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Gold Mining and Exploration

Gold Mining and Exploration in the Thunder Bay area and Northwestern Ontario

Mine production in Northwestern Ontario (the NW) is dominated by the gold sector, now and from an historic perspective.

Gold was first mined in the NW in the Shebandowan area, at the Huronian (Moss) Mine in 1871, following a discovery made by Peter McKellar and an aboriginal prospecting crew. 140 years later, record gold production was reached in the NW in 2011, exceeding 1.2 million ounces. 2012 promises to break that record again as the Red Lake Mine ramps up production in the next few years, and the Williams/David Bell Mines (Hemlo) and the Musselwhite Mine continue with expansion and infrastructure investment.

What does this production mean on a national level? Three of the top four producing mines in Canada are the aforementioned Red Lake Mine (Goldcorp Inc.), Musselwhite Mine (Goldcorp Inc.) and Williams Mine (Barrick Gold Corporation). The 4th gold mine in the NW is the Dave Bell Mine (Barrick Gold Corporation). These mines are tremendous wealth generators for Ontario, in the form of wages, taxes and indirect and induced business and job growth, including service and supply support to the mineral sector. The gold mines of the NW directly employ over 2,400 employees and contractors, many of whom reside in the municipalities and First Nation communities of the NW.

Gold is not the only precious metal mined in the NW; Lac des Iles Mine (North American Palladium Ltd.) is North America’s only primary palladium producing mine. A significant portion of the mine workforce of over 200 resides in Thunder Bay. Mine expansion is currently underway with production from the Offset Zone via shaft scheduled for late 2012.

Major gold exploration projects are forecast to produce in the next 3 – 5 years. These projects include: the Hard Rock Gold Project (Premier Gold Mines Limited) at Greenstone, the Hammond Reef Gold Project (Osisko Mining Corporation) north of Atikokan, the Rainy River Gold Project (Rainy River Resources Ltd.) northwest of Fort Frances, the Phoenix Gold Project (Rubicon Minerals Corp.) at Red Lake, the Bruce Channel Deposit (Goldcorp Inc.) at Red Lake, the Cameron Lake Gold Project (Coventry Resources Limited) southeast of Kenora, the Pickle Crow Gold Project (PC Gold Inc.) at Pickle Lake and the Goliath Project (Treasury Metals Incorporated) east of Dryden.

Total contained ounces of gold for these eight major exploration projects exceeds 25 million ounces in three resource categories (measure, indicated and inferred). Exploration will continue on these eight projects in 2011, as well as on an estimated 200 – 250 other projects in the NW, many at the early exploration stage. Exploration expenditures are estimated to be $475 million dollars for 2011 in the NW, with well over 60% of the funds earmarked for gold!  “Exploration” alone creates many jobs and business growth in the NW. Fueled by record gold prices, excellent geology, a skilled workforce, strong contractor and consultant support, proven new discoveries, excellent infrastructure and a stable mining/regulatory jurisdiction, expenditures are forecast to continue to rise in the NW.

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Mining Contact Information

John Mason    
Project Manager, Mining Services
Tel: (807) 625-2480
Fax: (807) 623-3962
Sector/Area of Expertise: Mining