Archive | Cobalt Town

Glencore turns bigger copper, zinc price bull: Nickel not so much – by Frik Els ( – August 10, 2017)

Miner and commodities trader Glencore (LON:GLEN) raised its revenue and profit outlook for the year on Thursday with the Swiss company citing the fast-growing electric vehicle market as a key driver.

“Most automotive players are now accelerating investment in/adoption of electric vehicle technologies, reflecting, in part, increasingly aggressive Government mandates around emission targets.

Growth in electric vehicle/energy storage systems requires changes in material flows, including the installation, rebuild and replacement of supporting infrastructure. Based on current and emerging technologies, these changes should benefit enabling commodities such as copper, cobalt and nickel,” Glencore said in a statement accompanying its half-year results. Continue Reading →

Boom times ahead in the Cobalt camp: Staking rush, exploration activity puts famed mining camp back on the map – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – July 31, 2017)

These are boom times in the Cobalt camp, but this is entirely new territory for Gino Chitaroni. “I’ve been in this business more than 30 years, I’ve never seen this before,” said the president of the Northern Prospectors Association.

The worldwide search for green-tech minerals, like cobalt, to feed the exploding electric vehicle and lithium battery market has put the historic silver mining district back in the spotlight for a largely discarded by-product metal.

“Eighteen months ago, if someone breathed the word cobalt, I would have thought they were on crack,” chuckles Chitaroni, a third-generation Cobalt-area miner and president of Polymet Labs in the town of Cobalt. Continue Reading →

Cobalt explorer makes a move in historic camp: First Cobalt kicks off exploration program with promise of richer days ahead – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – July 28, 2017)

Walking into a mining ghost town like Silver Centre is almost akin to experiencing what the first miners of the Cobalt camp’s famed Silver Rush faced at the turn of the last century.

But the focus this time is not on finding high-grade silver veins but exploring for cobalt, previously discarded as a waste material. For exploration crews, it’s like starting from scratch. “I grew up in Northern Ontario and crawled around mine sites all the time,” said Frank Santaguida, vice-president of exploration for First Cobalt Corp. “It’s surprising how quickly the land reclaims itself.”

His Toronto-based company has an option agreement with Canadian Silver Hunter to acquire 100 per cent of the former Keeley-Frontier silver and cobalt mine, a sprawling 2,100-hectare property, 25 kilometres south of the town of Cobalt. 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 →

Forget Ring of Fire: Cobalt mining camp is ready to roll – by PJ Wilson (North Bay Nugget – June 23, 2017)

COBALT – As much attention as the Ring of Fire has garnered, the expected resurgence of the Cobalt Camp is a bigger story. “The Ring of Fire . . . is too much pie in the sky,” Gino Chitaroni says. “There are too many working parts. You don’t need millions of dollars there. You need billions. There is no way in hell it will be developed anytime soon.”

Chitaroni, president and manager of PolyMet Labs in this old mining town, says political problems are delaying the Ring of Fire project in northwestern Ontario even more. It will be at least a decade – probably more – before anything comes out of it, he believes. But the Cobalt Camp, he says, is ready to roll again.

“Even with China involved directly, and they have very, very deep pockets, the infrastructure requirements there means Ring of Fire is many, many years off,” says Chitaroni, who also is president of the Northern Prospectors’ Association. “It’s sad that the government has put all its (mining) eggs in one basket when there are so many other, much better projects.” Continue Reading →

The Town Silver Built may have new lease on life – by PJ Wilson (North Bay Nugget – June 23, 2017)

COBALT – Renewed interest in the historic Cobalt Camp mining site is reason for “cautious optimism,” according to this small town’s mayor. But Tina Sartoretto warns against “full-throttle optimism.”

“You can easily be over zealous,” says Sartoretto, who has been mayor since 2010. Over the past few months, prospectors, surveyors, drilling crews and others have descended on the region that stretches from just across the Quebec border to as far west as Espanola. But Cobalt is at the heart of the attention.

