Northern Ontario Settlers Mining on Indian Land in the 1840s – Michael Barnes

Across the North American continent there are many stories from earlier times of conflict when the interests of First Nations people came up against commercial greed.

One such incident took place at Bruce Mines in 1847 and fortunately for all concerned the situation was defused and settled amicably.

The rush to obtain copper and other minerals at Bruce Mines was the first instance of commercial mining operations in the northern Ontario. Continue Reading →

Sudbury Looks to the Future – By Leslie Roberts (MacLean’s March 15, 1931) Part 2

A Vast Corporation

Smelter expansion is perhaps the key to the developments which have taken place in post-war years and of the company’s plans for even greater expansion in the days to come. When Mond merged with International Nickel, it was reported falsely, as it turned out that Coniston’s fires would be drawn and that all future smelting operations would be transferred to the mammoth new plant than projected for Copper Cliff and since built.

Wiseacres in brokers’ board rooms declared that there would be nothing left for Coniston to do, but instead it has been enlarged into a more important production unit than before, despite the construction of the new Copper Cliff plant, plans for which were greatly enlarged during the construction stage. The two smelters combined have the capacity for treating more than 8,000 tons of ore a day, though running well below capacity at the present time as the result of low prices prevailing for nickel and copper.

In addition to its operations in mines and smelters, this vast corporation that is Sudbury owns refineries at Port Colbourne, at Clydach in Wales and at Acton in England, and is par owner of the immense new plant of Ontario Refineries, recently completed in Copper Cliff. Continue Reading →

Samuel J. Ritchie: A Tower in Early Sudbury Mining – Gary Peck

There are many tales yet untold pertaining to the formative years of the area’s mining industry. Numerous prospectors, the names of some unrecorded, are part of the history. The various workers who toiled with the rock are also an important facet of the story.

As well, entrepreneurs and their companies have to be examined. Not surprising, more of the early companies met with failure than success. One company and one name towered above the others during the early years of mining – the Canadian Copper Company and Samuel J. Ritchie. Ritchie’s introduction to nickel and the events leading to formation of the Canadian Copper Company constitute an interesting story. Continue Reading →

Sudbury Looks to the Future – By Leslie Roberts (MacLean’s March 15, 1931) Part 1

Inco Advertising 1934With a veritable treasure store beneath its feet, Sudbury
is making ready for the morrow of an inevitable expansion

The city of Sudbury rates two separate paragraphs in any tome proclaiming the locations of World’s Biggest. In the mines and mills and smelters of International nickel, it houses the supplying source of the largest self-contained mining organization in the world. In the Frood, it possesses the greatest and richest mine developed by scientific mankind anywhere.

Thanks to the former, which owns the latter, the camp cannot be measured by the some yardsticks which prevail in other Canadian mining centres today. Sudbury is not a one mine town, as Noranda is; nor is it a group of independent enterprises such as one finds in the gold camps of Northern Ontario. Sudbury is the child of the Frood, the Creighton, the Garcon and other treasure troves; rich in nickel bearing ores and owned by the International Nickel with only one important exception, Falconbridge.

Sudbury’s prosperity is written on the time sheets of Coniston and its mate, the smelter in Copper Cliff, each a physical asset of Inco. Continue Reading →

Excerpt from Michael Barnes New Book – More Than Free Gold:Mineral Exploration in Canada Since World War II

More Than Free Gold - by Michael Barnes

Canada is one of the most productive areas on earth for the discovery of economic mineral deposits. Its large land mass covers the entire spectrum of geological formations. These have been laid down and formed over the past four billion years.

Man has supplemented the bounty of nature’s contribution. Canada is fortunate to have individuals who have developed an infrastructure of financial capacity, educational facilities and scientific expertise that is a rich mix of human expertise and resources equal to or better than anywhere else in the world. These people have created Canada’s wealth through the careful exploitation of her mineral resources.

