Canadian Mining Journal

Feature

Mining in Ontario

Ontario's mining industry is strong, confident and poised to build on its current standing as Canada's top jurisdiction for mining investment. The industry's confidence in the future and its firm beli...


Ontario’s mining industry is strong, confident and poised to build on its current standing as Canada’s top jurisdiction for mining investment. The industry’s confidence in the future and its firm belief in Ontario’s potential is a testament to the mining industry itself, as well as the many exciting initiatives the provincial government has implemented over the past year–initiatives that have made Ontario one of the top mining jurisdictions in the world.

Ontario’s policies and initiatives in support of mining have strengthened the mines and minerals sector and have clearly communicated to the global exploration and mining industry that Ontario is open for business.

Preliminary figures for 2000 indicate that the total value of Ontario’s mineral production in the four commodity groups that comprise the industry total (metals, nonmetals, structural materials and fuels) was $5.87 billion. This represents an increase of 12.5% from the $5.12 billion reported in 1999.

Ontario retained its position as the lead Canadian province in the value of non-fuel mineral production, as the 2000 rise in the value of nickel and platinum group metals helped to increase its share. In 2000 Ontario accounted for 30.8% of Canadian mineral production.

The contribution of each commodity group to the 2000 Ontario total was as follows: metallic minerals $3.72 billion (63.3%); structural materials $1.61 billion (27.4%); nonmetallic minerals $380 million (6.5%); and fuels $165 million (2.8%). In 2000, Ontario produced 34% of Canada’s metallic minerals and 27% of Canada’s nonmetallic minerals (including structural materials).

The five highest value metallic minerals produced in Ontario in 2000 were nickel ($1,489 million), gold ($961 million), copper ($551 million), platinum group metals ($430 million), and zinc ($143 million). Combined, these represent 61% of the total value of Ontario’s mineral production in 2000.

In 2000, Ontario yielded 63% of Canada’s nickel production, 47% of Canadian gold production, 33% of Canada’s copper production and 93% of Canadian platinum group metals production.

Final exploration and deposit appraisal expenditures for the year 1999 totaled $87.4 million. Contrary to the national trend, preliminary estimates for 2000 show a 2.6% increase to $89.7 million and a further forecasted increase of 10.4% to $99.0 million for 2001.

Spending intentions for 2001 indicate Ontario leads the Canadian provinces in exploration and deposit appraisal expenditures, representing 22% of Canada’s total expenditures, a ranking Ontario last held in 1997.

Preliminary figures for 2000 indicate a total of $303.3 million was spent on mineral exploration and development in Ontario. Total expenditures by activity in 2000 were $60 million (19.7%) for off-mine-site exploration and deposit appraisal, $29.7 million (9.8%) for on-mine-site exploration and deposit appraisal, and $213.6 million (70.4%) for mine complex development. Forecasts for 2001 mineral exploration and deposit appraisal expenditures are estimated at $291.1 million. The decline is attributed to a 10% decrease in mine complex development expenditures.

In 2000, spending by Ontario’s senior mining companies decreased by 6.2% from 1999 while spending by Ontario’s junior mining companies increased by 44.7%. Forecasts for 2001 indicate that spending by Ontario’s junior companies will continue to increase by 16.7% from 2000 and spending by Ontario’s senior companies will increase by 8.3%. Ontario’s senior companies account for three-quarters of all Ontario exploration expenditures.

The number of mining claims in good standing in Ontario at the end of 2000 was 162,329, an increase of 3.8% from 1999. The increase can be attributed to the interest in diamond exploration and platinum-palladium exploration.

Northeastern Ontario

Falconbridge Ltd. continued work on the “D” mine at its Kidd Mining Division in Timmins. This is the deep development from the 6,800- to 10,200-foot level to access additional copper, zinc and silver ore below the existing mine workings. The deep development project is projected to cost $640 million and will begin first production in 2004. When completed, the D mine will be the deepest base metal mine in the world. The project includes two new internal shafts and ramp, ore handling facilities, a paste plant for backfill and a refrigeration plant to cool mine air at depth. The work will extend the mine life by more than 15 years.

Placer Dome Inc. is nearing completion of the second phase of open pit gold mining at its Dome mine in Timmins. Once mining is completed to the 600-foot level, the third and final phase of the open pit operations will extract ore down to the final pit depth of 1,100 feet. The Dome mine, in continuous operation since 1910, is continuing an aggressive exploration effort in and around the mine property and on several optioned neighbouring properties to identify additional gold resources for the operation.

Ontario’s most advanced diamond project is located 100 km west of Attawapiskat in the James Bay Lowlands, approximately 500 km north of Timmins. De Beers Canada Exploration Inc. is testing the Victor kimberlite pipe for diamonds. A 250-tonne/day test mill has been constructed and, over the past two winters, a 10,000-tonne bulk sample of kimberlite has been processed from surface trenching and large diameter drill holes. Results of the bulk sample are presently being evaluated and a prefeasibility study is underway on the project. Similarly, active diamond exploration is underway in the area extending from Wawa to Kapuskasing where new diamond discoveries have been made and are being sampled.

