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100 Queens Park Circle
Toronto, Ontario

A club for people interested in collecting and learning about the science of minerals. 

Past Talks

February 2013: The Cobalt Silver Mining Area

Len Buchanan

David Joyce presented on the origins of this town, the large silver veins discoveries, and their importance to Canada and mining – giving the country an economic boost, opening up Northern Ontario, and resulting in the start of many of today’s well-known mining companies, including Hollinger, Teck, Noranda and Agnico-Eagle. David noted that Toronto has more mining engineers, mining lawyers, consultants, geologists and financiers than most other mining financial and technical centres in the world combined, due in large part to Cobalt in the first part of the 20th century.
The town of Cobalt lies about 500 km due north of Toronto off Highway 11. In the early 1900’s, the Province of Ontario wanted to open up the north with railway lines and support farming and stimulate other industrial development.  Silver was discovered in the area in 1903 by several railway workers which prompted a visit and report by Ontario’s first provincial geologist and a stampede by thousands of prospectors and fortune seekers staking claims.
In the ensuing years, Cobalt became a large town with a stock exchange, hockey team and an opera house, amongst many other indicators of a bustling town. At its peak there were over 100 mines.
Dave listed theories about the genesis of the silver deposits, for which there are a number, but concluded that the definite origin of the silver veins is still unresolved. He went on to say that veins were generally a maximum of one foot thick and incredibly rich, routinely yielding over 1,000 troy ounces per ton which is much higher ore value than average, compared to other mining camps.