Review of Mining in Ontario, 2003
Ontario’s mining industry continues to outperform all other Canadian provinces and territories in terms of exploration investment. The province is forecasting $212.6 million, or 31%, of Canada’s total exploration expenditures in 2003. This represents a 53% increase from Ontario’s already impressive figures ($139.0 million) from 2002. Strong investor interest in gold and a recent upswing in base and precious metal prices should contribute to increased exploration expenditure levels throughout 2004.
The province continues to build on its standing as one of the world’s premier jurisdictions for new mineral investment. The industry’s confidence in the future and its firm belief in Ontario’s potential is testimony to the wealth of exciting mining investment opportunities.
Preliminary estimates for 2002 indicate that the value of Ontario’s mineral production in the three commodity groups (metals, nonmetals and fuels) totaled $5.86 billion. This represents an increase of 1.5% from the $5.77 billion reported in 2001. The contribution of each commodity group to the total was as follows: metallic minerals $3.52 billion (60%); nonmetallic minerals $2.23 billion (38.2%); and fuels $106 million (1.8%). In 2002, Ontario produced 34% of Canada’s metallic minerals and 29% of Canada’s nonmetallic minerals (including structural materials).
The five highest-value metallic minerals produced during 2002 were nickel ($1,240 million), gold ($1,181 million), copper ($467 million), platinum group metals (PGM) ($378 million) and zinc ($123 million). These metals represent 58% of the total value of Ontario’s mineral production.
In 2002, Ontario yielded 66% of Canada’s nickel production, 51% of Canadian gold production, 33% of Canada’s copper production and 84% of Canadian PGM production.
Ontario continues to retain its position as the lead Canadian province in the value of non-fuel mineral production as the 2002 rise in the value of gold and nickel helped to offset a decline in PGMs. The province accounted for 32% of Canadian non-fuel mineral production.
Final exploration and deposit appraisal expenditures for the year 2001 totaled $113.6 million. Preliminary estimates for 2002 showed a significant increase of 23% to $139.0 million, and another dramatic increase to $212.6 million is forecast for 2003.
Preliminary figures for 2002 indicate a total of $364.8 million was spent on mineral exploration and mine complex development in Ontario. Total expenditures by activity were $108.8 million (30%) for exploration, $30.2 million (8%) for deposit appraisal and $225.8 million (62%) for mine complex development. Forecasts for 2003 mineral exploration and deposit appraisal expenditures, including mine complex development, are estimated at $439.6 million.
In 2002, spending by Ontario’s junior mining companies increased by more than 28% to $51 million while spending by Ontario’s senior mining companies increased by more than 19% to $88 million from 2001. Forecasts for 2003 indicate that spending by Ontario’s junior mining companies will increase by more than 26% from 2002 to $65 million and spending by Ontario’s senior mining companies will increase by almost 69% to $148 million. Ontario’s senior mining companies account for less than 70% of Ontario exploration expenditures, a decline from over 75% in 1999 and 2000.
A total of 180,073 mining claims were in good standing in Ontario at the end of 2002, a slight decrease from 2001.
Northeastern Ontario highlights
Band-Ore Resources Ltd. returned to the Thorne property in Thorneloe Twp. and reported intersecting two new gold zones. The No.14 Zone returned gold values up to 11.59 g/t Au over 2.1 m. The Red Porphyry Zone yielded anomalous gold values up to 1.1 g/t Au over 31.5 m (www.band-ore.com).
A 10,000-m diamond drilling program is underway at Lake Shore Gold Corp.’s Timmins gold project in Bristol Twp. near Timmins. The property was optioned from Holmer Gold Mines Ltd. The best intersection returned 7.5 g/t Au over 20.36 m from the Ultramafic Zone. Indicated mineral resources are 422,000 tonnes grading 13.68 g/t Au and 890,000 tonnes grading 6.4 g/t Au (www.lsgold.com and www.holmergold.com).
The Porcupine Joint Venture continued to explore its Timmins holdings. A feasibility study and permitting are underway for the proposed Pamour superpit, which is targeted for production in early 2005. The proposed pit contains a mineral resource of approximately 45 million tonnes containing up to 54 million grams of gold (www.placerdome.com and www.kinross.com).