Prior to the beginning of the twentieth century, large-scale, economic, producing mines were largely nonexistent in Canada. Continue Reading →

Sudbury: Melting Pot for Men and Ore – by Don Delaplante (Maclean’s April 15, 1951) Part 2

Bad Eggs From The East

Sudbury’s polyglot population keeps the police force busy on a wholesale basis. The crime rate is about double that of other communities of like size in Canada. Last year the police made 2,243 arrests, of which 893 were under the Criminal Code.

The cases to be heard in the old Sudbury courthouse, built in 1908, are so numerous that there’s sometimes a mad scramble between lawyers and prisoners to get seats. Herds of 30 and 40 men and women are shepherded in a side door, among them drunks, derelicts, shady ladies and thieves of every description. The lawyers advance from the rear of the courtroom. Unless they’re nimble the legal lights find themselves relegated to the spectators’ section. The courthouse also contains the headquarters of the Ontario Provincial Police District of Sudbury, an area of more than 30,000 square miles.

“Drifters from both Eastern Canada and the West stop over here and a lot of them are bad eggs,” says Police Chief Jack McLaren, a calm-eyed, efficient war veteran, in defense of the local population. Continue Reading →

Sudbury: Melting Pot for Men and Ore – By Don Delaplante (Maclean’s April 15, 1951) Part 1

Inco World War Two Poster

In its furnaces every day a mountain of ore becomes a river of vital metals; On its streets a colorful mixture of races and religions surges and blends into a unique Canadian scene. Sudbury’s got a right to thump its hairy chest

A fragile, albeit glamorous and hard-knuckled, creature is the mine town. Today, ebullient with life, optimism and grand schemes for the future; tomorrow, perhaps a ghost town populated by a bewildered few left to flounder in the backwash made by rugged individualists hastening to other fields of fortune.

But, by every token in the book, there’s one Canadian mine town now a full-scale city of 47,000 that’s not destined to become a haunted has-been of yesteryear. In its case the reverse seems likely. Many persons believe it’s slated to become the Canadian facsimile of Pittsburgh.

The city is Sudbury, the hustling, bustling hub of a rock-strewn territory which is not only the most richly mineralized area of Canada but of the entire western hemisphere. No spectre of ghostdom haunts blatantly prosperous Sudbury. Continue Reading →

Vale Inco, President, Ontario Operations – Sudbury Speech – Fred Stanford

Fred Stanford, President, Vale Inco Ontario Operations• Thank you, and good afternoon everyone. It’s been a little while since I spoke to the Chamber, so it’s a pleasure to be here.

• Actually it’s been almost a year to the day since Murilo Ferreira, Vale Inco’s President and CEO, first came to Sudbury to speak to this audience. This was shortly after CVRD completed its acquisition of Inco.

• The theme of his speech was “Together, We are Better” – and I’m sure some of you may have been skeptical.

• He also said the acquisition wouldn’t change things much in Sudbury…but I might argue – since then, things have changed…and for the better.

• What an incredible year we just had at our Sudbury operations: Continue Reading →

Fred Stanford – Vale Inco – An Introduction

Fred Stanford is President, Ontario Operations at Vale Inco

Stanford joined Vale Inco’s Industrial Engineering Department in 1981 upon graduation from the Technical University of Nova Scotia. In 1985, he moved into operating supervision roles in various mines, advancing to the position of Creighton Mine Superintendent in 1991. 

In 1996, he moved to Clarabelle Mill as Superintendent before a transfer to the Manitoba Division as Manager of Human Resources, Safety & Environment.  In 2002, he returned to the Ontario Operations as Manager of Maintenance, General Engineering and Support Services. 

Stanford was appointed Vice-President of Business Services in July 2005.  In January 2007, he was appointed President of Vale Inco’s Ontario Operations. He is active in the community and currently sits as a Director on a number of Boards including Cambrian College, NORCAT and the Laurentian University Board of Governors.

The next posting is a speech given by Stanford to the Sudbury Chamber of Commerce on January 31, 2008.

