December 2, 2021


Through Education Matters

The Heritage of the Abitibi Gold Belt

At the coronary heart of Canada lies a greenstone belt that has provided the nation with more than 90% of its gold production. With additional than 100 decades of gold discovery in the Abitibi region situated involving Québec and Ontario, this region was the kiln that aided forge the Canadian mining market.

Ever considering that the discovery of gold at Lac Fortune in 1906, the Abitibi has grown to turn into 1 of the world’s most prolific gold mining areas, and has produced more than 190 million ounces of gold.

This graphic sponsored by Clarity Gold maps the historical past of gold discovery in the Abitibi and showcases the region’s overburden thickness. With a background of prolific discovery and output, there is continue to plenty to examine beneath the Abitibi’s locations of thick overburden.

A Timeline of Gold Discovery in the Abitibi

Canada, recognised extra for beaver pelts and timber, did not expose its riches immediately. There ended up only a handful of gold discoveries in its early heritage. Gold was initial learned in 1823, on the shores of Rivière Chaudière in Québec, further more east of the area recognized as the Abitibi nowadays.

But as settlers unfold west, gold surfaced in British Columbia and the Yukon in the late 1800s, kicking off the Cariboo and Klondike gold rushes. It wasn’t till the 1900s that gold was discovered in the Abitibi greenstone belt, marking the beginning of the contemporary era for the Canadian mining industry.

First Discovery and the Porcupine Gold Rush

Gold inside of the Abitibi was very first learned on the shores of Lac Fortune in 1906, by Alphonse Olier and Auguste Renault. This very first discovery was noteworthy, but did not final result in an instant gold hurry and mine advancement in the area.

In its place, it was a gold discovery in 1909 further west that kicked off what would be regarded as the Porcupine Gold Hurry in Northern Ontario. The dome-formed rock wherever the gold vein was learned was designed into the Dome mine, which grew to turn out to be 1 of the a few historic mines in the Timmins region.

Alongside with the establishment of the Dome mine, this gold hurry also noticed the improvement of the Hollinger and McIntyre mines which have been both equally developing gold by 1912. These three mines have served as powerhouses of Canadian gold manufacturing for a long time, delivering much more than 45 million ounces of gold collectively.

Mine Gold Created
Dome Mine 17M oz
Hollinger Mine 19.5M oz
McIntyre Mine 10.8M oz

Resource: Ministry of Northern Advancement, Mines, Organic Means and Forestry

This very first gold rush was just the commencing of the Abitibi region’s mining boom, with other discoveries on the Quebec aspect of the location also being designed all around the exact same time.

The Mining Growth on the Cadillac Fault

As the Dome, Hollinger, and McIntyre mines ended up currently being designed and began creating gold, yet another critical gold discovery transpired in the Malartic-Val d’Or area. This discovery by J.J. Sullivan and Hertel Authier was not quite ample for mine enhancement to start appropriate absent, but additional discoveries in the bordering parts had been highlighting the golden exploration probable of the Abitibi area.

In 1922, Edmund Horne identified a gold deposit in close proximity to Osisko Lake, not considerably from the very first gold discovery by Lac Fortune with Tom Powel getting a abundant gold vein close by the same year. A 3rd gold discovery in 1923 in the Malartic space by the Gouldie brothers marked the commencing of a mining enhancement increase all together the Cadillac fault where these discoveries were being occurring.

In excess of the future two decades, the fault noticed hundreds of mining statements every calendar year, with the cities of Rouyn, Noranda, Cadillac, and Malartic all rising along with mine improvement and creation. By 1931, Rouyn and Noranda experienced come to be the 2nd and 3rd most cosmopolitan cities in Quebec just after Montreal, with gold mines bringing waves of workers and explorers.

Leaps in Gold Exploration Technologies

About the adhering to a long time, technological advances in transportation and deposit detection have permitted gold discovery and development to prosper in the Abitibi region. Aerial detection approaches served determine new deposits, and the advancement of Canada’s sprawling railway methods authorized for much easier obtain and transportation of elements and individuals.

These innovations resulted in the discovery of the Detour Lake deposit alongside with discoveries that would go on to turn into the Ansil, Doyon, and Louvicourt mines. Today, historic mines born from ten years-old discoveries like Detour Lake and the Malartic mine are nevertheless producing gold.

Across the quite a few different mining camps, the Abitibi area has developed additional than 190 million ounces of gold and counting now.

Mining Camp Gold Created
Timmins 76.6M oz
Kirkland Lake 46.8M oz
Doyon-Bousquet-LaRonde 25M oz
Rouyn-Noranda 19.5M oz
Val D’Or 18.4M oz
Malartic 10.5M oz
Holloway-McDermott 3.8M oz
Chibougamau 3.2M oz
Detour Lake 3M oz
Casa Berardi 3M oz
Beattie and Donchester 1.5M oz

Sources: MNDM Figures, Kirkland Lake Gold, CBay Minerals, Agnico Eagle, Hecla Mining Enterprise, Midland Exploration

The Abitibi’s Golden Geology and Undiscovered Foreseeable future

The Abitibi’s storied history of gold discovery and production stems from its 2.6 billion year outdated greenstone belt, the defining geological variable of the region. Greenstone belts are historical terrain formed by volcanic flows together with sedimentary rocks that generally include orebodies of gold, copper, silver, direct, and zinc.

Formed over tens of millions of years, greenstone belts commence with the increasing of lava and magma by way of crustal faults that fill a wide range of basins across the region. About extended time, erosion and plate tectonics resulted in higher amounts of stress and warmth compressing levels of greenstone rock and gold-bearing volcanic flows to type orebodies of gold and other minerals.

Masking the greenstone belt and its golden deposits is a layer of overburden, topsoil that can vary from 1-20 meters of depth. A lot of of the early discoveries ended up located in the vicinity of to the area, leaving further more gold potential at depth to long term generations.

Though lots of of the places with skinny overburden have been closely explored and developed, explorers in the area like Clarity Gold are working to discover the gold deposits that lie further beneath thick layers of overburden.