“It’s not like the heyday,” Sartoretto admits. “We had the stock exchange, we had banks, hotels, restaurants . . .” The years have been tough on this old town. The population now, according to the 2016 national census, is 1,118 people. The stock market is long gone, as are the banks. Continue Reading →

“This transaction will … [create] one of the largest cobalt exploration companies in the world” – by Staff (Mining Journal – June 22, 2017)

Australian-based Cobalt One has entered a trading halt pending an announcement on the merger proposal. The two companies signed an option agreement earlier this month whereby First Cobalt was granted an option to acquire 50% of Cobalt One’s cobalt assets in the Cobalt region of Ontario.

Cobalt One’s assets include a cobalt refinery while First Cobalt’s assets include the former producing Keeley-Frontier silver-cobalt mine in Ontario and cobalt exploration ground in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Under the “friendly merger” proposed by First Cobalt, Cobalt One would hold 60% of the enlarged company, with its chairman Paul Matysek, CEO Jason Bontempo and director Bob Cross to go onto the First Cobalt board. Continue Reading →

Two Ontario cobalt players partner on processing – staff (Northern Ontario Business – June 1, 2017)

Refinery joint venture in the works but legal questions remain on plant ownership

Two cobalt exploration companies have entered into an agreement to establish a joint venture involving a controversial refinery in northeastern Ontario. First Cobalt announced June 1 that it has entered into an option agreement to form a 50/50 joint venture partnership with Cobalt One, (formerly Equator Resources) the pending new owner of the Yukon refinery in North Cobalt.

In a news release, First Cobalt said their “strategic partnership” with Cobalt One will give them access to the refinery and 40 acres of permitted land to process silver-cobalt arsenide concentrates from its historic Keeley-Frontier mine project.

“The Yukon refinery and the 40 acres of permitted property can help us reduce the permitting timeline in a meaningful fashion for a future development project,” said First Cobalt president-CEO Trent Mell. Continue Reading →

Cobalt junior miner preps for summer drill program – Staff (Northern Ontario Business – May 18, 2017)

A Toronto-based cobalt junior miner is combining old mining data with modern technology to assess if an historic mining property can be put back into operation using bulk mining techniques.

First Cobalt announced it has started fieldwork on its 2,100-hectare Keeley-Frontier Mine property and surrounding exploration claims at Silver Centre, 25 kilometres south of the historic mining town of Cobalt.

The company’s stated objective is to assess the property for its potential as a large-scale, bulk mining operation, “something which has not been considered previously for this historic mining district,” according to a May 18 new release. Continue Reading →

The rush for cobalt in Cobalt, Ont: Mining companies snap up land in the north – by Marina von Stackelberg (CBC News Sudbury – March 25, 2017)

There’s an old school gold rush underway in northern Ontario, but the demand is for a special metal that is used in everything from smart phones to electric cars.

More than a dozen mining companies are staking out claims in Cobalt, Ont. as price of the mineral with the same name rises, according to the Northern Prospectors Association.

“The whole situation is a cobalt-style rush, just like an old fashioned staking rush,” said Gino Chitaroni, president of the Northern Prospectors Association and a geologist from the area. The town of Cobalt is located along the Quebec border, near Temiskaming Shores in northern Ontario, and is best known for the massive amounts of silver that were extracted a century ago. Continue Reading →

Cobalt is king for Vancouver developer – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – December 2, 2016)

The namesake metal of the town of Cobalt is the focus of a Vancouver company which has acquired a former silver mine property near the historic northeastern Ontario community. CobalTech Mining, formerly known as Big North Graphite, closed the acquisition of the former Duncan Kerr property from Trio Resources of Toronto on Nov. 23.

The company has plans to dig into the leftover piles of mineralized material on the surface to source cobalt.

Their 32-hectare property, located three kilometres southeast of the town in Coleman Township, contains the underground remnants of the former Kerr and Lawson silver mines, which operated intermittently from the mid-1900s through to the 1960s. Continue Reading →

Barrick’s Munk Heads Top Ten Most Important Mining Men in Canadian History – by Stan Sudol

Melanie and Peter Munk

Melanie and Peter Munk

An edited version of this list was published in the February/March issue of the Canadian Mining Journal.

Four Americans Made the List!

