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Economic Minerals and Mining Industry of Canada
Non Metallic Minerals


Supplying as they do a large proportion of the world's consumption of asbestos, the Canadian deposits of this mineral are of particular interest. While occurrences of the mineral have been noted in other localities and provinces, the principal areas are those found in the Eastern Townships, province of Quebec. The present workable deposits are—as far as exploration work has shown, and with the exception of the Danville quarries—confined to the great serpentine range which strikes through the townships of Broughton, Thetford, and Coleraine. Leaving some scattered deposits in the townships of Wolfstown and Ireland out of consideration, the total length of this productive serpentine belt is twenty-three miles, with a width varying from 100 feet in the extreme easterly part to 0,000 feet in the Mock Lake area; however, the serpentine belt as a whole in many places far exceeds the width indicated above. Active mining began about 1SS0.

The principal deposits occur at Thetford, Black Lake, Danville, and East Broughton: those at Thetford and Black Lake being the most important. The mineral occurs in a series of narrow and irregular veins, occasionally attaining a width of six inches, though those of the larger size are comparatively rare. Veins with three or four inches of fine fibre were, in the first years of working, quite plentiful; but as the mines increased in depth these appear to decrease somewhat in size. The veins reticulate through the rock in all directions. The deposits are worked by open quarrying, the long fibred asbestos of the larger veins being readily separated out, while the smaller material is carefully cobbed. This separation was at first accomplished entirely by hand, but mechanical treatment has been gradually introduced and perfected until now large mills are in operation in which the rock is broken and crushed in various ways; and the fiberized asbestos taken up from screens by suction fans, and blown into collectors or settling chambers.

The annual production is now over 100,000 tons, valued at upwards of $3,000,000: and includes a wide variety of grades from the long fibred crude asbestos, valued at $300 a ton, down to the shortest mill fibre, valued at only $2 or $3 per ton, and "asbestic" sand used for wall plaster, and valued at from 75c. to $1.50 per ton.

The Production of Asbestos in Canada 1907-8
By John McLeish, B.A. (1909) (pdf)


Though chromite is found in several parts of Canada, the only known occurrences of economic interest are situated in the province of Quebec. In this province, it is found in irregular deposits in the serpentine rocks of the counties of Brome, Megan tic, Richmond, and Wolfe. Some of these deposits have been worked, the principal ones being in the township of Coleraine, Megantic county. The ore in some cases is sufficiently graded for direct shipment, while in others concentration is necessary.

During the past few years the output of chromite—or chrome iron ore, as it is also called—has been very small. This is probably due to the falling off of the market value of the ore.

In its natural state, chromite is used in the manufacture of special firebrick for metallurgical purposes, on account of its high refractory and basic properties. It is also employed in the making of electrodes for arc lamps, but the main use for this mineral is found in the manufacture of chrome steel. The chromium contained in it gives to the steel great toughness and hardness, producing a product suitable for armour plate, metal working tools, and many special uses. Various chromic salts and colours used in commerce are derived from this mineral.

The principal market for chromite is in the United States, but some of that produced in Canada has been manufactured into chrome steel by electric smelting at Buckingham, Quebec.

It may be permitted to mention here, as an item of interest, that minute diamonds were discovered associated with chromite, which is an accessory constituent of the peridotites in the Tulameen district, British Columbia, and also with some of the chromite in Quebec.

The Production of Chromite in Canada
During the Calendar Year 1907-8 by John McLeish, B.A. (1909) (pdf)


Canada is particularly fortunate in the possession of enormous coal resources. Coal mining was one of the first mining industries to be established, and is still the most important in value of output. Though the development of this industry has been rapid in the past, it seems certain that its future growth will be even more rapid, owing to the settlement and influx of population into those parts of the country—more particularly in the western provinces—in which the principal coal fields exist. Coal is found in five provinces, as well as in the northern territories, the relative importance of each, based on annual output, being as follows: Xova Scotia, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Xew Brunswick, and Yukon Territory.

Two of the most productive of the Canadian coal fields are situated on the sea-boards, one on the Atlantic coast, and the other on the Pacific coast; a fact which is very important from an Imperial standpoint. In each case these coal fields are located on the respective coasts; both have extensive submarine extensions, and are fortunate in possessing fine natural harbours, capable of accomodating ships of any tonnage. Another coal field is situated in the proximity of the metal mining centres of British Columbia, and within easy reach of the copper and lead smelting centres of both the southern part of the province, and of the adjoining states to the south. Large tracts of the new western provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan are underlaid by fossil fuels. All of these coal fields, as well as others of less importance are briefly described in the following notes, in geographical order, beginning with the eastern provinces, and proceeding westward.

To convey some preliminary idea as to the geographical position of the coal fields in the respective provinces, the central point of each of the principal coal areas is given in the accompanying list by intersections of latitudes and longitudes (west of Greenwich). These, of course, are only to be taken as a rough guide, and a help to locate the fields. Many of these coal areas are at present well developed, and producing steadily. In others, mainly in the western part of Canada, owing to lack of means of transportation or present lack of market, only prospecting work has been done; but their coals constitute valuable reserves which, in many cases, will be drawn upon in the near future, considering the rapid rate at which the west is developing, and the establishment of numerous new means of transportation and of communication.

Geographical Position of Coal Fields.

Fields. Latitude. Longitude.

Nova Scotia:—



Svdney field.....................

.......... 40° 10'

00° 10'

Inverness field...................

.......... 40° 10'

01° 30'

Pictou field......................

.......... 45° 3o'

02° 35'

Cumberland field.................

.......... 45° 40'

04° 20'

New Brunswick:—



Grand Lake field.................

.......... 40° 05'

00° 00'




Turtle Mountain field............

.......... 49° 00'

100° 00'




Estevan or Souris field............

.......... 49° 05'

103° 00'




Bellv River field.................

.......... 49° 40'

112° 40'

Frank-Blairmore field.............

.......... 49° 35'

114° 25'

Cascade field....................

..........' 51° 12'

115° 30'

Jasper Park field.................

.......... 53° 12'

118° 00'

Edmonton field..................

.......... 53° 50'

113° 30'


British Columbia:—



Crowsnest field..................

.......... 49° 30'

114° 55'

Nicola Yallcv field................

.......... 50° 20'

120° 50'

Telk)va Valley field...............

.......... 54° 30'

127° 10'

Groundhog coal field..............

.......... 56° 45'

128° 15'

Nanaimo field, V.I...............

.......... 49° 10'

123° 55'

Comox field, V.I.................

.......... 50° 00'

125° 00'

Suquash field....................

.......... 50° 37'

127° 15'

Graham island, Q.C.I............

.......... 53° 10'

132° 00'

Yukon Territory:—

Tantalus field.............................. G2° 10' 130° 10'

Yukon River field.......................... 04° 30' 140° 00'

In the province of Nova Scotia there are several large areas of bituminous coal, most of which are being actively worked. Besides supplying local requirements, these coals are shipped to the provinces of Quebec and Ontario, the eastern part of the United States, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, and the West Indies.

The coal bearing measures of this province belong to the Carboniferous, and are practically confined to the one horizon usually designated as the Productive Coal Measures.

The Sydney field is situated in the northeast corner of Cape Breton county, with the magnificent deep water harbour of Sydney as its central point; it also includes a small portion of Victoria county. It is bounded on three sides by the Atlantic ocean, and the land areas amount to approximately 200 square miles, being about 32 miles in length from northwest to southeast, and about 6 miles in width. The extent of the sea areas is unknown; but a great part of the local field is submarine.

Within this area the existence of nine different seams has been recognized, ranging in thickness from 3 to 12 feet; these dip at low angles 5 to 12 seaward. There are now working in the district 24 collieries, the output of some amounting to as much as S90,000 tons a year each. The total production of the field for the year 1912 was nearly 0,000,000 tons.

The coal measures of the Inverness field comprise a series of narrow-areas on a line extending from Judique to Margaree, along the western shore of Cape Breton island. The exposed measures skirt the shores of the Gulf of St. Lawrence for a distance of about 60 miles and extend inland a few miles, but dip under the sea to unknown distances. Some of the areas have been worked since 1866, but no extensive operations were undertaken until railway connexion was made with the Intercolonial in 1900.

