Archive | Canadian Mining History

AWARD: Ross Beaty receives Order of Canada (Canadian Mining Journal – July 10, 2017)

OTTAWA – Mining magnate and philanthropist Ross Beaty is among the 99 prominent Canadians awarded membership in the 2017 Order of Canada.

The award shows that mining and environmentalism are not necessarily incompatible. Beaty, the founder and chairman of Pan American Silver and executive chairman of Alterra Power Corp – a geothermal, wind and hydro power company – is also a generous philanthropist. In May he gave $5 million over 10 years to Panthera, which is a global wild cat conservation organization.

A few month earlier the Canadian Museum of Nature announced that Beaty would be providing it with its largest ever philanthropic gift: a $4 million investment to enhance the museum’s national research and collections that are focused on species discovery. The gift was through the Sitka Foundation, which Beaty founded in 2007 to be a catalyst in the protection of the environment and promotion of biodiversity. Continue Reading →

Community’s long history seen as a gift by residents – by Elizabeth Patterson (Cape Breton Post – July 8, 2017)

SYDNEY MINES – If you offered Sheila MacCormick a chance to buy a brand new house, she probably wouldn’t be that interested. MacCormick lives in a brick and stone home that was built in 1853 for a mine office manager by the name of Sutherland who worked for the General Mining Association. It comes complete with hardwood peg floors, five fireplaces and uneven windows and she wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I just love old buildings and old things,” MacCormick told The Cape Breton Post at a heritage display and storytelling session at Holy Family Church hall on Saturday. “It’s got a lot of history and I just love it.”

MacCormick is just one of about three dozen people who attended the session held to mark Heritage Day in Sydney Mines. While the morning event, an outdoor heritage hunt, didn’t attract a lot of people mainly due to poor weather, many instead came in the afternoon to hear a discussion led by Ronald Labelle, Cape Breton Regional Library’s storyteller-in-residence. Continue Reading →

Jack Bickell Chairman of McIntyre-Porcupine Mines: The Man Who Built Maple Leaf Gardens in the 1930s

Video from:

“You could say, without exaggerating, that Bickell was the cornerstone of the whole project.” – Conn Smythe on Bickell’s role in the construction of Maple Leaf Gardens

Canadian Mining Hall Fame: John Paris Bickell (1884 – 1951) Inducted in 2000

Most follow one path, but John Paris Bickell commanded several successful careers during his extraordinary life. He opened a brokerage firm at the age of 23 and was a millionaire by 30. In 1919, he left the investment business to become president and, later, chairman of McIntyre-Porcupine Mines, one of Ontario’s first and most important gold producers.

Bickell’s achievements went beyond the realm of business, as he had a keen sense of civic duty. During the Second World War, he was appointed by Lord Beaverbrook to Britain’s Ministry of Aircraft Production, where he served with the airplane supply board during the blitz. Upon his return to Canada, he assumed responsibility for Victory Aircraft, the federal agency that manufactured Lancaster bombers for the Royal Canadian Air Force. Continue Reading →

Hawthorne’s Cobalt letters – by Douglas Baldwin (CIM Magazine – February 2017)

Scheming brokers, including a famous author’s son, deceived many speculators during the Cobalt, Ontario silver rush

Two years after the 1903 discovery of rich silver deposits in northern Ontario, a Toronto brokerage firm asserted that “when you take into consideration that Cobalt’s mines have produced more in value than the Klondike is producing per annum, or has ever produced, you will have some idea of the great results that will come out of this camp when fully developed.”

Mining companies licensed to work in Ontario grew from 43 in 1903 to 683 four years later. For three consecutive days, mounted police in New York City cleared Broad Street of would-be investors who were obstructing traffic in their efforts to buy Cobalt shares from the curb brokers.

Stories of millions of dollars changing hands overnight were legion. The Canadian Annual Review recounted the tale of a North Bay resident who made $15,000 by merely picking up silver nuggets lying on the ground. Continue Reading →

History of Mining – Stewart, B.C. (Python Mining Consultants – 2010)

Above Video: From the 1970’s CBC series ‘The Northerners’ with host Bob Switzer, remarkable footage of early gold and silver miners in the Stewart area, Anyox and Kitsault.

