The title above sounds more like a sci-fi movie than the surge of interest, investment and wealth to be amassed from this historic region of Canada. As the interest in mining builds, interest in year-round regions with history, data and infrastructure in lawful, regulated markets is attractive.
The Abitibi Greenstone Belt is truly a historic and world class region. The Abitibi belt runs 160km long from Val D’Or, Quebec to Kirkland Lake, Ontario. The two names Val D’or and Kirkland Lake are legendary mining camps, and are epic in scale, scope and production. This is truly a world class region and a highlight of Canadian geography. This Abitibi region has produced 180 million ounces of gold in the past century! When I mention historic, I mean the geological formation is 2.6 billion years old! Volcanic eruptions, churning rocks and tectonic plates compressing and grinding relentlessly, furiously with slow force and heat. This region is one of the largest Archean greenstone belts mostly made up of volcanic rock, and includes ‘includes ultramafic rocks, mafic intrusions, granitoid rocks, and early and middle Precambrian sediments’.
Structural breaks, including the Porcupine-Destor and Cadillac-Larder Lake faults, are home to some of the richer deposits along the Abitibi Greenstone Belt. What we are left with today is sheer hosted deposits and VMS (volcanic massive sulfide) deposits.
When the Archean period began, the Earth’s heat flow was nearly three times as high as it is today, and it was still twice the current level at the transition from the Archean to the Proterozoic periods (2,500 million years ago). The extra heat was the result of a mix of remnant heat from planetary accretion, from the formation of the metallic core, and from the decay of radioactive elements.
This magnificent formation is situated in the Northern Pass of Ontario and Quebec with two thirds of the Belt being in the province of Quebec and one third in Ontario. Most people understand the deep resource riches that bless the majestic landscape of Canada; but along this great region is a mainly flat, though rugged, overburden land that has proven incredible data.
These two provinces are great for mining. Not to mention, they certainly have better corporate tax schemes in the form of flow-through for companies in Quebec and much stronger relationships with the Aboriginal People. Hang-ups with locals are always an issue when it comes to testing in Canada, and the current Trudeau government has done little to resolve said issues. In fact, the current government has inflamed them. That is a whole other article in itself, but luckily both Ontario and Quebec have excellent relations with the Natives, and these barren lands have been instrumental in providing funds, jobs and hope to remote communities.
Timmins, Kirkland Lake, Red Lake and Hemlo
These historic gold camps formed and forged together along two shear zones: the Destor-Porcupine and Larder Lake-Cadillac Fault zones.The Timmins-Porcupine Gold Camp of Northern Ontario, home of the Goldcorp’s Dome mine retired in 2017, and the historic McIntyre mine that was staked by Alexander Olifant (alias Sandy McIntyre) and Hans Buttner in 1909.The McIntyre mine operated for more than 75 years, between 1912 and 1988. In total, it produced 10.8 million ounces of gold. The Hollinger gold mines Discovered in 1909, as well but by Benny Hollinger and Alex Gillies, and was one of the most significant gold-mine in Canadian history. It attracted people seeking riches from all over the world to the Timmins area and to Canada.Natural Resources Canada and Ontario Geological Survey 2015, explained:“The “Mile of Gold” in Kirkland Lake was marked by the headframes of 7 major mines that dominated the town’s skyline for generations. These 7 mines each mined a part of a single orebody. Together, these mines produced over 700 metric tonnes of gold. At today’s prices, this gold would be worth about a third of a trillion dollars! Only the Hollinger-MacIntyre Mine in Timmins, and the Golden Mile in Kalgoorie, Australia, have produced more.”
This has been an incredible story and company. Kirkland Lake Gold is targeting 1,000,000 ounces of gold production for 2019! The stock has had an incredible year as production increased and the expansion of the project continued. The current volatility and uncertainty in global politics and economics has helped gold prices rise and encouraged people to find defensive strategies against a failing financial system. The company is covered by most analysts’ at large investment banks and trades actively.
The Red Lake Mining District, called the “high-grade gold capital of the world”, is where Great Bear Resources has been roaring. On the junior side is the advanced exploration company, Great Bear Resources. This is arguably the story of the year and truly illustrates a model for exploration, discovery and capital markets. Though I do have a contract with this company, with how it has been preforming I do not believe anyone would question the credibility of this working relationship. I consider it a privilege that they have agreed to work with me in helping to tell their story! If you do not know this company check out A Great Bear Roaring or the video on BNN with Chris Taylor to get a good sense of this incredible story.