The Pictou field, situated in the centre of Pictou county, in the easternmost field on the mainland of Nova Scotia. Its area is comparatively small; the coal measures which constitute it extend about 12 miles in an east and west direction, and have a maximum width of about 3 miles; its total area is approximately 25 square miles. The town of New Glasgow- lies on its northern boundary about half-way between the eastern and western extremities. The field, therefore, lies about 9 miles from the shore of Northumberland strait. Although small in extent, its geology is complicated, and the correlation of strata is rendered difficult owing to the occurrence of numerous faults which surround it, and cross it in diverse directions. Active mining began at about the same time as in the Cape Breton field. There are now five collieries, with a total annual output of about 785,000 tons.

In Cumberland county there are two areas of Productive Coal Measures, and active operations are carried on in both districts. One of these, the Springhill coal field, is situated approximately in the middle of the county and about 20 miles from the sea-coast; the other, the Joggins or Northern Area, is bounded on the west by Chigneeto bay. The coal seams range from 25 to 13 feet in thickness. In both fields are well developed collieries worked by slopes driven into the seams. The total production of the Cumberland field for the year 1912 was about 654,525 tons.

In the produce of New Brunswick the coal seams which are being worked are referable to the Millstone Grit formation, which in Nova Scotia underlies the Productive Measures. Only two areas have been developed into producing coal fields. The first of these, which is also the largest, is the Grand Lake area, situated in Queens county. In this coal field the measures are very nearly horizontal, and for this reason, while they do not comprise a great thickness of strata, they occupy a considerable area. Two seams of coal occur in this field, separated in places by partings of various thicknesses. The top of one is about 20" thick, while the lower bench is 10". Sometimes they come together and make a workable seam of 30". The coal occurs quite near the surface, and the deepest shafts in the district do not exceed 40 feet. This field embraces an area of about 112 square miles. The coal industry in the district can hardly be said to have passed the preliminary stages, although it has been established for many years. Small mines are comparatively numerous, each being worked individually and many of them intermittently. The sccond field in which mining is being carried on on a small scale is in Kent countv, in the vicinity of Beersville. A small seam,

under 20" in thickness, is worked on the banks of Coal branch, a tributary of the Richibncto river. The annual output of the province is now from ">0,000 to 00,000 tons.

In western Canada, unlike the eastern part of the Dominion, where the coal seams are found in horizons of Carboniferous age, the mineral fuels are associated with rocks of Cretaceous and Tertiary ages. This remark applies to the coal fields of the plains and the interior of British Columbia, as well as to the coal-bearing areas of Vancouver and Graham islands.

The Turtle Mountain coal field in southern Manitoba is approximately bisected by the longitude meridian 100° 15' west, and its length in Canada is about 40 miles east and west along the 49th parallel of latitude, which practically bisects it. The southern half lies in the State of North Dakota. The breadth in Canada is about 20 miles north and south.

According to Mr. D. B. Dowling, " the coal horizon does not appear to consist of a series of seams in continuous sheets, but rather of deposits which are limited in extent, though repeated over large areas, and often superposed without the intervention of much clay and sand. The material from which the coal was derived seems in many instances to have been made up of a large percentage of woody matter, but a great part is probably composed of much smaller plant remains, similar in character to much of that in our present swamps and peat bogs, though of different species, such as would be found in a warmer climate." In quality, this fuel is lignite, rather high in moisture. It disintegrates easily on drying, and will not stand long transportation in its natural state, but could be of great importance for local usage. Seams have been worked at various points in a small way, but no regular mining is done.

In the province of Saskatchewan, the Souris coal field forms the northern extension of the North Dakota lignite bearing region. The brown coal beds are in this case contained in horizons constituting the base of the Tertiary. The seams arc numerous, but owing to the character of the country and to the thick covering of superficial deposits, it is very difficult to study the coal formation in this district. The area covered by the coal-bearing horizons in this part of the province of Saskatchewan exceeds 4,000 square miles; it extends some 150 miles along the International Boundary, from longitude 102° westward, and has an approximate average width of 25 miles north and south. Of this immense tract, only a very small portion is being worked or has been studied in detail; very little is known of its possibilities beyond the small area in which are situated the mines near Estevan on the St. Paul line of the Canadian Pacific railway.

The lignite is rather low in fixed carbon, and high in moisture. These conditions make it difficult to transport or to store without great loss, and are also productive of great waste in the course of mining. On a comparatively short exposure to the air, the contained water is lost, and this causes a disintegration, and in time a reduction to powder.

From the commercial standpoint, the lower seam is the most important, and as it attains a thickness of 8 feet, this would yield some 11,000 tons an acre, or nearly 10,000,000 tons to the square mile.

Gas producer trials on these coals as wrell as on other lignites from Alberta show them to be excellent fuels for use in gas producers. The annual output of the Souris field is about 200,000 tons, which finds a market locally and in the Province of Manitoba.

Alberta possesses by far the most extensive coal areas of any province in Canada—in fact, the greater part of the southeastern part of the province

Lappwars to be und^llp witjyoal- -Dowling lias (\stimat(Ml the known mui mineable coal areas at not less than 30,000 square miles. These coal areas occur in three divisions of the Cretaceous. The lowest is exposed in long narrow belts in the outer ranges of the Rocky mountains and the foot-hills. These areas besides providing the best coal, are also important in that they contain many thick seams, thus ensuring a large supply of valuable coal. The middle division found occasionally in the foot-hills is better known as the Lethbridge coal-bearing rocks which are exposed over a largo area in eastern Alberta, and furnishes a coal which grades from bituminous to sub-bituminous and lignite. The higher coal-bearing beds are well exposed in central Alberta, and from the well-known coal seams on the North Saskatchewan have received the name " Edmonton beds." These, in the western edge of the area, contain seams approaching bituminous, but in the eastern part the coal is sub-bituminous.

Coals of the Edmonton Formation or Upper Cretaceous

The area occupied by these rocks is a large triangle, with its western edge parallel to the Rocky mountains, and the eastern edge nearly north and south adjacent to Lethbridge coal areas. It forms a trough in the centre of which is the remnant of the sandstone formation of the early Tertiary. The western portion produces coal that may in many cases be classed as a soft bituminous, w7hile the eastern portion contains sub-bituminous coals only.

In the immediate vicinity of Edmonton there is a very persistent bed of lignite, lying practically horizontal a few feet above the level of the river, and this is extensively worked. This seam gives from 5 to 0 feet of good, clean, lignite, which is mainly used for domestic purposes.

The Belly River coal formation occupies the middle of the Cretaceous in the geological scale and includes the Lethbridge-Medicine Hat area, the Battle River area, as well as areas in the foot-hills and on the Peace river near Dunvegan. The principal collieries are being operated between Taber and Lethbridge and at Lundbreck. The quality of the coal varies from sub-bituminous to lignite, the higher class coal being found on the western margin.

On the eastern slopes of the Rocky mountains there occurs a zone of crumpled rocks which have been subjected to very great dynamic disturbances including folding and faulting. The coal bearing areas of this zone consist of elongated troughs of lower and middle Cretaceous rocks formed by the folding of the strata. The quality of the coals of these measures varies from bituminous coking and non-coking coals to anthracite containing 85 per cent or more of fixed carbon; the amount of volatile matter depending largely on the degree of dynamic disturbance undergone by the beds.