The Montcalm nickel project, located 60 km northwest of Timmins, is being evaluated by Falconbridge. Work by the previous owner, Outokumpu Mines Ltd., identified a resource of 7.1 million tonnes grading 1.54% Ni and 0.72% Cu. Falconbridge is completing a $9-million advanced exploration program on the deposit. If the deposit proves viable, one of the four mill circuits at the Kidd metallurgical site will be converted to process nickel ore. The Montcalm project could contribute 750,000 tonnes of ore annually over seven years to Falconbridge’s mining operations.

Globex Mining Enterprises Inc. acquired 100% interest from McWatters Mining Inc. in the Ramp property (formerly the Argyll property) in Beatty Township, 12 km northeast of the town of Matheson. Previous work indicates proven, probable, possible and drill-indicated gold resources above the 220-m level totaling 510,116 tons grading 0.25 oz/ton (8.57 grams /tonne, g/t) Au. The addition of 283,358 tons of deeper drill-indicated resources grading 0.24 oz/ton (8.23 g/t) Au brings the total resource on the property to 813,414 tons grading 0.24 oz/ton Au.

Hucamp Mines Ltd. signed an agreement with Sudbury Contact Mines Ltd. on its Temiskaming diamond properties in northeast Ontario and Quebec. The Ontario claims include four kimberlite occurrences discovered by Sudbury Contact in 1995-96 as well as numerous untested geophysical and geochemical anomalies. Kimberlite 95-2, which has seen the most work, returned 33 macrodiamonds including four stones greater than 1 mm in size, from 1,104.44 kg of material processed. Two of the stones exceeded 2 mm in size, with the largest weighing 0.14 carat and described as a white, clear fragment by Lakefield Research.

KRL Resources Corp. received the final drill results from a 13-hole program completed in 2000 on its 100%-owned Copper Hill property. Hole GS-12 intersected two auriferous zones grading 2.57 g/t Au over 14.23 m and 0.99 g/t Au over 24.3 m. Hole GS-13 intersected 7.6 m grading 0.91 g/t Au.

Queenston Mining Inc. and Franco-Nevada Mining Corp. Ltd. completed a five-hole 1,859-m diamond drill program east of Kirkland Lake in Lebel Township over their 180 Splay and South Branch targets. Assay results on the holes intersecting the South Break were anomalous but sub-economic. Intersections on the 180 Splay included 7.27 g/t Au over 0.6 m and 2.09 g/t Au over 1.3 m in hole MU-12, and 3.88 g/t Au over 1.6 m and 2.03 g/t
Au over 4.5 m in hole MU-16.

Strike Minerals Inc. completed an overburden stripping and diamond drilling program on its newly-acquired LaCarte claims near Shining Tree. The program will evaluate gold showings at and around the recently discovered LaCarte Highway 560 showings where recent road construction revealed gold mineralization in a new road cut.

Temex Resources Corp. an- nounced surface sampling results on the Cuniptau platinum group metals (PGMs) project near Temagami. Mineralization was encountered at the footwall contact of a 10- to 15-m-wide mafic dike and was exposed over a strike length of 1.4 km. PGMs are associated with disseminated to bleb-textured chalcopyrite, pyrite and pyrrhotite. Assays ranged upwards to 3.0 g/t Au, 1.9 g/t Pt, 6.0 g/t Pd, 1,640 g/t Co, 10.85% Cu and 1.59% Ni.

Northwestern Ontario

The Musselwhite mine, owned by Placer Dome (CLA) Ltd. and TVX-Normandy Americas and located in the North Caribou Greenstone Belt, continued to produce gold throughout 2001. Production is forecast to exceed 230,000 oz for the current year. A major construction project installing an underground conveyor to surface and mill upgrades will be completed in 2002. During 2001, 33,852 m of exploration diamond drilling were completed and exploration targets advanced. Proven and probable ore reserves as of December 31, 2000 were 2.55 million oz of gold.

North American Palladium Ltd. officially opened its Lac des Iles mine expansion project in August. Over the life of the mine, Lac des Iles is estimated to produce on average 250,000 ounces of palladium per annum. Extensive exploration since 1998 has significantly increased the palladium resource on the mine property to 7.4 million ounces, with proven and probable reserves set at 4.8 million ounces of palladium. Recent exploration efforts at Lac des Iles have increased the measured and indicated resource to 145,600,000 tonnes at an average grade of 1.57 g/t Pd, 0.17 g/t Pt, 0.12 g/t Au, 0.06% Cu and 0.05% Ni. Exploration in 2001 has identified a new source of mineralization grading 5.44 g/t Pd over 54 m including 10.5 m grading 10.32 g/t Pd at the New High Grade zone.

Geomaque Explorations Ltd. completed extensive exploration of its Marathon palladium project, located 10 km north of Marathon. Preliminary assessment of the project indicates that, over a 15-year mine life, it will support the production of 949,000 oz of palladium, 267 million lb of copper, 215,000 oz of platinum, 146,000 oz of gold and 1.7 million oz of silver. Geomaque intends to move forward as quickly as possible with a bankable feasibility study.