Work on the Davidson Tisdale property of Vedron Gold Inc. and Northcott Gold Inc. consisted of an initial 25- to 30-hole diamond drilling program to test the existing gold resource of the Main zone to the 550 foot level. The Main zone remains open below 550 feet where exploration drilling is planned. Significant results from the initial drilling include 14.4 feet grading 1.12 opt Au, 18.4 feet grading 0.44 opt Au, 7.2 feet grading 0.35 opt Au, 5.6 feet grading 0.28 opt Au (www.vedron.com).
Falconbridge Ltd. announced that it has the appropriate government approvals to proceed with its Montcalm nickel mine project in Montcalm Twp., 70 km west-northwest of Timmins. Production should commence early in 2005. The Montcalm project has an estimated resource of 7 million tonnes of nickel-copper sulphide ore, of which an estimated 5.1 million tonnes grading 1.46% Ni and 0.7% Cu are mineable (www.falconbridge.ca).
De Beers Canada Exploration Inc. is conducting a feasibility study on its Victor project, 90 km west of the community of Attawapiskat. The study includes core and bulk sampling programs on three kimberlites in close proximity to the Victor: Tango Extension, Delta and India (www.debeerscanada.com).
Pele Mountain Resources Inc. has entered into an option and joint venture agreement with De Beers Canada Exploration Inc. related to Pele’s Festival property north of Wawa. De Beers has completed an airborne geophysical survey, mapping of the occurrences and is preparing to collect bulk samples this fall (www.pelemountain.com).
Spider Resources Inc. and KWG Resources Inc. further explored a volcanogenic massive sulphide (VMS) style base metal discovery at their McFaulds Lake project on the western edge of the James Bay Lowlands, 310 km north of Nakina. There are three separate sites with similar mineralization on the property. The best drill intersection to date graded 0.51% Cu, 4.83% Zn, 0.07 g/t Au and 2.73 g/t Ag over 25.75 m followed by a copper-rich section of 1.50% Cu, 0.12% Zn, 0.32 g/t Au, 8.47g/t Ag over 7.95 m (www.spiderresources.com and www.kwg-resources.com).
Niocan Inc. acquired the Argor Carbonatite property near Moosonee from Barrick Gold Corp., James Bay Columbium Ltd. and Exall Resources Ltd. Exploratory and detailed drilling, totaling 47,625 feet in 85 holes, was completed in outlining the deposit to a depth of 900 feet. The Argor Carbonatite contains 63 million tons of carbonatite grading 0.52% Nb2O5, including a high-grade section containing 10,000 tons per vertical foot grading 0.82% Nb2O5. The deposit is still open at depth and the 6,388-acre property has not been fully explored (www.niocan.com).
Apollo Gold Corp. is completing a 70,000-m drill program at the Black Fox project (former Glimmer mine), in Hislop Twp. east of Matheson. New ore shoots have been outlined along a strike length of 305 m, and mineralization is open in all directions. The best drill intersections obtained to date returned 9.5 m of 18.87 g/t Au, 3.3 m of 39.69 g/t Au and 8.8 m of 22.92 g/t Au (www.apollogold.com).
International KRL Resources Corp. completed 12 diamond drill holes at the Golden Sylvia Iron Formation Zone in MacMurchy Twp., Shining Tree area. The company intersected multiple gold zones including 6.1 m at 3.32 g/t Au, 2.2 m at 6.75 g/t Au, 0.4 m at 21.05 g/t Au and 2.3 m at 4.12 g/t Au (www.krl.net).
Young Davidson Mining Co. drilled the Matachewan gold project in Powell Twp., and three new gold zones were discovered. One is immediately southwest of No. 3 shaft, with the best intersection grading 0.10 opt Au over 114.5 feet. The other is 1,000 feet east of Matachewan Consolidated No.3 shaft with the best intersection grading 0.17 opt Au over 3.0 feet. The third discovery, referred to as the “Sheriff Zone”, was intersected west of the Young Davidson orebody, grading 2.63 opt Au over 5.0 feet (www.youngdavidson.com).
Kirkland Lake Gold Inc. completed surface and underground exploration on the new “D” zone, just east of the Macassa No.3 shaft. It currently contains indicated resources of 83,000 ounces of gold. Overall, reserves and resources in all categories at the Macassa mine are 4.4 million tons grading 0.35 opt or containing 1,576,300 ounces gold. A $21-million development program was announced (www.klgold.com).