The whole belt of the foot-hills and adjoining disturbed country to the east of it might be considered as an almost continuous zone strung with disconnected coal-bearing troughs of rocks of the Kootanie series; but from the commercial standpoint it may be divided into separate, and more or less well-defined coal fields, of which the Blairmore, Frank, Cascades, and Jasper Park areas are being worked. The Blairmore-Frank field is situated in the southern part of the province and is served by the Crows Nest branch of the Canadian Pacific railway. The coal, as a rule, is of good quality, although generally high in ash; when sufficiently pure or after washing, it yields a good coke. There are 12 large collieries in active operation, besides a number of less important openings. In the Cascade Mountain region on the main line of the Canadian Pacific railway, of which Banff is a well known point,

two coal area*; are inw\ Iptng wurked. the respective centres of which Canmore and Bankhead. The coal produced at Bankhead mine is very high in fixed carbon, and is practically an anthracite. It is very friable, and as prepared for the domestic market, it requires a great deal of sizing and screening. This results in the production of a very large1 proportion of fines, or anthracite dust, which is briquettcd and makes a very satisfactory fuel. The Cascade basin also extends south of the main line of the Canadian Pacific railway, below the Canmore area, and good seams of coal have been discovered in the district of the Kananaskis river. Farther northward, important areas have been discovered in the Bighorn basin between the Saskatchewan and Brazeau rivers, the Xekanassin area extending from the Brazeau river to the head waters of McLeod river, and the Jasper Park areas. There are important developments in progress on the line of the Grand Trunk Pacific railway, or tributary to it, and one or two collieries are already in operation. Altogether, including large and small, there are nearly 250 collieries now in operation in the province.

The coal production of the province of Alberta has increased from less than 100,000 tons in 1SS0 to nearly 4,000,000 tons in 1912, and it will probably not be many years before the output exceeds that of any other province.

In British Columbia there are three main districts in which coal mining operations arc being actively pursued. These are the Crowsnest Pass region in the eastern part of the province; the Xicola Valley district, in the central part; and the east coast of Vancouver island. Besides these, other coal basins are known and more or less prospected, but at present are too remote from means of communication to be of immediate economic value, although they constitute a reserve of fossil fuels with great possibilities.

The Crowsnest Pass coal field is situated immediately west of the summit of the Rocky mountains, in Crowsnest pass. It is all included within the province of British Columbia, excepting a small portion in the immediate vicinity of the pass, which crosses the watershed into the province of Alberta. The Crows Xest branch of the Canadian Pacific railway crosses the northern part of the coal field, and skirts its western edge for a distance of 25 miles. The rocks of the coal field are of Cretaceous age. Mr. Jas. McEvoy has made an approximate estimate of the total available coal in this field. By taking the area covered by the coal measures as being 230 square miles, and assuming a workable thickness of coal seams of 100 feet, which does not appear to be excessive, he arrives at a total quantity of 22,595,200,000 tons. The opening of the coal mines in this field marked an epoch in the development of British Columbia. Before this time the smelting industries of the Koote-nays, and of Washington in the United States, had to depend, in a great measure, on coke from the coast coal mines, the transportation of which, added to a comparatively high initial cost, rendered this fuel very expensive; in fact, the cost of fuel to the smelters has since then been reduced to about one-half. Three large companies are now operating, and the output in 1912 was 1,413,5S3 tons or about 50 per cent of the total output of the province.

Immediately to the north of the Crowsnest Pass basin of coal measures, but separated from it by a belt of the underlying limestones, there is another trough of coal-bearing Cretaceous rocks, which extends for a distance*of some 50 miles, crossing the summit of the main range. into Alberta, at the Kananaskis pass. The difficulties of access, as compared with the other coal areas lying close to the railway, have militated against the immediate active development of these areas; but a railway line, connecting with the Canadian Pacific railway at Michel, has been located, and it is probable that before long this coal field will be exploited. That large quantities of coal exist in these measures was definitely proved in 1901, by a party of the Geological Survey, when in a section of 3,380 feet, some 12 seams were observed, varying in thickness from 8" to 35 feet.

The southern interior of the province contains a number of coal fields of growing importance. Near Princeton, one colliery has been already opened and has made small shipments of lignitic eoal; but the area of this field is great—probably nearly 50 square miles—so that there appears a certainty that several other mines will eventually be opened up. In the Tulameen valley, near Granite creek, the Columbia Coal & Coke Co. is endeavouring to open up a colliery; there are some very promising outcrops, etc., high up on Granite creek and Collins gulch, but the long tunnel which the Company is driving to cut the coal at depth has not, as yet, been successful in cutting workable eoal. Mr. Camsell, of the Geeological Survey, estimates this basin to have an area of about five square miles. The Nicola Valley coal field is situated to the south of Nicola lake in the Ivamloops district of British Columbia. Although not as extensive as the Crowsnest field, or the Vancouver Island field, it is yet of great economic importance. It stands mid-way between them, hence the coal of the Nicola valley is manifestly destined to find a market in a considerable part of central British Columbia.

In the northern interior there is another prospective field which attracts great interest at present, owing to its proximity to the line of the Grand Trunk Pacific railway, which is being constructed through this district. This is the Telkwa Valley field, in the northern part of British Columbia. Some of these areas are of considerable extent, and several have been proved to contain coal of good quality and in beds of workable thickness. The character of the coal varies from a bituminous to a semi-anthracite.

About 140 miles by trail north from Hazelton near the headwaters of the west fork of the Skeena river, is another coal field of great promise, known as the Groundhog coal field. This coal is anthracite or semi-anthracite in character. From present indications and developments it would seem though this eoal field would prove to be one of the most important developments that the province has seen for many years. The field is, as yet, only slightly developed, and, if but a fraction of its present promise is fulfilled, it is bound to have a wonderfully stimulative effect upon the future of the province. The centre of this field lies approximately in 50° 45' north latitude, 128° 15' west longitude. It was first discovered in 1903, though its full extent was not at that time recognized. More recent explorations have shown the field to extend in a northwesterly direction about 75 miles, and to have a width in places of about 30 miles. The rocks in which the coal occurs have been classed as of Cretaceous age. As illustrating the comparative importance of such an area as this, it may be stated that this area alone probably contains as much coal—possibly ten times as much— as is found in all the present known coal areas in the province of Nova Scotia.

Vancouver island has been the seat of a eoal mining industry since 1836, which in recent years has not only supplied a local demand but has been largely exported, to the State of California. The Vancouver Island fields, now being exploited are situated on the east coast of the island. These coal measures may be naturally divided into two distinct fields, separated by a gap of 12 miles of crystalline rocks in the district of Nanoose. The northern area is the Comox field, and the southern one the Nanaimo field. Another field, until recently quite undeveloped, exists in the vicinity of Suquash, about 125 miles to the north. Seven collieries are now in operation in the district, and the production in 1912 was 1,571,082 tons.

The coals of the various scams, although each has its own individual characteristics, are, as a whole, much alike, and furnish a bituminous coal of fair grade, the amount of fixed carbon in the best quality ranging from 50 to 00 per cent, and the percentage of ash from 5 to 10 per cent. The most striking feature of the seams is their great variability in thickness and character. The thickness varies from a few inches to over 30 feet, sometimes within a lateral distance of less than 100 feet.

Coal is also found in the Queen Charlotte islands, the most important coal-bearing group known in this group of islands being that found in a development of Cretaceous rocks on Graham island, the most northerly island of the group. In this field, coal outcrops have been located in several places between the Skidegate channel and Yakoun lake in the interior of the island.

In the Peace River valley extensive coal fields are located and partly prospected, but these are as yet far from transportation.

Xear Bear lake and river, tributaries of the Fraser river near its most northerly head, and near the located line of the Grand Trunk Pacific railway, a coal area is being developed which, according to recent reports, has considerable promise and, being near the railway, assumes importance.

In the Yukon territory, coal and lignite occur quite extensively. Three of the most important localities containing these fossil fuels are: (1) The Whitehorse c-oal area: (2) the Tantalus coal area; and (3) the Rock Creek coal area. In the two most southerly localities first mentioned, the coal measures occur mainly in the Tantalus conglomerates, but are also found, to some extent, in the upper portions of the underlying Laberge series. These rocks ar.e all Jura-Cretaceous in age. The coals in the Rock Creek area, so far as is known, are all lignites, and occur in beds of Tertiary age. Probably the most important of these coal-bearing districts is the Tantalus area, which crosses Lewes river midway between Whitehorse and Dawson, and in which are situated the Tantalus mine, the Tantalus Butte property, and the Five Fingers mine. Coal is being mined in the Tantalus field and in the Rock Creek area at Coal creek below Dawson.

