Tag Archives | gold mining

The Northern Miner’s 1991 “Mining Man of the Year” Margaret (Peggy) Witte – by Vivian Danielson

Since 1915, the Northern Miner weekly newspaper has chronicled Canada’s globally significant mining sector.

When Margaret (Peggy) Witte launched her initiative to acquire and revitalize the Pamour group companies in late 1990, it was perceived in some circles as being overly ambitious if not foolhardy.

Gold prices were weak, and skeptics pointed out that she was acquiring aging, labor-intensive gold mines with production costs near US$400 per oz. And the investment community had little interest in the money-losing Giant and Pamour mines or in the complex structure of the various companies. But Witte surprised critics by completing the $35-million acquisition during a period of weak financial markets. By the summer of 1991, she managed to merge the companies into a new entity, Royal Oak Mines (TSE), which produces 200,000 oz. gold annually from operations in Yellowknife, N.W.T., and Timmins, Ont. More importantly, the restructured company is now profitable, debt-free, positioned for growth, and attracting investor interest. For this remarkable turnaround and for other accomplishments, The Northern Miner has named Witte, 38, its “Mining Man of the Year” for 1991. She is the first woman to receive the award.

Those who know Witte attribute her success to qualities that know no gender; intelligence, determination, hard work, and the ability to lead and inspire. She is charismatic without being flamboyant, and her dynamism is tempered by a practical, down-to-earth attitude that inspires confidence. She is backed by a solid team of mining professionals, including long-time business partner Ross Burns, Royal Oak’s vice-president of exploration.

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Hopes Fades for Crystallex’s Las Cristinas Gold Project – by Marilyn Scales

Marilyn Scales - Canadian Mining JournalMarilyn 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 history of the Las Cristinas gold project that CRYSTALLEX INTERNATIONAL of Toronto has tried to lay claim to is steeped in controversy and delay. But the squabbling may soon come to an end if Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez gets his way. He wants to nationalize the Las Cristinas project along with several other industries.

Placer Dome was one of the first companies to drill the Las Cristinas deposit in the early 1990s. The Canadian company formed a joint venture with Corporacion Venezolana de Guayana (CVG), and CVG remains the owner to this day. Crystallex was drilling the adjacent Albino concession at the time.

The entire Kilometre 88 area of Venezuela became one of the hottest gold plays in Latin America during the early 1990s. But the Las Cristinas deposit with 16.9 million contained oz of gold is the richest.

In 1997 Crystallex bought up a privately owned Venezuelan company said to own the rights to part of the Las Cristinas property. Placer Dome called the claim groundless, but it decided to suspend construction at Las Cristinas until the ownership question could be settled. In June 1998 the Venezuelan court dismissed Crystallex’s claim, clearing the way for Placer Dome and CVG to move forward. The next year low gold prices forced Placer Dome put the project on hold.

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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 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 →