Friday, August 13, 2010

Legendary prospectors and Minefinders!

I was pleased this week to cover an announcement in Timmins by the local prospectors association. They announced a $200,000 legacy project in honour of the three fellows who found the Big Three gold mines in Timmins. They will be creating three bronze statues of Jack Wilson, Sandy McIntyre and Benny Hollinger. They found the orebodies for The Dome, The McIntyre and The Hollinger gold mines. Forget whatever you've heard about the great gold rushes in history. The Timmins gold rush and the creation of the Porcupine Camp (in the early days gold towns were called camps) is by far the largest in North American history. The big rushes in California, the Cariboo, Cripple Creek and the Klondike were dribbles in the bucket compared to Timmins. They're still finding gold in Timmins. So it was nice to cover that announcement. By the way, the announcement was made this week at the Gold Mine Cafe and as I was driving up to the building, I couldn't help but notice there was a diamond-drill rig running not more than 50 feet away. Right now, Timmins is the mining exploration capital of the world. More than a hundred different companies are out there looking for new mines. This other photo (below) shows the guys from the prospectors association making the announcement and holding up the bronze castings of the prospectors. Heres' something interesting. The prospectors being honoured are all in the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame and are known by the unique title of Minefinders -- those rare individuals who have actually discovered a mine. There have been hundreds of famous prospectors in Canada, but not all become Minefinders. Take a look at the ordinary-looking fellow on the far right there. (click the pic to enlarge it) That's Brad Wood of Timmins. He is a modern day Minefinder. Back in the day, more than 20 years ago, when Brad was a student geologist, he spent one weekend fishing along a Northern Ontario river. That's when he found some kimberlite rock samples. Where you find kimberlite, you might find diamonds. Sure enough, Brad's discovery resulted in the first ever diamond mine in Ontario. It's now called the De Beers Victor Mine. But those in the know at the mine still call it Brad's Pit. How cool is that?

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