The total production of coal in Canada in 1912 was 14,498,302 tons. Canada is also a very large importer of coal, the imports in 1912 having amounted to 14,595,810 tons, and exports 2,127,133 tons. The central provinces of Ontario and Quebec being the chief centres of population, are large consumers of coal, and owing to their extreme distance from domestic source of supply find it more economical to import coal from the nearer fields of the United States.

Importance of the Canadian Coal Industry (1897) (pdf)


In spite of the large increase, in late years, in the manufacture and consumption of artificial abrasives, such as carborundum, alundum, etc., natural corundum is still preferred for certain purposes, and the Canadian deposits of this mineral vield practicallv the entire supply. In 1912 the production amounted to i,900 tons, valued at §239,091.

The corundum mines are situated in the eastern portion of the province of Ontario, in the townships of Carlow and Raglan, and mining operations have been in progress since 1900. At present, mining is being conducted solely by one corporation—the Manufacturers Corundum Company—who have acquired the mines and mills formerly operated by the Ontario Corundum Company, in Carlow, and the Canada Corundum Company, in Raglan.

The corundum occurs in the form of crystals of various sizes, disseminated in syenite, and is won by quarrying the matrix, hand-sorting the broken rock, and crushing the richer material, with subsequent wet concentration. The average corundum content of the rock treated does not much exceed 0 per cent, and, as from U to 2 per cent are lost in concentrating, the recovery represents about 4 per cent of the crude material.

Corundum-bearing rocks were first recognized in this area in 1897, and the mineral is found sparingly, but widely distributed in the rocks of this district.

Its Occurrence, Distribution, Exploitation, and Uses by Alfred Ernest Barlow (1915) (pdf)


This mineral is employed at the present time almost entirely in the pottery industry (where, in a finely ground form, it is mixed with the clay to act as a flux), or in the enamelling of cooking and similar utensils. Attempts are being made, also, to utilize the mineral as a source of potash,*_of which it contains as high as 14 per cent.

Feldspar has been mined in Canada since the year 1890, and the present average annual production is 12,000 tons. Practically the whole of the output is exported to the United States, where it is consumed in the New Jersey and Ohio potteries. Almost the entire production of Canadian feldspar is derived from the province of Ontario—the principal mines being located in the county of Frontenac, about twenty miles north of the town of Kingston on the St. Lawrence river. A few small deposits, also, have been worked in the Parry Sound district, in the vicinity of the Muskoka lakes. Formerly feldspar was mined to some extent, also, in the province of Quebec—the deposits being located in Ottawa county. No development of these properties has taken place during recent years—the distance from the United States factories rendering mining unprofitable. One mine in this region yields a remarkably pure white feldspar, which is in demand for the manufacture of artificial teeth.

Veins or dykes of pegmatite (a rock having feldspar as its main constituent) are of common occurrence throughout large areas in both Ontario and Quebec, and have in some instances been mined for the mica which they often carry. These deposits vary in width from mere stringers of a few inches to massive bodies of over a hundred feet. Such deposits, while, at the present time, often too remotely situated, or containing too many impurities in the way of accessory minerals to allow of the feldspar being employed for pottery purposes without considerable expensive cleaning, constitute large reserves of the mineral, which may ultimately prove of value as a source of potash or for other purposes.

Feldspar in Canada
By Hugh S. de Schmid, M.E. (1916) (pdf)


A deposit of fluorspar has been worked in the county of Hastings, province of Ontario, where a large vein of this mineral occurs. About 250 tons have been mined to date, the output being consumed in steel furnaces and other smelting works. 4"he vein averages two to three feet in width and has been traced for a distance of about fifty feet. The fluorspar occurs often in large and well-formed crystals of a beautiful green colour. These are frequently coated with crystallized barvtes, and are much prized as museum specimens.

Mineralogically the occurrence of fluorite has been noted at several points in New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia, and one occurrence near Nelson, B.C., was investigated as a possible source of the mineral.

Further uses of fluorspar are: as a substitute for cryolite in the manufacture of aluminium; as a bond in the manufacture of emery wheels; in carbon electrodes—to increase the lighting efficiency and to decrease the current; as a desulphurizing agent in the open-hearth roasting of ores. It is also used in the manufacture of hydro-fluosilicic acid employed as an electrolyte in the electrolytic refining of lead.

On the Optical Transparency of Certain Specimens of Fluorite (1919) (pdf)


Graphite is found in many partj^ of the provinces of Ontario and Quebec, and also, to a lesser extent, in several of the other provinces.

On Cape Breton island and in the counties of Guysborough, Colchester, and Kings, Nova Scotia, graphite has been observed, but no deposits of commercial importance have yet been recorded.

In New Brunswick—though in late years no graphite has been mined— there are several deposits that have been worked 011 a small scale, at intervals, since 1853. These arc situated in St. John county near the city of St. John. It also occurs in the counties of Charlotte, Kings, and Westmorland.

In Quebec, only one company is operating at present , though several others have been mining and milling graphite until recently, and will probably resume work later. The principal deposits of graphite are situated in the townships* of Buckingham and Lochaber, Ottawa county, near the town of Buckingham, and in the township of Grenville, Argentcuil county.

In Ontario four companies are engaged in mining and milling graphite. The operating mines are situated in the following townships: Brougham, Renfrew county; Cardiff and Monmouth, Haliburton county; Montcagle, Hastings county; and North Elmsley, Lanark county. Other important deposits of graphite are found in the counties of Haliburton, Hastings, Ad-dington, Frontenac, Leeds, and Lanark. Some of these deposits have already been worked to some extent.

Both in Quebec and Ontario the majority of deposits of graphite occur in the rocks of the Hastings-Grenville series and are of three classes:—

(1) Vpins of columnar or foliated graphite.

(2) Lenticular masses of flake or amorphous graphite.

(3) Flakes of graphite disseminated through the country rock (crystalline limestone, gneiss, and quartzite.)

Practically all of the deposits in which mining has been done belong to the third class. The graphite is extracted from the rock and prepared for the market by an elaborate system of milling.

In British Columbia graphite is reported to have been found at Rivers inlet and Alkow harbour.

Explorers have reported the presence of this mineral in several localities in the far northern parts of Canada.

Graphite is used in manufacturing pencils, crucibles for metallurgical purposes, electrical apparatus, stove polish, lubricants, heat and weather resisting paints, foundry facings, etc., etc.

Artificial graphite is made in Canada near Niagara Falls by means of an electric process.

Report on Canadian Graphite
By Christian Hoffman (pdf)


The Millstone Grit, a carboniferous formation which is widely distributed in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, is quarried and manufactured into grindstones of excellent grades. These range in size from very small stones to those used for the grinding of wood pulp, which weigh about tons each.

The producing quarries and works are situated at Lower cove and Quarry island in Pictou county, Nova Scotia; and in New Brunswick at Woodpoint, Rockport, and Beaumont in Westmorland county, Stonehaven and Clifton in Gloucester county, and Quarryville in Northumberland county.

Stone, reported to be suitable for grindstones, is found in a number of localities in other provinces, but has not been quarried to any extent.


Many large deposits of gypsum occur distributed throughout Canada; the most extensively mined areas being those in the Maritime Provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick where the mineral is found associated with rocks of the lower Carboniferous series. Many of these deposits are exposed in cliffs which vary from 50 feet to 200 feet in height.

In Nova Scotia, the principal districts in which gypsum is found are in Hants county', near Windsor; in Cumberland county near Amherst; in Victoria county near McKinnon Harbour; Baddeck, and St. Anne; and in Inverness county near Cheticamp. Gypsum also occurs in large quantities along the coast of Cape Breton island, in the interior, and along the shores of the Bras d'Or lakes.

In New Brunswick the principal deposits occur in Albert county in the district around the town of Hillsborough; near Petitcodiac in Westmorland county; and in the northern part of the province on the Tobique river at Plaster Rock, in Victoria county.

A comparatively small proportion only of this mineral mined in these two provinces is manufactured in Canada into plaster of Paris, wall-plaster, fertilizer, etc., the greater part being shipped crude to the United States.

Gypsum occurs in several of the islands of the Magdalen group, province of Quebec, where it is also associated with the limestones of the lower Carboniferous series.

