Little Long Lac-A Sleeping Bonanza (Part 2 of 3)

Aerial view of Little Long Lac mine under construction in the fall of 1934. Note the hydro power line spanning Barton Bay. The mine received power on September 6, 1934, the cheapest mine power in Canada in exchange for constructing the line from Beardmore. Just to the right and down from the water tank is the headframe. To the right out of frame is Rosedale Point. Greenstone History collection.

One of Ontario’s most remarkable deposits found in an area long neglected, and with few signs on surface  ̶  spectacular in ore developments and in rise of shares from 25 cents to $7.70

Written for “Gold” in the Field by Ted Elliott

Leaving their Marks

About a mile and a half from [Hardrock] station on the eastern shoreline John Rae, president of Roche Long Lac, has built a fine bungalow. A little farther on Bert Tyson’s place makes a land mark in the wooded skyline, and just around a bend in the shore, Tony Okland has built an attractive establishment on a point of land reaching out into the lake. Another mile and you can see the stilted tripods of drills where “Hardrock” Bill Smith has been probing beneath the surface of the water.

On the western side of the lake there are no permanent buildings as yet but that does not mean that the country lacks inhabitants. The smoke from camp fires pillar and sway with every passing breeze. Prospectors, Indians, surveyors all wave a cheery greeting as you pass.

Opposite the drills of the Hardrock outfit you swing sharply westward through a narrow stretch of water into a larger expanse of the lake6. About a mile straight ahead from behind a green-clad jut of land the forest is topped by the black stacks of the Little Long Lac power-house pointing into the blue like two gaunt fingers. Half a mile to the left a low dock running out into the water marks the beginning of the trail that leads into the Macleod-Cockshutt property7. In a few minutes the canoe splutters around the point and the Little Long Lac camp, set in a beautiful woodland scene, breaks into view.

Not far from the landing stage is the original vein which prompted Tony Okland and Tom Johnson to stake the first claim, T.B. 10560, which was the beginning of this now famous enterprise. The vein itself is not very impressive. A brownish red, irregularly shaped strip of rock runs exposed along the surface of the country rock for a distance of approximately five hundred feet. It varied in width from a foot to four feet.

Claims are Restaked

Tony Okland first staked around Little Long Lac in 1931 but lack of funds prevented him from carrying on the necessary assessment work, and the location reverted to the Crown8. Later other finds of gold ore were being made in the district. Together with T. A. (“Tom” Johnson, Okland looked over the situation once more and restaked fifteen claims after making the discovery of a high grade deposit in a vein showing on the shore of the lake.

These samples were shown to Alan Barton, mining engineer, at Port Arthur, who liked the look of the vein material so well that he immediately wired Mr. Errington with whom he had a close association. The latter wired back telling Mr. Barton to look over the property. Two days later Mr. Barton again sent a wire telling Mr. Errington he had better come up himself as “this one looks important.”

When Joseph, himself, made the trip and examined the find, a deal was made right on the spot. The “office furniture” was a log in front of the prospectors’ tent. Tom Johnson, Tony Okland, Barton and Errington were present and drew up the agreement on such “stationery” as Mr. Errington, could produce from his inside pocket.

Image from the August 1934 edition of Gold magazine. Note the twin sheave wheels atop the headframe. A cable passes over the grooved sheave wheel or pulley to raise or lower the cage in the mine shaft.

From 25 Cents to $7.70

As an incorporated entity Little Long Lac Gold Mines Limited came into being on January 26, 1933, with an authorized capital of 2,000,000 shares of no par value, 1,800,000 shares of which have been issued at date of writing (July 17th). Holdings now comprise 35 claims or approximately 1,200 acres in several groups, with the main vein system having a strike of at least two miles on the central property and well protected as to dip. The officers are Joseph Errington, president and general manager; Thayer Lindsley, vice-president; L. A. Macdonald, secretary-treasurer; and directors are Mr. Errington, Mr. Lindsley, A. B. Gordon, Toronto; W. S. Morelock, Toronto, and D. M. Morin of Sudbury. Alan Barton, M.E., has been mine superintendent since operations commenced.

The parties to the agreement were Okland and Johnson as owners and Errington as purchaser for the Sudbury Diamond Drilling Company of which Errington is a leading shareholder. Later in a lawyer’s office the mining man’s document was translated into the stilted measures of legal terminology. This was on August 8, 1932, or approximately two years ago, since when a number of things have happened.

A relatively small sum of money  ̶  considering the millions at which Little Long Lac shares now are valued  ̶  was agreed upon, and a diamond drilling campaign was commenced. The cores, when drawn, split, assayed, and correlated showed a continuous ore shoot for a distance of 600 feet in length and 400 feet in depth. Five hundred feet of this shoot showed $30.00 ore. Was it a beautiful mining picture? Probably no other young prospect in Central Canada ever had shown such a consistent set of drill cores, as an indication of a major body of high grade ore. Nor have many proved as consistently the same conditions in actual mining operations.

Early in 1933 the company offered 300,000 shares of its capital stock to the public at 25 cents per share, which was subscribed readily. This compares with a high for the shares of $7.70 recorded on July 17, and giving the property a market valuation of $13,860,000, which, while a remarkable position for a proven prospect approaching the milling stage, also indicates the belief of the public and the mining fraternity in the deep-seated character of pre-Cambrian ore bodies when developed by mining men of experience. In addition to this, it is obvious that large blocks of the stock are closely held.

[Continued in Part 3]

ENDNOTES

6 At this point Barton Bay stretches westward from the narrows now spanned by the locally named First Bridge.

7 The trail to the Macleod -Cockshutt property eventually became Mine Road after the causeway and bridge spanned Barton Bay. Mine Road later became Highway 584.

8 Tony Oklend had claims staked on his gold showing at the Main Narrows of Kenogamisis Lake. The locally named Second Bridge, a renowned fishing spot, spans the Main Narrows. Almost directly north of the narrows is the site of Hardrock Station.

The headframe and boiler house in early 1934 with snow still on the ground. Geraldton Public Library.

PHOTOS

2d Aerial view of Little Long Lac mine under construction in the fall of 1934. Note the hydro power line spanning Barton Bay. The mine received power on September 6, 1934, the cheapest mine power in Canada in exchange for constructing the line from Beardmore. Just to the right and down from the water tank is the headframe. To the right out of frame is Rosedale Point. Greenstone History collection.

2e Image from the August 1934 edition of Gold magazine. Note the twin sheave wheels atop the headframe. A cable passes over the grooved sheave wheel or pulley to raise or lower the cage in the mine shaft.

2f The headframe and boiler house in early 1934 with snow still on the ground. Geraldton Public Library.

About EJ Lavoie

Writer and independent publisher with website www.WhiskyJackPublishing.ca
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