The Hemlo Gold Camp, sparked a staking rush which rivaled the Klondike, setting up the Williams, Golden Giant and David Bell Mine gold mines. Hemlo is held by Barrick and Zijin Mining Group each owning 47.5% of the operation. The mine has produced more than 21 million ounces of gold and has been operating continuously for more than 30 years. It consists of the Williams mine—an underground and open pit operation—located about 350 kilometers east of Thunder Bay, Ontario.
The Malartic Gold Camp is home of Quebec’s largest gold mine at 500,000-plus ounces per year. That is an astonishing number and by far the largest production mine on the AGB. Agnico Eagle and Yamana Gold partnered to put this into production. Since the 1930s, there have been 7 producing gold mines at the Cadillac, Malartic, and Val d’Or (French for – “Valley of Gold”) camps which have produced more than 45 million ounces of gold. Notably, and perhaps more notoriously is Detour Gold in the news and Agnico Eagle/Yamana partnership with Val D’Or.
Agnico Eagle has 3 other major mines: Goldex, La Ronde and La Ronde 5.The stock has had a tremendous year gaining from roughly $45 to $71 dollars at the start of a commodity and mining sector boon.
LaRonde is Agnico Eagle’s flagship mine, located in the Abitibi region of northwestern Quebec. LaRonde has produced almost 6 million ounces of gold since it opened in 1988. LaRonde’s 2.2-km deep Penna Shaft is now the deepest single-lift shaft in the Western Hemisphere. Of course, Agnico Eagle is a major mining company with projects all over the world, and is certainly not a pure play on this region but it is a reflection of the type of company that becomes interested in the speculative risk capital junior explorers deploy to price up a property.
When I do overviews of regions, I like to mention not only the significant players, producers and success stories but also some of the junior exploration stories that have caught my eye:
Gatling Resources is a new company with a strong team, support and project on their flagship Larder Project. This Project hosts three high-grade gold deposits only 7kms along trend of the Kerr Addison mine: Cheminis, Bear Lake and Fernland. That mine produced 10.5Moz gold historically and through an aggressive, data driven 35,000-meter drill project with near surface, as well as new untested sites. All these deposits are open at depth and along 14 km strike (along the Cadillac Larder break) with mineralization intersected 1km below surface. That geological feature is critical as that is an important structural feature controlling gold distribution. On top of this there was a Resource Estimate completed in 2011* with Indicated 43,800 oz Au @4.01 g/t Au and Inferred 917,000 oz Au @5.55 g/t Au. These numbers are not including the drill campaign that hopes to unlock much more resources.
Moneta Porcupine has been holding its own and has incredible neighbors: Newmont-Goldcorp, McEwen Mining, Osisko Mining and Kirkland Lake Gold. In fact, one of the properties Garrison is a joint venture 50% split with Kirkland Lake Gold. The company has $3 million cash and is still maintaining in the difficult market and with support from Eric Sprott for $2 million we can be encouraged that this is credible. Recognizing ‘lifestyle companies’ over actual companies is key in this market and for those that are not able to spend the time evaluating or speaking with companies looking at the institutional support and key investor base can add credibility and de-risk a potential play.
he last consideration is Amex Exploration which has had been hitting the mark lately, but not receiving the same recognition as Great Bear resources. I hesitate to compare anything to Great Bear Resources as it is a standout example of what a successful exploration success story looks like. This company is showing some signs of that possible future. The company has roughly 71 million shares outstanding and a market cap of $68 million. The company has #3 million cash in the till and Eric Sprott owns 8.5% of the company. The company is technically exceptional and believe that there are multiple mine opportunities along the 10km of strike they have been developing. One of the great things other than them proving up 6 drill targets is the fact that they have been shallow in their drilling only going 475 meters. There is a great deal of depth one can go. Kirkland Lake is 1.7 km depth.This is a hasty overview of such a prolific gold region. One could write at length simply about the incredible history of each camp throughout this incredible belt. The world is watching gold again and garnering much more attention lately and despite some trading, gains and pullbacks the outlook for gold is impressive. We have just entered the start of a mining bull run and many of these stocks will have tremendous success. Certainly, junior explorers are speculative risk but regions like this in safe jurisdictions are prized. There is no doubt that gold is being introduced to the mainstream, again. The case for gold is apparent but a whole other article. We can all agree that there is skepticism in the stock markets but that is mainly focused on technology and the companies that funds by in their strategy of ‘too big, too fail’. Those that position themselves with their high-risk capital into mining are going to be rewarded.
Securities Disclosure: I, Andrew O’Donnell, i am renumerated by Great Bear Resources.
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