In Ontario deposits are found in Haldimand county along the banks of the Grand river, the occurrence being in the Onondaga formation in beds averaging about 4 and 11 feet in thickness. A small annual output, which is mostly calcined, has been maintained for many years. Occurrences have also been noted in the northern part of the province along the banks of the Moose river in the Hudson Bay basin, about 30 or 40 miles south of Moose Factory.

In Manitoba large workable deposits of gypsum occur in an area about 8 miles square situated about 170 miles north of the city of Winnipeg. These deposits are being operated and the rock transported to Winnipeg, where it is calcined. Gypsum has also been encountered in drilling operations in the southern part of the province.

In the prairie provinces gypsum is found north of the city of Edmonton at several localities in the district tributary to the Mackenzie river.

Gypsum quarry, Cheverie, N. S.

It is also found in British Columbia at the following places: Salmon river in the southern part of the Kamloops Mining Division; Spatsumon the main line of the C.P.R. about 189 miles to the northeast of Vancouver; on the banks of the Thompson river about 20 miles to the north of the town of Kamloops; at Merritt in the Nicola valley, and in the Tulameen district on Granite creek, about 10 miles up the Tulameen river from the town of Princeton.

The quality of the gypsum found in Canada, more especially the white rock found in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Ontario, is of an exceptionally high grade. The mineral is used in many of the fine arts, and is extensively employed in the manufacture of structural materials, such as plaster of Paris, hardwall plasters, cement, etc. It is also used in the crude state as a fertilizer. The output of crude gypsum for the year 1912 was 576,498 short tons, valued at $1,320,883.

Gypsum in Canada
Its occurence, expoiation, and technology by L. H. Cole (1913) (pdf)


Magnesite is being quarried in the township of Grenville, Argenteuil county, Quebec, about 10 miles north of the town of Calumet. It occurs in the crystalline dolomitic limestone of the Hastings-Grenville series, at several points in this township, but the extent of the deposits is not known as much of the country is covered with soil and vegetation.

This mineral also occurs in deposits of considerable size in Brome county, Quebec; in several localities near Atlin, British Columbia, and in Yukon territory. These deposits have not been worked on account of contained impurities in some cases, and in others on account of lack of a close market.

Magnesite, after being calcined, is used in the making of sulphite pulp, fireproof flooring, firebrick for basic steel and copper furnaces, etc., and in the preparation of chemical products of magnesia.

During calcination it gives off carbon dioxide equal to about half its weight. Where the calcining is done in retorts, the carbon dioxide may be saved and stored in iron cylinders, under pressure, for use in aerating soda water, etc.

Magnesite Deposits of Grenville District
Argenteuil County, Quebec by M. E. Wilson (1917) (pdf)


Ores of manganese found in Canada comprise pyrolusite, manganite, psilomelane and wad or bog manganese, and these are found principally in the eastern provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

Alining operations have been conducted at Loch Lomond, Cape Breton, Tennycape, Walton and Cheverie in Hants county, East Onslow and Londonderry in Colchester county in Nova Scotia. In New Brunswick there are numerous occurrences and production has been obtained from Markhamville and Jordan Mountain in Kings county; Ouacco head, St. Johns county; Shepody mountain and Dawson settlement, Albert county.

Considerable deposits have been found on the Magdalen islands in Quebec, and occurrences have been noted at various points in Ontario and on the east coast of Hudson bay.

The only active operations being undertaken at present are those at New Ross in Hants county, Nova Scotia, where the Nova Scotia Manganese Co. are developing a property from which several hundred tons have already been shipped.

Notes on Manganese in Canada
By H. p. Brumell (1892) (pdf)


Canada is one of the three principal mica-producing countries of the world, the others being India and the United States. The average value of the mica produced annually in Canada during the last ten years has been about §185,000.

With the exception perhaps of Ceylon, Canada is the only country, as far as is yet known, in which the variety phlogopite—or " amber mica," as it is termed in the trade—is known to occur in economic quantities. The mica of commerce is of two kinds—muscovite, or " white mica," and phlogopite, or "amber mica." The former is obtained from both India and the United States, while the latter is secured almost wholly from Canada. Of the two varieties, phlogopite commands rather the higher price, being softer and more flexible and altogether more suitable for use as an insulator—this being the principal use to which mica is put at the present day.

The amber mica deposits of Canada are comprised within an area of approximately 1200 square miles in the province of Quebec, and 900 square miles in the province of Ontario. The two districts are separated geographically by the Ottawa river, and geologically by a belt of sedimentary rocks about 40 miles wide. The city of Ottawa lies between the two productive areas and is the seat of the mica industry—all the important works engaged in trimming and in otherwise preparing the mineral for the markets being located in that place.

Deposits of white mica, also, occur in Canada, and occurrences of this variety (some few of which have been worked at various times), are known from Labrador in the east to the Rocky mountains in the west, while several Arctic expeditions have returned with good specimens from the far north.

Though the average dimensions of mica sheets do not much exceed 3 x 5 inches, plates of enormous size are sometimes obtained. Crystals have been found which measured over 4 feet across and weighed nearly two tons.

About 300 mines have been worked for mica at various times in Canada, but at the present day no more than 25 are in active operation. Among the large operators may be named: The General Electric Company, of Schenectady, N.Y., Webster & Company, Ottawa; Blackburn Bros., Ottawa; Wall-Ingford & Company, Ottawa; O'Brien & Fowler, Ottawa; Kent Bros., Kingston.

Its Occurrence, Exploitation and Uses by Fritz Cirkel, M.E. (1905) (pdf)

Mineral Pigments.

Ochres, wad and ferruginous clays, suitable for manufacturing into paint, are found in many parts of Canada. These mineral pigments, when raw or burnt, give a range of colours including golden ochre, yellow ochre, cinnamon yellow, sienna, umber, Vandyke brown. Indian red, etc., etc.

Though they have been employed in small quantities, for local use, in many districts, the commercial exploitation is limited, at present, almost entirely to the provinces of Quebec and Ontario.

In Quebec there are numerous deposits of ochre in the counties to the north of the St. Lawrence river, resulting from the decomposition of iron pyrites contained in the rocks of the Laurentian hills. In the neighbourhood of Three Rivers much ochre of good quality is dug each year and manufactured into paint. Deposits are also being worked in Xicolet county, on the opposite side of the St. Lawrence.

In Ontario deposits of importance are found in various sections of the province, including Algoma district and Norfolk, Leeds, and Halton counties.

In Nassagaweya township, Halton county, there is a deposit from which ochre is now being produced in small quantities.

In Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, deposits of ferruginous clays and wad, as well as the ochre deposits of Colchester county, Nova Scotia, have been worked on a small scale from time to time. In the western provinces, deposits of workable size and grade are said to exist, but no production is reported.

The Mineral Pigments of Canada
By C. W. Willimott (1906) (pdf)


Deposits of barytes (BaS04) are found in commercial quantities distributed throughout northeastern Nova Scotia at Lake Ainslie, Inverness county, North Cheticamp, Inverness county, Five Islands and Stewiake, Colchester county, and near River John, Pictou county. At the three latter places, deposits have proved to be pockety and difficult to work at a profit, but in the vicinity of Lake Ainslie the deposits have been found to be larger and more continuous, and since 1890 the shipments of this mineral have averaged nearly 2000 short tons per annum.

At Lake Ainslie, the barytes, with some calcite and fluorite, forms a series of roughly parallel veins cutting Pre-Cambrian felsites. The veins, though showing many irregularities in size, are fairly persistent, one nearly vertical vein having a width of from 7 to 14 feet for a depth of at least 250 feet. In several instances the veins locally attained thicknesses of 20 feet.

Although this mineral is mined only at Lake Ainslie, barytes deposits are known to occur at several other localities in Canada, the more important localities being: township of Hull, province of Quebec; in the province of Ontario in the townships of Bathurst and North Burgess (Lanark county), McNab (Renfrew county), Drummer and Galway (Peterborough county), and Summerville (Victoria county). Large veins also occur on Jarvis, McKellars, and Pie islands in Lake Superior and also in northern Ontario near the headwaters of the Wanapitei river.