Stewart, B.C. is a small town tucked at the head of the Portland Canal District, in British-Columbia. The town was once as large as 10,000 people before the First World War yet now holds less than 500 permanent residents. This is largely due to the fact that the town once had an active mining industry. That is no longer the case today. This article looks to outline the mining activities that occurred in and around Stewart, B.C. in the past.

Exploration in the area began in 1898, when a group of 68 prospectors travelled to the area in search of placer gold deposits. Evidence suggests, however, that the Nass River Indians knew the area at the head of the Portland Canal well before this and referred to it as Skam-A-Kounst, meaning safe place. They would travel to this area as a retreat from the harassment of the coastal Hiadas.

Here, they would hunt birds and pick wild berries. In 1896, Captain D. Gilliard arrive in the area, exploring the area on behalf of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Continue Reading →

British Columbia’s Golden Triangle – by Lawrence Roulston ( – September 24, 2012)

[While a bit dated, this article is very informative. Stan]

With a strong financial backer, Calpine was able to carry out a comprehensive
exploration program. They drilled more than 100 holes that were geologically
encouraging, but which would not have attracted the attention of most investors.
It was hole number 109 that convinced investors of the significance of the Eskay
Creek discovery. That hole, one of the most impressive drill holes of all time,
encountered an extraordinary 208 meters that assayed 27 grams per tonne gold
and 30 g/t silver.

A corner of Canada’s western-most province hosts one of the richest mineral belts in the world. Few investors yet appreciate the enormous value of that region.

British Columbia, long recognized for its exceptional mineral wealth, is regaining prominence among mining investors. Canada in general is looking increasingly attractive as the mining industry faces mounting challenges in many jurisdictions around the globe. Continue Reading →

2016’s Top Hedge Fund Manager Relives History’s Greatest Gold Scam: I Know Where Michael de Guzman Is! – by Warren Irwin ( – May 31, 2017)

Bre-X – Of Course I Know Where Michael de Guzman Is!

A firsthand account of the $6 billion 1997 Bre-X Minerals gold fraud by Warren Irwin, Founder and Chief Investment Officer at Rosseau Asset Management Ltd. Rosseau was the top ranked hedge fund in the world in 2016 of 4,099 hedge funds tracked by BarclayHedge. Irwin made $millions long and short Bre-X, and was one of a few investors to attend a site visit to Bre-X’s Indonesian property before the biggest scam in the history of the gold sector unravelled…

The story of Bre-X was reborn after 20 years with the release of the movie “Gold” starring Matthew McConaughey in February 2017. The Bre-X fraud was brought to an end by a mining consultant, Graham Farquharson of Strathcona Mineral Services, who released on May 4, 1997 that its independent audit concluded a massive campaign of tampering and fraud without precedent in the history of mining.

The question remains to this day, what really happened to geologist Michael de Guzman, who reportedly fell from a helicopter on his way to Bre-X’s Busang gold property. By the end of this article, you will finally know the answer.

My story begins in 1991 with a trip to Indonesia following graduation from MBA school. Contrary to my classmates and professors at the time who were convinced the future growth engine of the world would be Russia, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, I headed to Southeast Asia where I believed the future of business activity was going to be. Continue Reading →

NEWS RELEASE: IDM Mining Announces the Passing of Donald A. McLeod

Click here for Canadian Mining Hall of Fame Profile:

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA–(Marketwired – May 29, 2017) – IDM Mining Ltd. (TSX VENTURE:IDM)(OTCQB:IDMMF) (“IDM” or the “Company”) is saddened to announce the passing of Stewart BC.-raised miner, mine-builder and Canadian Mining Hall of Fame inductee: Mr. Donald (“Don”) A. McLeod.

Along with his late brother Ian, Don McLeod’s legacy and impact on the mining community in northwest British Columbia, the Company was inspired to be named IDM Mining in their honor. The Company’s flagship Red Mountain Gold Project, currently in feasibility with ongoing exploration drilling, is located 15km east of Stewart.