Queenston Mining Inc. drilled several of its properties in the Kirkland Lake area. Diamond drilling on the Anoki South Zone, in Gauthier Twp., intersected two mineralized zones grading 7.2 g/t Au over 1.5 m and 3.3 g/t Au over 4.9 m. Three gold discoveries were made along the North Break and a new gold zone was also discovered in Teck Twp. on the Amalgamated Kirkland property. Drill programs were also carried out at Vigrass and Gull Lake near Kirkland Lake and on Lake Abitibi (www.queenston.ca).
Tom Exploration Inc. diamond drilled the “J” Zone in Munro Twp., 16 km east of Matheson. Drilling intersected seven gold zones, with the best intersection of 12.2 g/t Au over 4.7 m (www.tomexploration.com).
Mustang Minerals Corp. discovered a new nickel-bearing zone in komatiite rocks in Bannockburn Twp. west of Matachewan. Over the length of the exposure, grab samples from the massive sulphide zone mostly contain between 3.0% and 4.85% Ni, and samples from the adjacent disseminated zone contain between 0.19% and 0.98% Ni (www.mustangminerals.com).
Sudbury Contact Mines Ltd. completed drill programs on three kimberlite pipes on its Timiskaming Diamond project, near New Liskeard. The 95-2 pipe demonstrated large-tonnage potential and good diamond recoveries. A 500-700-t mini-bulk sample was taken at the 95-2 pipe in the fall of 2003 (www.sudburycontact.com).
Wallbridge Mining Co. Ltd. is exploring for VMS-style deposits in Ben Nevis and Clifford townships, 30 km northeast of Kirkland Lake. Diamond drill hole WBN-003, near the former Canagau mine, intersected 7.14 g/t Au and 5.48% Zn over 3.0 m (www.wallbridgemining.com).
Falconbridge is drilling a deep pilot hole at the Nickel Rim South project, Maclennan Twp., near Sudbury. An exploration shaft and underground development are planned to further explore inferred resources estimated at 6.3 million tonnes grading 1.7% Ni, 3.4% Cu, 0.03% Co, 2.2 g/t Pt, 2.5 g/t Pd and 1.5 g/t Au.
FNX Mining Co. Inc./Dynatec Corp. re-opened a ramp and reconditioned underground workings at the McCreedy West project, Levack Twp. in the Sudbury area. Measured and indicated reserves at the McCreedy West/Levack are, respectively, 6.3 million tons grading 1.9% Ni and 0.8% Cu and 0.7 million tons grading 0.4% Ni, 2.6% Cu and 5.49 g/t total platinum metals (TPM). The inferred resource consists of 1.3 million tons grading 1.9% Ni and 0.8% Cu. The companies also completed 18,559 m of diamond drilling at the Norman project. The best hole on the property to-date graded 13% Cu, 1.0% Ni and 8.1 g/t TPM over 34.9 m (www.fnxmining.com).
Pacific North West Capital Corp. and Anglo American Platinum Corp. Ltd. conducted a 40,000-m diamond drilling program at their River Valley project, Dana Twp. At the Dana Lake South Deposit, DDH DL-154 intersected the highest grade Pd-Pt intersection to-date, returning 5.02 g/t TPM over 47.0 m. Farther south a new discovery, the Varley showing, assayed up to 10 g/t TPM at surface. Follow-up drilling at the site returned 1.52 g/t TPM over 73.0 m, including 2.2 g/t TPM over 23.0 m (www.pfncapital.com).
Wallbridge Mining announced the discovery of high-grade Pt-Pd footwall mineralization on its Wisner property, North Range, Sudbury Igneous Complex. Two styles of mineralization occur, one sulphide-bearing and the other very low in sulphide content. The latter graded up to 15.81 g/t TPM over a channel sample length of 0.4 m. Further work on the property is planned.
Amerigo Resources Ltd. conducted a four-hole diamond-drilling program (992 m) on the Island Copper property in the Batchewana area, which resulted in intersections of 1.5% Cu and 0.2 g/t Au over 8 m and 4.4% Cu and 0.5 g/t Au over 2 m. The program tested the depth and extent of previously delineated Cu-Au mineralization. Also, at the company’s Coppercorp property, prospecting returned assays up to 46% Cu, 121 g/t Ag and 19.5 g/t Au (www.amerigoresources.com).
