The Daily Press is the city of Timmins broadsheet newspaper.
TIMMINS – When most people think of industrial tours, they are often reminded of the story of Willy Wonka and the fabled golden ticket.
Standing outside of the Timmins Chamber of Commerce, with a ticket for the Goldcorp industrial tour, I laughed to myself about how true this golden ticket scenario was in my particular case. The humour carried me all the way to my seat and the less than comfortable school bus that would be our chauffeur for the afternoon.
“We will be touring the Dome open pit,” Nicole Charbonneau said as she addressed the bus load of people. “Then we will move out into the McIntyre, Conarium and Gillies reclamation sites, along with an overview of the Hollinger Pit preparations.”
Charbonneau, a environmental biologist for Goldcorp would be the guide for this three-hour golden tour. Her role in the management and continued development of the reclamation sites behind the McIntyre’s No. 11 headframe made her the perfect voice to speak on behalf of Goldcorp.
She gave those on the bus a brief history of the area, it’s rich mining history and current operations as the bus rattled along Hwy. 101 towards Goldcorp’s Porcupine Mining operations.
“Dome was the first of the big three, which were the three major mining operations that made the City of Timmins possible,” she said. “It was founded by Jack Wilson, who came north for the promise of gold, just like the thousands of others who came to this region to strike it rich.”
Since purchasing the Porcupine gold operations a number of years ago, Goldcorp has been systematically buying up the numerous operating and non-operating mines throughout the Timmins are, owning over 15 separate properties, chief among which being the McIntyre and Hollinger properties.
“We, at Goldcorp own a very high percentage of the mining real estate in the Timmins area,” said Charbonneau as the bus shook to a halt at the Dome Open Pit lookout point.
“We are very heavily invested in the reclamation process, priding ourselves in the awards that we have won over the past few years.”
Passenger’s jaws dropped as they stepped from the bus, floored by the scale of the now shuttered Dome Pit, stretching out before their eyes, and plunging impossibly far into the mineral rich Canadian Shield.
“The pit is no longer operational,” shouted Charbonneau, fighting the sound of the wind coupled with the constant whirr of the crushing houses hundreds of metres behind her. “You can look at this and imagine the amount of gold that came out of it, the manpower that went into it, and get an idea of the scale of work going on underground right now.”
After touring the large, and small mechanics sheds, inspecting the concentrators and getting a slight idea of what it takes to strike gold, the bus hit Goldmine Road for the next leg of the tour.
“This whole fenced area represents property owned by Goldcorp,” shouted Charbonneau over the rattling road noise of the metal tube we had called home for the past hour. “In this area you would find the old Paymaster Mine, the Aunor and Hollinger sites, when you look at this area from the air it looks like swiss cheese.”
For the rest of this article, please go to the Timmins Daily Press website: http://www.timminspress.com/2012/08/23/golden-tour-of-goldcorp