“Uncle Don inspired me to study geology and enter the mining business; however his greatest impact on me was his hustle and leadership, pursuing his golden dreams in the Golden Triangle. The opportunities he gave to both young, ambitious mining entrepreneurs and hard-working northerners during his career are an example to all of us at IDM,” said Rob McLeod, President and CEO of IDM Mining. Continue Reading →

Canada’s Boy Miners – by Robert McIntosh (Canada’s History — May 9, 2017)

Pennsylvania Child Coal Miners – Wiki

Like children in other late nineteenth and early twentieth-century Canadian communities, boys in colliery towns and villages worked.

“Long before your city boys are astir the pit boy is awakened by the steam whistles, which blow three long blasts at half-past five o’clock every morning, thus warning him that it is time to get up. Breakfast partaken of, he dons his pit clothes, usually a pair of indifferent-fitting duck trousers, generously patched, an old coat, and with a lighted tin lamp on the front of his cap, his tea and dinner cans securely fastened on his back, he is ready for work.

He must be at his post at 7 o’clock. Off he goes, and in a few minutes with a number of others, he is engaged in animated conversation, and having a high old time generally, as he is lowered on a riding rake to the bottom of the slope.”

— Halifax Morning Chronicle, 4 December 1890

Like children in other late nineteenth and early twentieth century Canadian communities, boys in colliery towns and villages worked. Like other children also, these boys started to work at an early age. Even well after the turn of this century, according to mining historian Lynne Bowen, “if a boy who had lived in a coal town got tired of school and was anxious to make a little money, the obvious thing for him to do was to go to work in the mines. Continue Reading →

The Trump riddle: Did the president’s grandfather — or another Fred Trumpf — flip klondike claims? – by Maura Forrest (National Post – May 6, 2017)

It was the summer of 1897, and word was beginning to filter south that there was gold up in the Klondike. Fred Trumpf got his foot in the door early. By the time the first prospectors landed in Seattle carrying the gold that launched the stampede, he’d already applied for a mining claim near Dawson City, in today’s Yukon Territory. His signature, “Fred Trumpf,” is still clearly visible on the original application, 120 years later.

By the looks of things, Trumpf wasn’t all that interested in digging for gold. On July 8, he split up his claim, which had cost him $15, and sold one half for $400. A few months later, he sold the other half for $2,000, equal to more than $50,000 today.

That September, he did it again — applied for a claim, split it up, and sold for a tidy profit. There’s no evidence he ever did any work on either claim. It’s widely known that Donald Trump’s grandfather — born Friedrich in Germany in 1869 — got his start by opening a gold rush hotel in the Yukon in 1898 and “mining the miners,” as Trump biographer Gwenda Blair put it. Continue Reading →

1978-79 Steelworkers strike subject of Mick Lowe’s new novel – by Heidi Ulrichsen (Sudbury Northern Life – May 3, 2017)

Local author has completed trilogy about city’s mining history

Given it’s a part of the city’s recent history, most Sudburians remember Steelworkers Local 6500’s nearly year-long 2009-2010 strike against Vale. More distant in the community’s collective memory is the arguably even more bitter labour dispute that happened a generation earlier.

Steelworkers Local 6500 went on strike against Vale’s predecessor, Inco, for 10 and a half months from Sept. 15, 1978 until June 7, 1979. The labour dispute, which involved 11,600 workers, and starved Inco of more than 22 million hours of labour, smashed records at the time for the longest strike in Canadian history.

The impact on the Sudbury community was devastating, with businesses closing, marriages breaking up and families losing their life savings. The 1978-1979 Steelworkers strike is the subject of local author Mick Lowe’s latest novel, “Wintersong.” It’s the third in the Nickel Range Trilogy fiction series, which focuses on Sudbury’s mining history. Continue Reading →

130-years later, historian recounts ‘devastating’ Nanaimo mine explosion – by Ian Holmes (Nanaimo News Now – May 3, 2017)

NANAIMO — The 130th anniversary of a pair of devastating explosions that killed 148 men working in a Nanaimo coal mine is raising memories of the vibrant and extremely dangerous industry. The No. 1 Esplanade Mine, near the current cruise ship terminal, exploded after gas or dust was ignited on May 3, 1887.

