Every once in a while, I head to the north country to talk to mining companies, to collect and to buy specimens. Last month, I picked a week full of beautiful weather to head to Timmins and Cobalt for those purposes.
The Timmins portion of the trip was very interesting but not fruitful from a specimen standpoint. There is just not much legal gold around that a person can purchase! I did catch-up on what is happening in the area, though.
Currently, Goldcorp Inc. has just completed the acquisition of the Timmins assets of Placer Dome from Barrick Gold. Barrick Gold Corporationm, the biggest gold mining company in the world recently bought out the shareholders of Placer Dome and then spun off the Timmins assets to Goldcorp Inc. Most operating mines in the Timmins area are now run under the "Porcupine Joint Venture" a j/v between Kinross Gold and Goldcorp Inc. The Dome Mine continues to churn out gold while they are currently undertaking a huge expansion of the Pamour Open Pit.
I was on the old mine dumps at Cobalt for a couple of days with my friend Roger Smirle and we did manage to find some decent silver. The hunt for silver gets more difficult all the time but it is still there for patient individuals.
Here are some images and words about the trip I hope that you find it interesting.
Here is Roger Smirle, the "Master Detector" working at the University Mine dump where he has found very good silver in the past. He did find a couple of small pieces of high-grade, this time. The mine dumps of the area have been gone over many times by people with metal detectors so it is difficult to find anything good unless the dumps have been bulldozed or moved/disturbed for some reason.
Here is an image of the old Lawson Mine and hoist building. We did not try to find silver here but the poor old headframe is looking like it might fall over any day, so I figured that I should take a picture or two.
Here is a picture of just the Lawson Mine headframe. Just imagine the high-grade that was hoised up that little shaft!!
This is all that remains of the most recent workings at the Langis Mine which is not right at Cobalt but in Casey Township a few kilometres away, to the north of Lake Temiskaming, closer to the Quebec/Ontario boundary. This is where the Penna Shaft was and these are the remaining dumps. I did find some nice silver here and a some small pieces at one of the old time dumps further in.
Here is "yours truly" high up on the very old muck pile at the Glen Lake Mine. When I went to mining school at Haileybury, just up the road, there was a headframe and mine buildings on the property. Now there is just a very steep dump clinging to the side of the hill. I did find a couple of pieces here.
Although the old Hollinger buildings are not used for mining and processing anymore, they still are one of the dominant landmarks above Timmins. The domed ore storage bin often led visitors to Timmins to comclude that this mighty mine "must be the Dome Mine", much to the consternation of Hollinger managers!
This is a view of one of the Dome Superpit dumps from a distance. They have already started to plant vegetation on this man-made mountain!
The Dome Mine continues to churn out the gold! The underground mine has been re-opened but, unfortunately, the Dome "Superpit" ceased operations in 2005. As you can see from the sign in this picture, the Dome Mine has been a true mega-producer of gold over the past century. Over 16 million troy ounces!!
The Porcupine Joint Venture, owned jointly by Goldcorp Inc and Kinross Gold, now recover gold ore from the nearby large Pamour Open Pit Mine and truck the ore to the Dome mill.
Unfortunately, I cannot show you a picture of the Dome Superpit but here is an image of the Dome headframe, besite just one of the waste dumps from the Superpit. It is big!!
The Paymaster Mine continues to sit idle. It did produce some nice specimens of high-grade at one time.
The McIntyre Mine no longer operates but its headframe continues to overlook Schumacher, one of the old towns that was amalgamated into Timmins. The headframe is awesome but looks kind of lonely now without the other buildings that used to be beside it.
The Hoyle Pond Mine is one of the mines that operates in the Porcupine Joint Venture. At one time the mine did sell high grade gold to collectors and dealers but not for some time now.