Aurora Platinum Corp. continues to evaluate a reef-type layered gabbro complex, 30 km north of Lansdowne House in the Sachigo Subprovince. Diamond drilling, which will include testing 15 significant airborne conductive zones, has previously intersected narrow zones of massive sulphides within 20- to 50-m zones of net-textured sulphides and will continue to test Cu-Ni-PGM mineralization in the mafic complex; 5,000 m will be initially drilled.

PGM Ventures Corp. is active on two fronts in Thunder Bay North. The Springer-Lavoie Lakes project is adjacent to Aurora Platinum’s Lansdowne project. Exploration in the fall of 2001 will total $400,000 on a property that hosts a reserve of 14.6 million tons grading 0.58% Cu and 0.37% Ni and unknown PGM values to date, hosted in a layered anorthositic gabbro intrusion

PGM Venture’s Thierry Mine project is located at Pickle Lake in the central Uchi Subprovince. Exploration in 2001 was initiated with a geology and sampling program. Grab samples assayed up to 9.93 g/t platinum and palladium combined. PGM mineralization is associated with remobilized copper-nickel sulphides in an ultramafic assemblage. The Thierry mine historically produced 113.6 million lb Cu, 27.7 million lb Ni, 17,500 oz Pt and 47,000 oz Pd prior to its closing in 1982. Exploration in the 1970s and 1980s identified three additional satellite magmatic deposits (Kapkichi deposits) within the property. A reserve of 7 million tons grading 1.88% Cu and 0.23% Ni exists.

East West Resource Corp. conducted an extensive resampling program of diamond drill core at the Norton Lake property, 60 km northeast of Fort Hope. The property consists of 203 claim units and is located in the East Uchi Subprovince. PGM mineralization is associated with an 8-m-wide band of massive pyrrhotite-pyrite-chalcopyrite in a volcanic-gabbro synform. Results of reassaying of drill core include values of 3.1 g/t Pd over 7 m, values of 4.38 g/t Pt over 2.5 m, and cobalt values up to 1.07 kg/tonne. A resource of 944,500 tonnes grading 0.72% Ni and 0.56% Cu was outlined by the previous owner, Wasabi Resources Ltd., in 1981.

Landore Resources Inc. completed 2,104 m of diamond drilling on the Juneau-Junior Lakes PGM property northeast of Lake Nipigon in the Wabigoon Subprovince. All drilling was focused on the B4-7 massive sulphide zone. Sample results ranging up to 1.9% Ni, 0.6% Cu, 0.11% Co, 1.088 g/t Pd and 0.254 g/t Pt were returned. The B4-7 Zone hosts 2.2 million tons grading 0.87% Ni and 0.59% Cu. An additional 5,000 m of drilling is planned following geophysical and geochemical surveys.

Avalon Ventures Ltd. and Global Canada Co. completed a fourth phase of drilling on the Lilypad Lakes tantalum project, Uchi. Key results from a previously-completed drill program include a 22-m section averaging 0.038% Ta2O5 and 2.123% Cs2O from the Rubellite Dike, and a 10-m section averaging 0.40% Ta2O5 and 2.892% Cs2O in the Pollucite Dike system. All nine drill holes intersected significant tantalum mineralization in the fourth phase of drilling.

Linear Resources Inc. released results from recent trenching and channel sampling at two zones on its Seymour Lake tantalum property located just north of Lake Nipigon and east of Armstrong. Results from the North Aubry Zone returned values up to 2.49% Ta2O5 over 4 m. Preliminary trenching at the South Aubry Zone indicates the pegmatite dikes are at least 50 m wide with similar mineralogy to the North Aubry Zone and initial values up to 0.29% Ta2O5 over 1 m intervals. Both the North and South Aubry Zones remain open along strike to the north and south.

Southern Ontario

Aldershot, Canada Brick’s new fully-automated brick manufacturing plant, produced its first load on June 25, 2001. Once fully operational, the plant will have the capacity to produce 150 million bricks per year.

The 250,000-ft2 Aldershot plant taps into a rich long-term body of Queenston Formation shale immediately behind the plant. The use of robots will leave the 54 plant employees free to run computerized equipment and attend to maintenance duties.

Brampton Brick, with the inauguration of its new state-of-the-art plant, now operates the single largest clay brick producing facility of its kind in North America. The new plant added 125,000 ft2 to the existing facilities, thus bringing the total operational area to almost 400,000 ft2. With the added facilities, production has gone up by almost 50%. Other new machinery includes a complete new production line comprising two brick-making machines, robotically-controlled setting, three dryers, a steel-encased tunnel kiln, and packaging equipment. The expansion, costing $35 million, brings plant capacity to 200 million bricks per year.

Mary Rocca and Peter Cashin work for Ontario’s Ministry of Northern Development & Mines, Information and Marketing Services Section. Mary is a senior statistical analyst, and Peter is an information officer.


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