The tragedy was the second worst mining disaster in Canada’s history. Vancouver Island coal historian and author T.W. Paterson told NanaimoNewsNOW the tragedy had a massive ripple-effect on Nanaimo, which he said was home to a little more than 2,000 people at that time.

“I liken it to a small nuclear device on a city,” Paterson said. “There would have been not one living soul in Nanaimo at the time who didn’t lose a family member, in-law, workmate or a friend.” Only seven men survived the carnage at the mine, which Paterson said was the largest and longest running operation on Vancouver Island. About 50 of the killed miners were Chinese men who were idenfifed only by numbers. Continue Reading →

Nation-Building on Permafrost: Three Prime Ministers – by Geoff Norquay (Policy Magazine – July/August 2014)

Contributing Writer Geoff Norquay, a former senior policy adviser to Prime Minister Mulroney, is a principal of the Earnscliffe Strategy Group in Ottawa.

From the infrastructure ambitions of John Diefenbaker to the governance breakthroughs of Brian Mulroney to the resource development dreams of Stephen Harper, the North has enthralled and sometimes confounded Canada’s political leadership. Longtime political strategist and former prime ministerial aide Geoff Norquay traces half a century of policy trials and triumphs in a part of the world where change comes slowly

John Diefenbaker, Brian Mulroney and Stephen Harper are united by more than the fact that they were all Conservative prime ministers and politically dominant in their respective eras. For all three, northern Canada held a special place in their national policy agenda, they each had their “northern visions” and they took significant
steps to advance the economic and constitutional development ofthat region.

In the case of Diefenbaker, it was his “Northern Vision” and “Roads to Resources” programs; for Mulroney, it was the commitment and negotiations that led to the creation of Canada’s third territory, Nunavut;and for Harper, it has been asserting Canada’s sovereignty in the Arctic and the successful negotiation of a devolution agreement with the Northwest Territories. Continue Reading →

[John G. Diefenbaker: His Northern Vision] A New Vision – by John G. Diefenbaker [This speech was given at the Civic Auditorium, Winnipeg, 12 February 1958]

Ladies and gentlemen, we started in the last few months, since June the 10th, to carry out our promises, and I can tell you this, that as long as I am Prime Minister of this country, the welfare of the average Canadian will not be forgotten. We intend to launch for the future, we have laid the foundations now, the long-range objectives of this party.

We ask from you a mandate; a new and a stronger mandate, to pursue the planning and to carry to fruition our new national development programme for Canada. For years we raised that in the House of Commons, and those in authority ridiculed it. Day before yesterday, Mr. Pearson came out in favour of a national development policy. Why didn’t they do it when they Were in power?

This national development policy will create a new sense of national purpose and national destiny. One Canada. One Canada, wherein Canadians will have preserved to them the control of their own economic and political destiny. Sir John A. Macdonald gave his life to this party. He opened the West. Continue Reading →

Homecoming History: Roots of a mining town – by Jonathon Naylor (Flin Flon Reminder – May 2, 2017)

Accounts of local history often begin in 1927, the year Hudson Bay Mining and Smelting Co., Limited (HBM&S) and Flin Flon were founded courtesy of the Flin Flon ore body. In actual fact, the area’s history – and the events necessary for the eventual formation of Flin Flon, Creighton and Denare Beach – date back further.

Amisk Lake, situated along present-day Denare Beach, has at least two important historical stories to tell. The serene lake has been utilized since the days of the Canadian fur trade. In the 1950s, explorers Harry Moody and Tom Welsh journeyed to the north side of Amisk Lake, where they found artifacts such as steel-bladed scissors and metal utensils.

Moody saw this as evidence that the famed fur-trading Frobisher brothers had set up a winter camp there in 1774-75. He later helped discover the actual site of Fort Henry Frobisher, an independent British post. Saskatchewan’s first gold-rush mining town was located on the southern shore of Amisk Lake, within driving distance of present-day Denare Beach. Continue Reading →