The product of the mill in operation at Lake Ainslie is used in the paint manufacturing trade.

The Barytes deposits of Lake Ainslie and North Cheticamp, N. S.
By Henry S. Poole (1907) (pdf)

Mineral Water.

Spring waters containing minerals in solution, or, as they are usually termed, mineral waters, occur in very many sections of the country. Many of them are being utilized commercially, both as potable waters and for bathing purposes. At several of the springs, where the water has curative properties, hotels and sanitariums are being operated. Some of these are thermal or hot springs and are principally used for baths.

Mineral Springs of Canada
In two Parts (1917) (pdf)
Part 1 | Part 2

Natural Gas.

The oldest and, at the present time, the largest natural gas producing district in Canada is the territory bordering on the east and north shores of Lake Eric. This area can at present be divided into several distinct fields, but the intervening areas between these fields are fast being drilled, and the results tend to show that in all probability the whole of this district is underlaid by gas producing strata. In the counties of Haldimand, Welland, Essex, and Kent, large supplies appear to be available. In these counties the gas horizons are in the Clinton, Medina, Trenton, and Guelph formations. In Essex, county, a single well, drilled 1020 feet to a horizon in the Guelph formation, yielded gas at the rate of 10,000,000 cubic feet per day. The gas from the Ontario district is piped to all the larger towns in the southern peninsula, wh-erBtet is-^sed for industrial and dpiAr'stic purpt>>?<. Tlr> yield from tins district for 1911, from 1027 producing wells, was 10,803,000 M. cubit feet.

In New Brunswick an important and extensive gas producing area is found in the counties of Albert and Westmorland. The main anticlinal, along which drillings are being carricd on, lies approximately 11 miles to the south of Moncton, the general trend being east and west. At the close of 1911 there was available an output of about 40,000,000 cubic feet per day. In the season of 1912 the field was further extended and proved by a number of additional wells, the total number of such holes now being 23, each with a pressure at the collar of over 100 lbs. per sq. inch. At the present time the gas is being utilized to supply the towns of Moncton and Hillsborough, but it is proposed in the near future to further extend the distribution.

In the province of Quebec, a number of wells were drilled in the vicinity of Three Rivers and the gas obtained from these wells was utilized locally for a short time, but operations have since been abandoned.

Natural gas is reported to have been encountered in Saskatchewan in wells drilled at Estevan in the southern part of the province.

Natural gas has also been found in northern Alberta along the Atha-baska river. In the southern part of the province, in an extensive area of which Medicine Hat is the centre, natural gas has been found in the Niobrara formation in a number of wells drilled to a depth of 1000 feet. Recently, wells drilled on Bow island, 40 miles west of Medicine Hat, encountered a strong flow of gas, and this gas is being piped 170 miles to Calgary, and also to Lethbridge, McLeod, and other towns in southern Alberta. The gas possibilities of the lower Cretaceous measures of Alberta and other western provinces, where capped by the upper members of the series., and where they are not so deep as to be beyond commercial reach, may be considered to be exceptionally promising, and at the present time considerable prospecting is being carried on with a good measure of success.

The total production of natural gas in Canada for 1912 was 15,2S6,S03,000 cubic feet, valued at §2,302,700.

Natural Gas in Ontario
By Eugene Coste. M.E. (1901) (pdf)


The peat deposits of Canada are quite extensive and constitute an important reserve of fuel that has as yet been but little utilized. The most important areas so far as known are those found in the provinces of Quebec and Ontario. A number of these have been systematically examined and surveyed by the Mines Branch with a view to determining their character and extent. The Branch has also carried out a comprehensive investigation of the fuel values of peat, having built a plant in Ottawa for demonstrating the feasibility of the manufacture and use of peat gas in gas engines. During the past two years air dried peat fuel from the government bog at Alfred was sold in Ottawa, and peat from a privately owned bog at Farn-ham, Que., was disposed of in Montreal. In both cases the fuel was in considerable demand for use in open grat-es and in kitchen ranges. The Alfred bog is now being operated as a private enterprise and a considerable production is anticipated.

The Agricultural Use of Peat Materials
By A. A. Swinnerton, Bureau of Mines and P. O. Ripley (1947) (pdf)

Peat and Lignite
Their Manufacture and Uses in Europe by E. Nystrom, M.E. (1908) (pdf)


At the present time the principal oil fields in Canada are situated in the peninsula of southwestern Ontario, between Lake Huron and Lake Erie. The first oil was found in Lambton county in 1862, and active production has been continued ever since. Until 1907, the Lambton County fields in which there have been about 11,000 producing wells were by far the largest producers; since then, several new districts have been opened up, the most prominent ones being the Tilbury district in Kent county and the Onondaga district in Brant county. The oil districts are all situated within an area underlain by Devonian strata, usually on an anticlinal axis, and the petroleum is largely obtained from horizons in the Onondaga formation at depths varying in the different localities. When the wells are first drilled, the natural pressure is usually sufficient to force the crude oil to the surface, sometimes producing what are known as gushers. After the flowing period, the oil has to be pumped. While some of the smaller districts became exhausted in a few years, many of the pools being only a few hundred feet wide and perhaps a quarter of a mile long, others have continued to furnish oil for a long period.

Four refining companies are operating in Canada distilling about 10 million gallons of Canadian crude oil per year, but the greater part being distilled at these refineries is still being imported from the United States. The total production for Canada for the year 1912 was 243,330 barrels valued at $345,050.

In New Brunswick, in the district lying 11 miles to the south of Moncton, oil is being pumped in small quantities from the holes which produce the gas of this district. Although the production so far is not large, drill holes are continually being sunk, and it is hoped that very shortly a stronger and more continuous yield will be the result.

In Alberta, although oil has not been encountered in commercial quantities, prospecting for it is being carried on vigorously, and there is every probability that this province will be added to the list of producers at a very early date.

In connexion with the oil industry in Canada, mention should be made of the existence of extensive deposits of bituminous shales and tar sands.

Beds of bituminous shales, as at present recognized, are found in Gaspe, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. Those in New Brunswick are without question the most important. They occur in the counties of Albert and Westmorland and extend in an easterly and westerly direction over a distance of 40 miles. During the past 10 months extensive exploration, by means of diamond drilling and surface work, has demonstrated not only the quantity but the quality of these valuable deposits. It is anticipated that in the near future a plant, with a capacity for an initial daily treatment of 2000 tons of shale, will yield approximately 80,000 gallons of crude oil per day.

1'ar sands are known to occur in Alberta along the Athabaska river for a distance of upwards of 100 miles north and south of Fort McMurray. Although the existence of these deposits has been recognized for many years, no steps have as yet been taken to accurately determine their possibilities.

Petroleum in Canada
By Victor Ross (1917) (pdf)


Canada at one time produced large quantities of mineral phosphate, or apatite, the output in 1890 amounting to nearly 32,000 tons. In this year, however, the competition of foreign countries, more particularly the southern

United States, caused a decline in the price of the mineral, with a consequent falling off in production in Canada. The annual output has continued to decline, until, at the present time, the average production falls short of 1000 tons a year. Practically the whole of this amount is obtained as a by-product in the mining of mica—the two minerals occurring in close association in many of the mines. What has been said as to the distribution of the amber mica deposits in Canada, under the head of " Mica," applies also to the occurrence of phosphate. The greatest phosphate producing area in Canada, however, was the Lievre River district, in the county of Ottawa, province of Quebec. A very rich belt of phosphate-bearing rock traverses this region and has been exploited in the past by a number of important mines, all of which have been closed down for a number of years.

The phosphate deposits of Canada are found associated with a very old series of rocks, principally granite and gneiss in which the apatite occurs in the form of veins and pockets. These bodies are very irregular in size and shape and are very difficult, as well as expensive, to mine, owing to the fact that large quantities of dead rock have to be handled in order to secure a relatively small amount of phosphate. The deposits of the southern United States, on the other hand, as well as those of Tunis, Algiers, and most other phosphate-producing countries, are of a sedimentary nature, and occur close to, if not actually at, the surface of the ground. These beds can be easily and cheaply exploited with the aid of steam-shovels and dredges— a course which it is impossible to pursue in the case of Canadian deposits. In spite of the large quantities of apatite which have been taken from the old phosphate mines inr Canada, the deposits are believed to be still very extensive, and they would doubtless be worked again, should a new use be found for the mineral or should prices warrant it.