Thomas Frood and his faith in the New Ontario – Gary Peck

Reminiscences of pioneers are often the more difficult of sources to uncover. In some cases the pioneer was never interviewed. Often people were too busy surviving in what had to have been a trying time. However, Thomas Frood, one of Sudbury’s early history-makers, did have a few of his views committed to paper at the turn of the century. The account is an important one for not only the views expressed but also what they reveal about the author.

Thomas Frood was born in Renfrew in 1843. For the early years of his life, he lived in southern Ontario as a druggist in Southampton, and later as a teacher in Kincardine. Continue Reading →

Gary Peck Columns – An Introduction

Gary Peck is a retired school teacher living in Sudbury, Canada. During the late 1970s, he researched and wrote a very popular local column on the history of the Sudbury Basin. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to find his wonderful stories.

To ensure that the digital generation has access to Sudbury’s vibrant and colourful past – the historic heart of the global nickel industry – Peck has given the Republic of Mining permission to post his columns.

Some Kind of Damn Metal in Cobalt – Michael Barnes

When railway contractors found traces or ore along the tracks at mile 101 north of North Bay in 1903, they did not know what they had. Fred LaRose said it was some kind of damn metal. But what? They needed a rock doctor to figure it out.

In modern day Cobalt, just around the corner from the Lang Street hotel, on a dead end, there is a monument to the man who ‘read the story of the rocks’. Few people have heard the story of the moonlighting geologist it remembers, but without him, well, let’s just say Cobalt would have been a lot slower to develop. Continue Reading →

Big Nickel – By James H. Gray (Maclean’s October 1, 1947) – Part 2

Busy People

Well, if Sam Ritchie will settle for that kind of monument, there it is. It’s the only kind there is at the moment, for the guys who owe their jobs to Sam Ritchie’s stubbornness haven’t got around to anything else. We wondered about this and asked Dan Dunbar, Inco public relations man, why not.

“I guess they just haven’t had time. This is the participatingest community on the face of the earth. Everybody is always up to something, usually three or four things at the same time.”

Actually, instead of one community at Copper Cliff, there are as many communities as there are mines. Each settlement has its community hall and in the winter the lights in the halls are seldom out. The outdoor skating rinks are jammed with small fry. Teams from the district have an excellent record in national competition and each mine has its hockey team, bowling team, badminton team and baseball team. Continue Reading →

Educating the Next Generation for the Mining Sector – Sylvia Barnard (Part 2)

Onaping Mine ClassroomThe Mining Industry Human Resources Council (MiHR), is undertaking a National Occupational Standards Project which will provide detailed essential skills profiles, core competencies and occupational standards for workers in underground mining, surface mining, and minerals processing.  

The Mining Companies and its stakeholders are moving forward together at unprecedented levels of collaboration in order to address the skilled workforce shortages.  In 2008 we will see national standards start to emerge.  Greater marketing and branding activities for mining as a high tech, dynamic industry will be launched. Continue Reading →

Big Nickel – By James H. Gray (Maclean’s – October 1, 1947) – Part 1

Inco Advertising 1946This brave New World of ours may be bringing the world-order architects down with the jitters, but no one is going to convince Mr. and Mrs. Job Public that it doesn’t have the gaudiest surface glitter they have ever seen.

Never before have so many automobiles been loaded down so heavily with so much nickel plating. The stores are filling up with nickel-plated tasters and electrical goods, nickel-plated furniture, nickel-plated utensils and fishing rods and gadgets of infinite assortment and complexity. And in tune with the glistening motif of the times, the merchandisers are lifting the faces of their store fronts and prettying them up with nickel plate, aluminum and chromium.

That’s just the first verse. Under the hood of your new car, in the works of your new radio, in the kitchen of your restaurant and under he concrete floor of your cellar, in airplanes and plows, in power plants and in nail files, in skyscrapers and in dental bridgework, there is more nickel hidden away than you can shake a stick at. Continue Reading →