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Gold exploration active in northwest's Red Lake district.

Gold exploration active in northwest's Red Lake district

The Red Lake district of northwestern Ontario is built on a foundation of gold mining and in 1990 the tradition continues.

The district's two producing mines in Balmertown continue to churn out gold, while exploration projects are popping up across the Canadian Shield terrain and diamond drills are spinning accounts for one-third of Canada's gold production and two-thirds of Ontario's output. The Hemlo gold mines east of Thunder Bay have the lion's share, but Red Lake district mines have always been constant producers.

The A.W. White Mine operated by Dickenson Mines and the Campbell-Red Lake Mine operated by Placer Dome have produced more than 9.6 million ounces of gold in Balmertown since 1949. The Campbell-Red Lake Mine is the workhorse, with 262,000 ounces of gold per ton of ore. The Placer Dome mill operates at 1,170 tons per day. Proven and probable reserves are 6.2 million tons grading at .634 ounces per ton.

The Dickenson A.W. White Mine produced 78,000 ounces of gold in 1989 at .31 ounces of gold per ton of ore. Proven reserves are 1.397 million tons at .30 ounces per ton. The mill operates at 900 tons per day.

PROSPECTS

There are prospects for development in the Red Lake district, although no companies have announced they are ready to consider production. A number of properties are being explored near the two producing mines. New underground drilling is ongoing this summer at the Cochenour-Willans Mine which produced 1.2 million ounces gold from 2.3 million tons of ore between 1939 and 1971.

Inco Gold leads a venture with Wilanour Resources, Pronto Exploration and Bob Fasken of Pronto, who has an individual interest at the Cochenour-Willans site. The project has advanced beyond exploration and is now in pre-production activities. Further underground drilling is currently augmenting the 63,000 feet drilled last year, along with 17,000 feet of surface drilling. A bulk sample of about 7,000 tons will be extracted this summer.

"Certainly the bulk sample results will indicate whether any more work will be done here," says site geologist Tim Lloyd.

Underground drilling operations are working from the existing No. One Shaft down to the 2,200-foot level. The shaft was dewatered last spring, but no intersection results have been officially released. Potential geological reserves are estimated at 1.3 million tons grading .25 ounces of gold per ton.

The McFinley prospect near Cochenour-Willans has a 423-foot shaft and a completed mill. McFinley Red Lake Mines has not announced any plans, but drilling has indicated reserves of 890,000 tons at .21 ounces of gold per ton.

Goldquest Exploration, LAC Minerals, Exall Resources, Red Lake Buffalo Resources and Mutual Resources all have prospects in the immediate Red Lake area. Meanwhile, Chevron has a 50-per-cent option on the Goldquest property if it spends $8 million over the next five years.

Drilling will start this summer at East Bay on Red Lake. Dickenson Mines currently holds a 60-per-cent interest in the property. Meanwhile, Red Lake Buffalo has been exploring a vein off the No. One Shaft at the old Madsen Mine site with initial indications of 45,000 tons at .42 ounces of gold per ton.

Noranda Exploration, Akiko-Lori Gold Resources and Cold-fields Canadian Mining are partners in the Springpole property north of Red Lake between Springpole and Birch Lakes. Extensive drilling last winter revealed intersections of .28 ounces per ton at 92 feet, .196 ounces per ton at 34 feet and .47 ounces per ton at 47 feet. Reserves, resulting from 125,816 feet of surface drilling, are estimated at 7.9 million tons grading .07 ounces per ton.

THREE ZONES

The Lingman Lake prospect further north of Red Lake, which is being developed by Twin Gold Mines and Agassiz Resources, has reserves indicated in three zones - 1.043 million tons at .22 ounces per ton, 931,300 tons at .238 ounces per ton and 685,600 tons at .276 ounces per ton. The Lingman Lake site has a shaft down to 435 feet.
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Title Annotation:Gold Mining Report
Author:Costea, Thom
Publication:Northern Ontario Business
Date:Jul 1, 1990
Words:684
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