innovative exploration techniques in the fields of geochemistry, Pleistocene geology and geophysics. His openness to innovation and willingness to employ new and original exploration techniques and geological theories contributed to the discovery of at least 10 mines or mineral deposits on two continents.

Continue Reading →

ERNEST CRAIG (1888-1960) – 2008 Canadian Mining Hall of Fame Inductee

Ernest Craig

ErnesThe Canadian Mining Hall of Fame honours the mine finders and developers who helped develop our northern and rural regions and created enormous wealth for the country. For more exciting profiles on the individual who made Canada a global mining powerhouse, go to: http://www.halloffame.mining.ca/halloffame/

t Craig was the first general manager of Falconbridge Nickel Mines, building a mine and a townsite in the late 1920s that became the foundation for the international powerhouse that now operates under the Xstrata banner. One of 12 children born in Kearney, Ont., Craig left school early in search of employment. He found his calling at age 19, when he began working in the emerging mining camps of Eastern Canada.

As he helped build and manage various mines, his talents caught the attention of the legendary mine-finder, Thayer Lindsley, who appointed him the first general manager of Falconbridge Nickel Mines in 1928, the year the company was founded. Continue Reading →

CHESTER F. MILLAR (BORN 1927) – 2008 Canadian Mining Hall of Fame Inductee

Chester Millar

The Canadian Mining Hall of Fame honours the mine finders and developers who helped develop our northern and rural regions and created enormous wealth for the country. For more exciting profiles on the individual who made Canada a global mining powerhouse, go to: http://www.halloffame.mining.ca/halloffame/

Chester Millar launched an illustrious career in the mining industry in the mid-1960s by discovering a copper-gold deposit that became the highly successful Afton mine, near Kamloops, B.C. He founded Afton Mines intending to develop his discovery, but the company was ultimately acquired on the open market by Teck Corp. (now Teck Cominco), which operated the open-pit mine from 1987 until its closure in 1997.

Continue Reading →