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Archive for the ‘gold mining’ Category

Behave Yourself! – Rockwatching Blogging Protocal

 

scan0001, originally uploaded by Mic2006.

Well, Rockwatching has been up and running for a number of years now (5 to be exact) and I believe it has contributed significantly to the interest of people like myself who like caving, rocks, the outdoors, gems and minerals in Ontario.

We are just a few short days from 2011 and I believe it’s high time we made some resolutions -all of us  (you my loyal fellow bloggers as well).

So in the interests of all involved a few ground rules to follow on Rockwatching from now on

1) Lets not carry a personal vendetta onto this site which is meant to be a forum where like minded enthusiasts can interact in a positive way.
2) Lets respect each other and try not to get personal when we are frustrated.
3) Lets respect the basics of conservation and eco-minded thought.
4) Lets not assume stuff we don’t know for sure (hence the survey at the bottom of the post).
5) Lets keep in mind that this is all about enjoyment.
6) Lets keep in mind that just because the topic is on the table, every single aspect that pertains to it is not an open book.
7) Lets respect people who are not on the site, private property, reputations etc. Just because there is discussion of a site or feature does not mean permission has been granted to go there.

8) Lets not get petty, self righteous or important. Stop correcting my grammar, spelling or use of terms. I am a writer at heart and so I believe I can use the language as I please (providing it’s in good taste, or if I choose, not in good taste).

9) Lets not waste my time by having to re-direct you to one of the above rules.

Happy and prosperous 2011 – Mick

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Quartz seam in which the gold was found is pushed up against the rock face.

 

Abandoned Ontario Gold Mine

Looking in from the entrance of the mine, this tunnel leads on for a short distance. The granite headwall against which the quartz seam seems pushed appears on the right. Further back in the valley outside the mine, the surface extension of this granite face hangs out over the valley and then bends around to appear as the face of a smooth polished cliff that can be seen from a nearby meadow.

The air is dead in this tunnel – thus it would be reasonable to assume that it ends quite shortly, however the downward leading hole as seen in a previous post blows cold air and possibly contributes to the growth of a large, jagged lump of ice. I am reminded of an iceberg as the ice is all scalloped and smooth with nothing like the drip deposited features seen in the typical cave ice stalactites and stalagmites seen in Southern Ontario.

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Gold Bearing Quartz vein

Finding gold in Ontario

There are supposedly over 9000 abandoned mines known to exist in Ontario – shafts, caverns and tunnels, many collapsing, unstable or traps within which poisonous gases settle.

At this mine the granite hillside is undercut. Here a fallen boulder, streaking in oxidizing mineral residue, partially blocks a downward leading cavity. From another enthusiast I have learned that there is more to the mine than what I could see (I did not go in past the entrance which appears to end abrubtly). Unless there is another entrance off in the bush, this must have been the way that the old miners had followed the vein.

I understand that there is a tunnel that leads down into water and at least one other that dead ends. Don’t explore abandoned mines, they are deadly and many people loose their lives in them each year.

Apparently 2489 tons of ore were produced from this mine. It was estimated to be worth around $8500.

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The gold was in a quartz vein, but it seems to have disappeared

Algoma Region 

The vein in which the gold was found was obviously one of quartz. There is a fair bit of massive quartz scattered through the bush near by – some of the rock is translucent white and other pieces tend toward a waxy grey or even black. There must be some radioactivity in the rock for this variety of shading to have taken place.

The mine was worked until the early 1900’s and then, as was speculated – they must have lost the vein and closed in 1909 – supposedly it had shifted. Low gold prices made further exploration pointless, but drilling in 1938 revealed some significant amount of gold below – again the gold prices were said to be so low that a mining venture could not be justified. An American company made an unsucessful attempt at revival in the 1980’s.

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Hempfest near the Mine


Abandoned Gold Mine in Ontario

There are a couple of interesting rumors floating around about this mine, one, like the rumour of the chicken in El Dorado suggests that a local cow was found to have a nugget in its belly when slaughtered. Another rumor was that the fatality that contributed to the mine’s closure was a collapse that killed several workers – other sources suggest that it was only 1 worker who had died. Apparently the body/bodies were never recovered.

Anyway, this old gold mine is at the end of a short gulley up against a remote, though beautiful hill of granite. Nearby towns are all just barely functioning, most buildings boarded up and rotting.

About the only thing that seems to have attracted outside attention lately (aside from my own) was the “hempfest” nearby – but none of that at the mine.

Drenched in DEET, trying to read my GPS which refused to function beneath the trees, I approached the mine cautiously, watching for loose rock and the ever-present possibility of bears. (I realize that some suggest you wont find bears in mines, but that is no consolation if I round a corner and find myself face to face with the bear that isn’t there). I found no bears, but the horse flies chewed big scabs onto the top of my balding head.

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Abandoned Gold Mine in Ontario

Algoma region

You might imagine that I have lost interest in the mineral world, but it is not the case – work just becomes all-consuming some times and I need to set my personal life aside, but summer holidays are here again and its time to re-establish interest.

This past week took me north of the “Soo”, Sault Ste. Marie for those who are not familiar with the expression “Soo”. Up there, past Batchewana Bay, the shield is absolutely ancient, high hills, possibly more rugged than down around Bancroft, but no less dotted with old abandoned mines and rock hounding sites. Sadly, there is little in the way of karst as I am used to seeing it – so no caves, or none that I saw.

This picture is of an deserted house at an abandoned gold mine that I explored (more to come on that).

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Abandoned mine in Quebec – Bristol Mine

P1020339, originally uploaded by Mic2006.

Had an interesting time last weekend. I went to see the old abandoned Bristol Mine along the banks of the Ottawa River. The “town” of bristol mines still exists and the old mine property is still obvious for its enormous heaps tailings.

Bristol Mines had been opened in 1872 and by the mid 1950’s over 350 people were employed with shafts dropping down below 1200 feet (iron ore).

From the fence line you could see this piece of machinery, it is at the one end of a concrete building. I believe it is part of the “concentrator”. I suspect that there is still industry of some kind taking place on the property, the roads are plowed.

The day was incredibly cold and our time outside the car felt like were were on some kind of polar expedition – snow above the knees and icy wid that numbed the face. I think I will have to return in the summer and pay better attention to the whole area. We were on “Gold mine road Sud”. There has to be a reason for that name as well as a nearby lake “Lac de oro” and other well known mines and possible rockhounding sites (Moss mine etc).

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