The sole uses to which mineral phosphate is put at the present time are the manufacture of phosphorus and fertilizer.

Nearly all the phosphate now produced in Canada is consumed at the town of Buckingham, Que., where two works have been established to treat the mineral, namely: the Electric Reduction Company, engaged in manufacturing phosphorus, and the Capelton Fertilizer Company, making phos-phatic fertilizer.

Phosphate in Canada
By Hugh S. Spence, M.E. (1920) (pdf)

Pyrites and Sulphur.

Native sulphur is not known to occur in Canada in deposits large enough to be utilized commercially. The chief domestic source of sulphur for industrial uses is the mineral pyrites, which, in the pure state, contains 53*54% sulphur and 40 -06 % iron.

Important deposits of iron pyrites occur in Quebcc in the Sherbrooke district; in Ontario in the Hastings district of central Ontario, and at a number of localities east and northwest of Lake Superior. Other deposits have been found in the northern part of British Columbia at Granby bay and near Port Essington on the Skeena river. Deposits of pyrrhotite, a closely related, mineral containing, when pure, about 39% of sulphur, also occur in the southwestern part of New Brunswick, in Quebec, and in Ontario.

In Quebec, active mining operations have been carried on continuously for more than thirty years; the first pyrites used in a sulphuric acid plant in America is said to have come from the Eustis mine in this province. At present there are two producing mines; the total output is about 05,000 tons containing about 42 % sulphur, \bout one-half of this is used in Canada for the manufacture of sulphuric acid; the balance is shipped to the United States. The Quebec pvrites contains a small quantity of coppcr and a little gold and silver, all of which arc recovered by treating the cinder residues obtained in the acid works where the sulphur content is recovered.

In Ontario four pyrites mines are producing ore, two in the Hastings district, one north of Lake Superior and one northwest of Fort William. Some of this ore is used in sulphuric acid plants in Canada, the balance is shipped to the United States. In addition to the operating mines, there are several properties upon which diamond drilling has shown the existence of large bodies of pyrites. In the Sudbury district of Ontario, huge ore bodies of massive pyrrhotite are being mined as ores of nickel and copper. These ores are treated by roasting in open heaps and then smelting in blast furnaces. No attempt is made at present to utilize the sulphur content of these ores because it would cost more to save the sulphur than it is worth. There is probably nearly 100,000,000 tons of this ore available, and in the future it may prove profitable to save a portion of the sulphur. There are also numerous pyrites prospects in the province of Ontario, some of which may prove to contain valuable deposits of pyrites.

Pyrites ores in British Columbia are not mined for their sulphur content. The only location that has been thoroughly explored is that at Granby bay, about 110 miles northeast of Prince Rupert. Here development work has shown the existence of ore bodies containing in the aggregate about 12,000,000 tons. Preparations are being made to mine this ore and smelt it in water-jacketed blast furnaces to recover its copper content. The sulphur it contains will not be saved because there is no market for it on the Pacific coast.

Pyrites in Canada
Its Occurence, Expoitation, Dressing, and Uses by Alfred W. G. WUson, Ph.D. (1912) (pdf)

Environmental Sulphur Isotope V S Studies in Alberta
A Review by H.R. Krouse, Department of Physics (1987) (pdf)


Extensive beds of salt or salt producing springs are found in nearly every province of the Dominion of Canada.

The largest, and, at present, the only producing district, is situated in the southwestern peninsula of the province of Ontario, bordering on Lake Huron, the St. Clair river, Lake St. Clair, and the Detroit river. The salt here exists as beds in the Salina formation of the Silurian system, wrhich formation in the productive area is covered by upwards of 1000 feet of other strata, chiefly Devonian.

In this district, the principal plants are located at Windsor, Sarnia, Sandwich, Goderich, Clinton, and Kincardine. A prominent feature of the salt produced from the brine in Canada is its remarkable purity and also its freedom from other salts detrimental to its use in the production of caustic soda and bleaching powder. There is a good opportunity for the soda industry in the Dominion and it is assuming larger proportions each year. At Sandwich, a plant has been recently erected for the manufacture of caustic soda and bleaching powder from the brine.

The production in Canada is obtained wholly from the evaporation of salt brines, either natural or else formed by the pumping of water down drill holes to the salt beds and the re-pumping of the water when it-has become a saturated solution.

In Nova Scotia salt springs have been noted from time to time and endeavour has been made to turn these brines to commercial use. These springs come from the rocks of the lower Carboniferous series. The principal localities arc in Antigonish county near Antigonish; in Inverness county near Whycocomagh; Cumberland county near Springhill; and in Hants county near Walton. Strong brines were also encountered in bore-holes at depths of 1400 and 1870 feet at Chcverie in Hants county.

In Now Brunswick, salt springs arc known to occur ift the vicinity of Sussex ami at Saltspring brook, both in Kings county, and on the Tobique river in Victoria county. These springs, like those in Nova Scotia, have their sources in the lower Carboniferous rocks.

Manitoba furnishes brine springs of varying strength from the northwestern part of Lake Winnipegosis, at Salt point, near the mouth of the Bell river, which empties into Dawson bay. Salt springs also occur 011 the Red Deer peninsula in the southern part of Winnipegosis lake. Salt was manufactured here as early as 1820 but of late years there has been no production.

Numerous springs have been noted from time to time in the prairie provinces, especially in the Mackenzie River basin, and numerous lakes in the district lying to the north of the Cypress hills in the southern part of the prairies are known to be saline.

In British Columbia, salt springs have been noted in several places, the principal one being at the north end of Admiral island near Nanaimo. The discovery of an important deposit of rock salt has recently been reported from Kwinitsa, a station about 45 miles east of Prince Rupert on the Grand Trunk Pacific railway. This discovery if confirmed wall be of great practical importance to the marine fishing industries established on the Pacific coast.

In the year 1912, the production of salt in Canada wras 95,053 short tons, valued at §459,582.

Report on the Salt Deposits of Canada
And The Salt Industry by L. Hever Cole (1915) (pdf)


Talc or bodies of talcose mineral—in part steatite, or soapstone—have been found at many places in the Dominion, but with the exception of the mines near Madoc, Ont., they have not been mined to any great extent. In Hastings, Frontenac, Leeds, and other counties in eastern Ontario, a number of such deposits have been discovered; and in Brome county, Quebec, as well as in the Eastern Townships and in the Maritime Provinces, steatite deposits of possible economic importance are known.

In the province of Ontario, near the village of Madoc, in Hastings county, a large body of talc has been worked for several years. There are now two mines in active operation and the annual production is about S,000 tons. The value of the crude mineral is about §2 per ton at the mine, while the ground talc from the mill averages from $S to §10 per ton.

Twto mills have been erected, one at Madoc, and a smaller mill erected more recently near Eldorado, which are engaged in grinding the crude talc and preparing it for the trade. Most of the finished product finds a market in Canada, a large proportion being consumed in the paper industry. Other uses of the powdered mineral are in the manufacture of cosmetics, insulating coverings, dressing for leather, enamel paints, French chalk, and as sizing for cotton cloths. Massive talc finds numerous uses because of its refractory qualities, its resistance to the action of most acids, and its possession of a high dielectric strength.


In Nova Scotia and New Brunswick the bottoms of many of the small lakes are covered with tripolite, or, as it is also called infusorial earth, dia-tomaceous earth, fossil flour, keiselguhr, etc. This material is made up of the minute siliceous shells of diatoms mixed with small quantities of lime, alumina, and other impurities.

The more important deposits, some of which have been worked, from time to time, are situated in Victoria, Cumberland, Cape Breton, and Inverness counties, Nova Scotia, and in Kings and St. John counties, New Brunswick.

At present only one company is actively engaged in Canada in the digging of tripolitc and preparing it for the market. This company is carrying on its operations at Bass River lake in Cumberland county, Nova Scotia.

