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Finding Gold in Ontario

Gold is found throughout most of Ontario. One of the great gold mining districts in the world, the Abitibi crosses the whole province from Lake Superior to the Quebec border.

Prospecting for gold in Ontario is practically the same thing as carrying coals to Newcastle. One of the largest gold provinces cuts right across Ontario from Lake Superior to the border of Quebec and beyond. This is the Abitibi Greenstone Belt. The major gold strike in Ontario occurred in 1909 at Porcupine that is now in the Township of Timmins. The deepest mine in North America is also found there, The Kidd Creek mine about 20 km east of town. This mine produces primarily copper and zinc, but produces gold as a byproduct.

In 2008 the largest gold strike found in North America in the past 50 years was made in West Timmins, Ontario by a gold mining company. There are also promising gold showings along the Matagami River.

According to the author’s prospecting friends in Ontario all the prospecting done in the province is in hard rock. With the amount of gold that has been discovered that really makes sense. It could be possible that what has worked in the past will work in the future. The possibility of placer mining has not happened because of the scarcity of alluvial gold. Although the Abitibi region of Ontario holds many lode mines, placer deposits are practically non-existent. The glaciers of the past million years took the gold laden soil south and deposited it in states across the American mid-west. These are from New York to Illinois.

Most of the gold of Ontario is found associated with the greenstone belts of the Abitibi and Superior Provinces that span the whole province from Manitoba to Quebec. It is thought that the gold was mobilized from the greenstones that are metamorphosed basalts by hot water. It was deposited in quartz veins that are often found near fault systems.

Another place that gold is found in Ontario is in beds of ancient conglomerate. An example of this type is a large piece of conglomerate on display on the lawn of the library in Timmins. This is probably an ancient placer deposit that has been fossilized. The stones in this piece show little or no sign of having been metamorphosed. It is an example of an Archean sedimentary rock.

Some of the other regions of Ontario that have produced gold is the area around Wawa and Marathon. The Western part of the province is also promising country to prospect. Prospecting in Ontario is not just limited to looking for gold. There is at least one active diamond mine in the James Bay Lowlands, as well as diamond bearing kimberlites found in several places in the province.

Diamonds are often found in the same rivers and streams that carry gold in their sand and gravel deposits. The largest diamond that was ever found in North America was found in a placer deposit.

There are plenty of other minerals that can be found in Ontario as well. These minerals might not be as glamorous as searching for gold, but in many ways they are more important in the modern world. Among them are copper, lead, zinc, nickel, iron, lithium, beryllium, niobium, tantalum and the rare earth elements. The platinum group metals are often found associated with copper, cobalt and nickel.

If there is anyplace where people have looked in Ontario for mineral wealth they have found it. The province maintains a very active geological survey that holds vast amounts of knowledge concerning the mineral wealth of Ontario.

If you like to read about gems go here

References:

Some of this is from the author's personal experiences prospecting and mineral collecting in Ontario.

Nick Eyles, Ontario Rocks, Fitzhenry and Whiteside, Markham, ON L3R 4T8, 2002

Gold Panning in the Madoc area of Eastern Ontario, Bob Bredberg, http://bobbredberg.com/geo/madocgp.html

Ontario Geological Survey, Ministry of Northern Development Mines and Forestry, http://www.mndm.gov.on.ca/mines/OGS/default_e.asp

Gold-bearing fault zones related to Late Archean orogenic folding of upper and middle crust in the Abitibi granite-greenstone belt, Ontario, A.P. Peschler, K. Benn, W.R. Roest, aOttawa-Carleton Geoscience Centre and Department of Earth Sciences, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ont. K1N 6N5, Canada

bGeological Survey of Canada, Ottawa, Ont. K1A 0E9, Canada

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