Campbell Red Lake Mine
The Campbell Mine is one of the great gold mines of the world, having produced well over 11.15 million troy ounces of gold, so far, in its life-time, up until the end of 2005. In recent years, the Campbell Red Lake Mine has produced gold at a rate of roughly 200,000 troy ounces per year and shows no signs of letting up!
The claims that contain the Campbell Mine were originally staked in the original Red Lake gold rush in 1926 but were re-staked several times before the mine eventually went into production during 1949. The current claims were staked by Colin and George Campbell, cousins, and their partner A.K. McLeod. George was an experienced prospector who had worked for the Timmins brothers in the Porcupine gold camp. His brother Frank had been on the prospecting party that discovered the Dome Mine. George had lived in Red Lake since the early 1930’s prospecting, staking and selling claims. A tough living!
The partners were conducting reconnaissance on some claims that had reverted to Crown land and found some old diamond drill core. They had it assayed and the results were good enough that they immediately re-staked the claims! They conducted trenching and eventually found enough showings to enlist the help of promoters on Bay Street, in Toronto, to develop a mine on the property. The promoter that got the property financed, initially, was none other than Arthur White, who, eventually, became controlling shareholder in Dickinson Mines. Goldcorp Inc.’s Red Lake Mine was for many years run by Dickenson Mines and, prior to the discovery of the High Grade Zone, was called the Arthur White Mine.
Arthur White set up Campbell Red Lake Mines with a capitalization of 3.5 million shares valued at one dollar per share. Dome Mines, one of the pre-curser companies of Placer Dome Inc. sent a team of people from their Sigma Mine in Val D’Or to evaluate this new property and eventually purchased a controlling interest. The mine was a key producer in the Dome Mines fold for many years, and then Placer Dome. Early in 2006, Barrick Gold Corp. took over Placer Dome (to be come the largest gold mining company in the world) but sold all of Placer Dome’s central Canadian properties, including the Dome Mine and other Porcupine area properties (Timmins Joint Venture with Kinross Gold), Musselwhite Mine and the Campbell Red Lake Mine, to Goldcorp Inc. The Campbell Red Lake Mine and Goldcorp Inc.’s Red Lake Mine are being merged to form one efficient, excellent mining/milling complex. The two operations are both staffed with very experienced professionals staff and workers and the combined operation will be producing gold for many years to come!
In 1979, extremely high-grade gold was encountered in 1221 West A Stope in the F-Zone of the Campbell Mine at about 1600 feet below surface. The ore was largely composed of very rich leaves and clots of gold in the quartz carbonate vein material in altered basalt. There was so much gold in the rock that it only partially fractured with explosives and much of it had to be pried off of the face with scaling bars! Although most of the high grade went into the mill, a number of extremely rich pieces were recovered and kept in the vault. Most of them found their way to the mill over the years but one, “The Whopper” was retained until recently.
The Whopper was examined by the mill metallurgy department who estimated that there were 431 troy ounces of gold in the chunk. THAT is high grade! Recently, the Whopper was broken up and a number of samples on David K. Joyce’s website are from that amazing piece, from the 1221 West A Stope.
Note the 1.25” diameter blasthole remnant that runs across the middle of the Whopper! That was full of explosives at one time but the rock is so held together with gold, it would not break any finer. The different colour in the two photos is due to different light sources when the images were taken.
Giancola, D. 2004. The Canadian and American Mines Handbook, Toronto, Business Information Group, Ontario
Kutz, K.J. 1998. Untold wealth, Canada’s mineral heritage, Darien, Gold Fever Publishing, CT
Misiura, J. 2006 Goldcorp Inc., Personal communication
Smith, P. 1986. Harvest from the Rock, Toronto, MacMillan of Canada, Ontario