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Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Abitibi Gold Province of Eastern Canada

During the course of writing the articles about the states in the American Midwest where gold occurrences are we made several references to the Abitibi Gold Belt in Canada located in the provinces of Québec and Ontario. This is what the Abitibi is about.

The Dome Mine in Timmins, Ontario one of the original gold mines of the Porcupine Gold Rush

We are taught about the great gold rushes that occurred in the Western United States during the latter part of the 19th century, but we know very little about the biggest Goldrush that ever occurred in North America. Know was that the California gold rush, nor was it the Klondike Gold Rush it was the Porcupine Goldrush that occurred about 600 miles north of New York City in Porcupine, Ontario. 

This Goldrush occurred in the Abitibi Gold belt that has proved to be one of the great gold bearing provinces on earth, and appears to be exceeded in size only by the Witwatersrand of South Africa.  The Abitibi is a continuous band of gneiss, granite and greenstone extending from Wawa, Ontario to Val d’Or, Québec that is the same goes is produced more gold than there is in Fort Knox. Since 1901 the gold mines of the Abitibi region of produced more than 170,000,000 ounces of gold; more than 68,000,000 ounces of them produced in the Township of Timmins, Ontario alone.

The Kidd Creek Mine in Timmins Ontario a leading producer of copper and zinc.  NOAA

During its history of his loss of more than 100 years they have a time he gold belt has produced over 100 gold mines, and from recent exploration it appears that the Abitibi is going to produce even more gold than it has in the past. Gold is not the only metal that is produced in the Abitibi Gold belt it has also been the scene of some very large base metal mines. It is in the same town of Timmins that the fabulous Kidd Creek Mine is located that kicked off a mining rush in early 1964 that today is producing copper and zinc along with other metals at a depth around 9500 feet making it one of the deepest mines in North America. It also produced the base metal mines around Rouyn-Noranda said gave birth to the Noranda Mining Company that during its day was one of the largest mining companies in the world.

Aside from its production of over 170,000,000 ounces of gold the Abitibi has also produced 35,000,000,000 pounds of zinc, 15,000,000,000 pounds of copper and 400,000,000 ounces of silver. In addition there are several minor metals that are also produced like germanium and indium. Even today they keep finding more mineral deposits in the Abitibi.


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