Northwestern Ontario highlights
Goldcorp Inc. reported the deepest multiple-ounce intersection yet encountered on the High Grade Zone, grading 72.4 g/t Au over 14.63 m at a depth of 2,184 m. This is 4.5 m below the planned bottom of the new shaft #3, slated to be completed before the end of 2006 (www.goldcorp.com).
Placer Dome (CLA) Inc. drilled approximately 20,000 m on its Madsen Option property, southwest of Red Lake. Results include 21.10 g/t Au over 1.55 m and 17.81 g/t Au over 4.24 m. Placer Dome can earn a 55% interest in the property from Claude Resources Inc. by spending $8.2 million prior to the end of 2004 and by delivering a bank-able feasibility study within the following two years (www.placerdome.com and www.clauderesources.com).
Rubicon Minerals Corp. completed 12,558 m of drilling on its McFinley gold project, yielding significant intersections of 48.0 g/t Au over 1.0 m in the MAC-1 Zone and 9.9 g/t over 0.9 m in the “D” Vein. Both zones are open along strike and at depth. Rubicon has raised $8 million to finance its Canadian exploration projects (www.rubiconminerals.com).
Planet Exploration Inc. and Goldcorp completed induced polarization and airborne geophysical surveys and 6,618 m of diamond drilling to follow up on Planet’s recent high-grade gold discovery on Sidace Lake, northeast of Red Lake. The partners tested a sericite schist zone containing high background antimony, arsenic and mercury that assayed 5.36 g/t Au over 36.4 m, including a high grade portion of 11.29 g/t Au over 8.5 m (www.planetexploration.info).
Wolfden Resources Inc. and Placer Dome (CLA)’s Phase II drilling, targeting extensions of the Green Altered Zone (GAZ) gold horizon, has led to the discovery of a second high-grade gold zone on the East Bay gold property northeast of Red Lake. The results from the first hole drilled to test this target, EB03-37, intersected 21.45 g/t Au across 4.3 m. This new zone is located approximately 400 m from the GAZ gold prospect at East Bay (www.wolfdenresources.com).
Kodiak Exploration Ltd. initiated a diamond drill, mapping, prospecting and sampling program on the Lincoln gold property, northw
est of Geraldton. Results of up to 1.43 g/t Au over 30.4 m and 17.29 g/t Au over 2.98 m, were returned from channel sampling. (www.kodiac-resources.com).
Slam Exploration Ltd. and Eastmain Resources Inc. announced that their drilling program on the Reserve Creek gold property near Fort Hope has extended the depth of known gold mineralization in the Williamson A and B zones. Drilling returned 40.9 g/t Au over 0.50 m and 7.73 g/t Au over 4.1 m (www.slamexploration.com and www.eastmain.com).
Landore Resources Inc. continued exploration on its Junior Lake and Miminiska Lake properties in the Armstrong and Fort Hope areas, respectively. A new gold zone, returning up to 11.9 g/t Au in grab samples, was discovered at Junior Lake. At Miminiska Lake, gold mineralization was intersected and included 40.2 g/t Au over 2.1 m, and 9.7 g/t Au over 4.3 m (www.landore.com).
Freewest Resources Canada Inc. reported grab samples assaying up to 10.85 opt Au, 72 g/t Ag, 5.2% Pb and 3% Zn from the Larose property west of Thunder Bay. Stripping has exposed the mineralized zone for more than 1.9 km along strike (www.freewest.com).
ValGold Resources Ltd. conducted diamond drilling on the Tower Mountain project west of Thunder Bay and intersected 5.40 g/t Au over 7.5 m, including a higher-grade section assaying 11.8 g/t Au over 3.0 m. Additional stripping, trenching and sampling was conducted during the field season and a second drill program has recently been initiated (www.valgold.com).
RJK Explorations Ltd. announced a new gold discovery on the Wedge property west of Thunder Bay. Hole WGE-03-01 returned 5.89 g/t Au over 3.0 m. Diamond drilling is currently ongoing on the property (www.kasnergroupco.com).
Prospecting by G. and M. Gionet has extended the Moshkinabi sulphide zone near Manitouwadge. Stripping and trenching have exposed nearly massive sulphide mineralization for more than 100 m along strike. Grab samples have assayed as high as 14.15% Cu, 0.91% Ni, 3.04 g/t Pd, 0.54 g/t Pt and 0.20 g/t Au. Options are pending; the property has never been diamond drilled.
