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Discover Abitibi ramps up for phase four exploration.

The Discover Abitibi Initiative is alive and well in northeastern Ontario.

New funding of $43,100 from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation has helped keep the regional geoscience project pulsating with innovative ideas as it ramps up for its fourth phase.

Project manager Robert Calhoun says there is also money from the private sector and Fed-Nor, but would not disclose a specific amount.

Since its inception four years ago, 21 projects have been completed, and 22,236 claim units have been staked within Discover Abitibi's project areas, comprised largely of northeastern Ontario's Abitibi Greenstone Belt.

A recent impact survey sent out to area mining companies, which garnered 28 responses, indicated $14 million was spent with anticipated expenditures of $19 million--a proven track record of increased mining exploration and high-value job creation, according to Calhoun.

Additionally, the Vancouver-based exploration company Tres-Or Resources Limited attributes the discovery of a 23-hectare diamond-bearing kimberlite to information provided by Discover Abitibi. Calhoun adds many companies are now working in the area.

As phase four gets underway, the process will be similar to that of phase two.

"We are moving forward," he says, look for ideas as they did in phase two.

In phase two, 19 of 42 ideas were chosen. Although the 23 other projects will not be revisited, Calhoun is confident he will see some of those project ideas resurface.

"We don't want to take the next 10 (ideas from the previous phase 2 list), because there may be something that really needs to be done elsewhere."

Once the ideas have been compiled, the technical committee will decide on the projects and submit the plan to the management committee. In turn, these people will make the final recommendations to the Timmins Economic Development Corporation board of directors, the final authority in the process.

Some future goals are to establish new partnerships with Quebec, where the Abitibi Greenstone Belt crosses over, possibly stretch down south to Shining Tree, look west of Timmins and, hopefully, do some work in the James Bay Lowland area in consultation with First Nations.

"There is a good possibility if we cross-pollinated with the guys in Quebec and did things that crossed the border," Calhoun explains, "we might be able to come up with something that would be beneficial to both sides."

It would help focus on the big picture, determine differences in the geology across the border and potentially save money with air-borne contractors flying over large tracts of land.

"We are looking to test areas that haven't been tested for a while due to technology advancements," Calhoun says, "but we'll have to wait until the project ideas come in, as we don't want to put any bias into it."


Northern Ontario Business
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:special report: Timmins
Author:Larmour, Adelle
Publication:Northern Ontario Business
Geographic Code:1CONT
Date:Jul 1, 2006
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