A few months ago, my dear colleague Joe Martin, who is the Director of the Canadian Business & Financial History Initiative at Rotman and President Emeritus of Canada’s History Society, asked me a very simple question: who would be considered the most important individual in Canadian mining?

Considering Canada’s lengthy and exceptional expertise in the mineral sector, it was not an easy answer and I decided to research and create a top ten list of the most important mining men in Canadian history.

The lack of women on this list simply reflects the fact that for much of our history most women were not given the educational or social opportunities to excel in business, especially in a rough and male-dominated sector like mining. Times have changed, women are playing key roles in mining today and will definitely be included on this list in the future.

However, a few qualifiers need to be established. This is basically a list of mine builders not mine finders.  Building a company through takeovers and discoveries is one way but I am also focusing on individuals who have built corporate empires and/or who have developed isolated regions of the country with the necessary infrastructure for mines to flourish and create multi-generational jobs, shareholder wealth and great economic impact. Continue Reading →

[Cobalt Silver Boom] The hammer and the fox – by Charlie Angus and Brit Griffin (Northern Miner – January 27, 2003)

There’s a story about the discovery of silver in northern Ontario, and this is how it goes: When the Temiskaming and Northern Ontario Railway (T&NO) line from North Bay to Haileybury and New Liskeard was being completed, it had to pass through a rugged section of the Canadian Shield around the area known as Long Lake. Fred LaRose was a blacksmith hired to work this section. One day in late August 1903, he was working at his forge and a fox suddenly appeared.

Startled, LaRose threw a hammer at the creature. The hammer missed and bounced off an outcropping rock. When LaRose went to retrieve the hammer, he realized that the rock was a vein of metal that turned out to be pure silver.

In all probability, LaRose didn’t throw a hammer and there wasn’t a fox, and although he did discover a massive vein of silver, at the time, he thought it was copper. Nor was LaRose the first to make this discovery. Two other railway workers, James McKinley and Ernest Darragh, had discovered silver just south of the same spot a month before. Continue Reading →

Prospecting for … cobalt – by Staff (Mining Journal – October 2, 2016)

Believers in an impending cobalt shortage, higher prices, and the need for supply sources that are disengaged from primary copper or nickel production – and “unethical supply chains” – don’t see many new cobalt mines on the horizon. Prospecting is certainly on the rise, but when place-names such as Cobalt (Ontario) and Mt Cobalt (Queensland) don’t help, you know the job ain’t easy!

Cobalt has been called Canada’s forgotten mining town, but the records show the focus of an unprecedented silver prospecting and mining boom in the early 1900s delivered a fortune that “far surpassed the Klondike in terms of profits, production, and long-term impact”, wrote one historian.

“The early history of hard rock mining in Ontario is essentially the story of the discovery of silver in Cobalt in 1903. It wasn’t long before the Cobalt mines became the third-largest producer of silver in the world and by the time the boom petered out in the 1920s, the camp had become the fourth-largest silver producer ever discovered,” he continued. Continue Reading →

Dipping into the silver stream: Thanks to high grades and loose enforcement ore theft a booming industry in Cobalt – by Douglas Baldwin (CIM Magazine – September/October 2016)

This is an excerpt from Douglas Baldwin’s new book, “Cobalt: Canada’s Forgotten Silver Boom Town”. Click here to order book:!shop/vu6uk

During the first few years of the silver mining rush in Cobalt, Ontario, mine owners had a laid-back approach to loss prevention. With claim to so much high-grade ore, they freely gave samples of silver to visitors. Mine workers were also not searched at the end of the day and it was easy for the men to slip pieces of silver into their pockets.

The local newspaper, the Nugget, estimated that $1 million worth of high-grade silver had been stolen in the first five years of the Cobalt mining camp. Although several arrests were made at the time, it was almost impossible to obtain a conviction. A mine manager had to swear the stolen ore came from his mine, but since high-grade silver was consistently pure at each project it was impossible to identify what ore came from which mine.

The thieves had to be caught red-handed to be successfully prosecuted. Most “high-graders,” as they were called, were either acquitted or given light sentences. Continue Reading →