Canadian Golden Dragon Resources Ltd. has discovered new gold zones and has extended a base metal-mineralized, chert-exhalative horizon 400 m to the west on the Vanguard project near Shebandowan. Grab samples assayed up to 16.5 g/t Au from quartz-pyrite veins in a carbonatized, magnetic zone that parallels the chert horizon. Diamond drilling on the West Vanguard zone assayed up to 2.33% Cu and 4.26% Zn, and drilling on the East Vanguard returned 2.14 g/t Au, 43.4 g/t Ag, 2.73% Cu and 3.49% Zn over 6.6 m.
Metalore Resources Ltd. acquired the Cedartree Lake property, southeast of Kenora, from Avalon Ventures Ltd. in August 2002. An initial drill program yielded an intersection of 14.2 m grading 33.2 g/t Au. A follow-up drill program was initiated in September 2003; results are pending (metaloreresources.com and avalonventures.com).
Houston Lake Mining Inc. conducted line-cutting, stripping, trenching, and geophysical and geological surveys on its West Cedartree gold project southeast of Kenora. Channel sampling of the Angel Hill Gold zone returned up to 7.07 m grading 13.78 g/t Au. Houston Lake is currently conducting a 1,000-m drill program (www.houstonlakemining.com).
Amador Gold Corp. acquired the KPM property west of Kenora in late 2002. A diamond drill program, initiated in May, intersected 1.6 m grading 3.61 g/t Au. The company’s revised resource estimate stands at indicated resources of 1.096 million tonnes grading 6.63 g/t Au and inferred resources of 832,000 tonnes grading 5.63 g/t Au. A winter drill program is currently being conducted (www.amadorgoldcorp.com).
Southern Ontario highlights
Limerick Mines Ltd., a new mining company, reports a new resource figure of 4 million tons grading 0.8% nickel, 0.25% copper and 0.05% cobalt for the company’s Limerick copper-nickel deposit south of Bancroft. Further evaluation and exploration of the property will begin in early 2004.
Lydia Diamond Exploration of Canada Ltd. reported that 19 clear, white and coloured diamonds have been recovered from till and bedrock sampling on the company’s unpatented mining claims south of Bancroft. The largest diamond recovered had dimensions of 0.63 mm by 0.46 mm by 0.32 mm (www.lydiadiamonds.ca).
1. Campbell mine
2. David Bell mine
3. Dome mine
4. Eagle River mine
5. Golden Giant mine
6. Holloway mine
7. Holt-McDermott mine
8. Hoyle Pond mine
9. Macassa mine
10. Mishi mine
11. Musselwhite mine12. Red Lake Division
13. Williams mine
BASE METAL MINES (NICKEL, COPPER, ZINC, LEAD)
14. Fraser mine, Lockerby mine, Onaping/Craig mine, Lindsley mine
15.Copper Cliff North mine, Copper Cliff South mine, Creighton mine, Garson mine, Gertrude mine, Lower Coleman mine, McCreedy East mine, Stobie mine
16.Kidd Creek mine
17.McCreedy West mine
PLATINUM GROUP METALS MINES
18.Lac des Iles mine
OTHER METAL MINES (MAGNESIUM, CALCIUM, STRONTIUM METAL)
INDUSTRIAL MINERAL OPERATIONS
20. AMP quarry (carbonatite)
21. Badgeley Island quarry (silica)
22. Blue Mountain mine (nepheline syenite)
23. Caledonia No.3 mine (gypsum)
24. Canada Talc Division (talc)
25. Crystal Quartz quarry (silica)
26. Deagle Twp. quarry (silica)
27. Elgin quarry (silica)
28. Fripp quarry (silica)
29. Goderich brine field (salt)
30. Goderich mine (salt)
31. Hagersville mine (gypsum)
32. Horwood mine (serpentine)
33. Kapuskasing phosphate operations
34. North Williams mine (barite)
35. Ojibway mine (salt)
36. Penhorwood mine (talc)
37. Penhorwood quarry (silica)
38. Shaw Township quarry (silica)
39. Tatlock quarry (calcium carbonate)
40. Vermiculite mine (vermiculite)
41. Windsor brine field (salt)
Peter Cashin ([email protected]) is an information officer and Brock Greenwell ([email protected]) is a senior statistical analyst, Information and Marketing Services, Ontario Ministry of Northern Development & Mines in Sudbury, Ont.