Canada is celebrating the 150th anniversary of Confederation. In 1867 the founding fathers met in Charlottetown built the foundation of a nation truly “strong and free”. They did a very good job, too. We can savour their hard work as we join in various celebrations around the country.
One of the reasons to be proud of Canada is its vast storehouse of natural resources and the men and enterprises that put us among the world’s premier mineral producers – gold, uranium, potash, base metals, diamonds, and the metals of the future. Our mineral legacy has also given rise to some of the world’s best technology for finding, mining and processing those riches.
Let’s take a look at the first person to be caught up in our mineral wealth. While Martin Frobisher searched for the Northwest Passage, he ballasted his ships with shiny yellow rocks. What he thought would be his fortune was pyrite, not gold, and his mistake was not pointed out until he had made another voyage and collected even more rocks. The lesson is: Never send a ship captain to do a geologist’s job.
French king Louis XIV granted what are probably the first mineral concessions on Cape Breton Island to Nicolas Denys who discovered coal there in 1672. For the next 200 years mining was small scale, done to meet local needs. Continue Reading →