Deposits of tripolite are also reported to occur in Quebec, Ontario, and British Columbia, but none of these have ever been worked, nor do they appear to be of immediate value.

The principal uses to which tripolite is put are as a polishing material, and in making non-conducting coverings for steam pipes, etc. It is also used as a filler in the manufacturing of rubber goods, in the making of water filters, and by paint manufacturers for making a wood filler. Before the introduction of wood pulp, as the absorbent for nitro-glycerine in the manufacture of dynamite, tripoli was used for this purpose.


Materials used in the manufacture of cement in Canada include marls, limestones, clays, and blast furnace slag. The occurrence of cement materials is so widespread and abundant in all parts of the country that the question of their utilization is largely economic, being dependent upon the market for the product, the comparative availability of suitable raw materials in different localities, the cost of fuel, and the transportation facilities.

There are at present 24 completed cement plants in Canada, with a total daily capacity of about 28,800 barrels, besides several plants in course of construction. The total production in 1912 was 7,132,732 barrels, valued at $9,106,556, and in addition, 1,434,413 barrels were imported.

The operating plants are distributed as follows: one at Sydney, Nova Scotia, using blast furnace slag, three in the province of Quebec, two of which are near Montreal, and one near Hull, adjacent to the city of Ottawa, each using local limestone and clay. In the province of Ontario there are fifteen plants with a total daily capacity of nearly 16,000 barrels. Of these 11 use marl and four limestone. The marl plants are located at Marlbank, Durham, Owen Sound, Lakefield, Hanover, Blue Lake, Raven Lake, Orange-ville, and Ottawa. The limestone plants are located at Belleville and Port Colborne.

Formerly considerable quantities of " Natural Rock" cement were made from a suitable calcareous limestone found in the Niagara peninsula, but this has now been entirely superseded in Ontario by the production of Portland cement. In the province of Manitoba, a " Natural Portland " cement is made at Babcock, southwest of Winnipeg. Alberta has three limestone plants, located respectively at Calgary, Exshaw, and Blairmore. A second limestone plant is being constructed at Blairmore, while a marl plant is being constructed near Marlboro about 145 miles west of Edmonton.

British Columbia has one rock plant at Tod Inlet, near Victoria, and a second under construction at the same place, while another rock plant is nearing completion at Princeton.

Prospectus of the National Portland Cement Co. Ltd. (pdf)

Souvenir of the History, Development and Future of Portland Cement (pdf)

Clays and Clay Products.

Clays or shales suitable for the manufacture of ordinary common and pressed building brick, pottery, tile, sewerpipe, etc., are found widely distributed in almost every province of Canada, and arc being utilized wherever there is a demand or a market for clay products. Fireclays or clays suitable for the manufacture of firebrick have been found at only a comparatively few points, including Shubenacadie, X.S Dirt hills. Sask., and Clayburn, B.C., and as yet are utilized to a comparatively limited extent only.

Kaolin or china-clay has been found in the county of Argcnteuil, province of Quebec, near St. Remi de Amherst, and a washing plant lias been erected for the preparation of the material. The extent and importance of the clay-working industry is shown by the value of the production which in 1912 exceeded $9,000,000, and amongst non-metallic products was next in importance to coal. The consumption probably exceeds this value by at least one-third, owing to the large imports particularly of firebrick and of earthenware and china ware.

Boulder Clays
By Dr. George M. Dawson, D. S., F. G. S., &c., (1885) (pdf)

Building Stone and Stone Quarries.

There is scarcely any variety of stone which may not be used for building purposes, and in view of the great area and diversity in geological structure possessed by Canada, it is difficult to place any limitations upon the possibilities in the utilization of building stone and other quarry products. It may well be claimed that Canada possesses in great abundance every kind of stone required for the purposes both of common and decorative architecture; these are only commercially available, however, in districts provided with transportation facilities and where conditions respecting production are otherwise favourable for economic working.

A convenient classification of building and other stone includes: (1) granite syenite gneiss and other igneous rocks; (2) limestone and dolomite; (3) marbles; (4) sandstone; (5) slates.

At many quarries, particularly of granite and limestone, very large quantities of stone are crushed for use in making concrete and for other purposes, in fact the value of crushed stone produced is now greater than that of ordinary or dimension building stone.

At the present time quarries are being actively operated in the localities as shown hereunder:—

Granite is quarried in Nova Scotia, near Halifax and at Xietaux in Annapolis county; in Xew Brunswick in the the vicinity of St. George, Charlotte county, and at Hampstead, Queens county: in Quebec in the counties of Beauce, Stanstead, Iberville, Portncuf, and Argenteuil, while considerable quantities of syenite which is intrusive in limestone are quarried with the latter in the vicinity of Montreal. In Ontario, granite is quarried in the counties of Hastings, Leeds, Ontario, and the districts of Muskoka and Parry Sound; trap rock is quarried in the county of Peterborough, and also near Bruce Mines, Algoma. and Port Arthur, Thunder bay. Most of the quarries in British Columbia are on the west coast on Burrard inlet, or on islands conveniently situated for transportation to Vancouver and Victoria. The total value of the production of granite in 1912 was $1,373,119.

Limestone is extensively quarried, not only as a building stone, but for the manufacture of lime and cement and for use as a flux in metallurgical operations. Quarries in Cape Breton, X.S., supply stone chiefly used for fluxing in the iron and steel furnaces at Sydney, while near St. John, X.B , the output is used mainly in the manufacture of lime. There are numerous quarries in Quebec and Ontario, those in the former province being situated chiefly on the Island of Montreal and in the near-by counties of Soulanges and St. Hyacinthe, also in the counties of Portneuf and Quebec, north and west of the city of Quebec, and in the county of Wright, near the city of Hull. In Ontario, limestone quarries are widely distributed through the whole of the southern portion of the province included between the great lakes and Ottawa river, and particularly the more southerly portion of this area. In Manitoba the operating quarries arc chiefly at Garson Quarry, Gunton, Stonewall, Tyndall, and Stony Mountain. In Alberta, limestone is quarried for lime burning or cement manufacture at Frank and Blairmore in the Crowsnest district, and at Exshaw and Kananaskis on the C.P.R. main line in the foot-hills of the Rocky mountains. At Fife, Boundary district, B.C., limestone is quarried for use in the Trail smelter. The total value of the production of limestone in 1912, not including stone used for lime burning, or cement, was §2,762,936. There was produced 8,475,839 bushels of lime, valued at §1,S44,849.

Marble is obtained in Quebec, at Philipsburg and South Stukely; in Ontario in the counties of Hastings and Lanark. A number of quarries not at present operating have also been opened in British Columbia. The value of the output of marble quarries in 1912 was §260,764.

Sandstone.—Very fine building stones are obtained in the counties of Cumberland and Pictou, X.S., and in XorthumberlancI and Westmorland counties, X.B. In Ontario, sandstone is quarried in the counties of Carleton, Halton. and Peel. Several quarries have been opened in Alberta at Brick-burn, Glenbow, Rockburn, Rockdale, Stanton, etc. In British Columbia, sandstone quarries are operated on Saturna, Haddington, and Denman islands. The total value of the production of sandstone in 1912 was §329,352.

Slate.—Roofing slates have been quarried at Danville, Corris, Brompton, Melbourne, and New Rockland in southern Quebec, the quarries at New Rockland having been almost continuously operated since 1808. A new quarry has recently been opened up at Botsford in Temiscouata county. In the province of Ontario, some development work has been undertaken on a slate property, near Xew Liskeard in Hudson township. Roofing slate has also been obtained on the west coast of British Columbia.



A summary table of the mineral production in the whole of Canada has already been given in the introduction to this pamphlet, and further details of the record of production during the years 1911 and 1912 in each of the provinces are given in the following pages.

The conditions on which mining lands or mining rights may be acquired in Canada are not uniform throughout the country, but vary with the different provinces. This is due to the fact that, with certain exceptions, Crown lands and mining rights are owned or controlled by the provinces, and each province sells or leases mining lands or mining rights according to its own laws or regulations. The exceptions are, the provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta, the Yukon, and North West Territories, the public lands of which are still held by the Federal Government at Ottawa and are leased or disposed of under Dominion regulations.

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