Mine and Mining

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Mine and Mining

In the 1860s and 1870s the resource base of Kenora was expanding from the fur trade to forestry and mining. In the early years uncertainty with respect to Ontario's western boundary caused jurisdiction problems between the Province of Ontario and the Dominion.

British North America Act 1867, Section 6, reads: The Parts of the Province of Cabana (as it exists at the passing of this Act) which formerly constituted respectively the Provinces of Upper Canada and Lower Canada shall be deemed to be severed, and shall form Two separated Provinces. The Part which formerly constituted the Province of Upper Canada shall constitute the Province of Ontario; and the part which formerly constituted the Province of Lower Canada shall constitute the Province of Quebec

The drafters of the Treaty of Paris believed the that the Mississippi River flowed north to the Arctic sea and hence the western most boundary of British North America would be the center of the Mississippi River. When the Dominion purchased Rupert's land from the Hudson Bay Company, Manitoba was only a "stamp size province" and the lands between the Province of Manitoba and Ontario known locally as the District of Keewatin were solicited by Manitoba. The laws in this area were determined by the Dominion of Canada - hence the exact boundary of Ontario became crucial as to who had jurisdiction over such items as the regulation and sale of Alcohol, Mining and forestry.

Gold and Silver Act Ontario and Mining Act of Canada

In 1866 the government of Upper Canada introduced the Gold and Silver Act and a Statue was passed during the last day of sitting of Upper Canada's last parliament. In the haste of the debate a royalty of 2 to 10% was agreed to for the mining industry. The Mining Act of Canada of 1869 required a 5% royalty by Mill operators. Which act applied depended wether a particular area such as the Lake of the Woods was within the Province of Ontario or outside in the Dominion of Canada.

The Geological Survey of Canada (GSC) was given a mandate to survey Rupert's Land purchased from the Hudson Bay in 1870 and to locate any minerals or timber resources. Geologist Robert Bell reported on a quartz vein he found at Rat Portage in 1872 which tested nil for gold. Robert Bell reported no operations going on on Lake of the Woods during the summer of 1879. An extremely rich gold sample was presented by J. Dewe to the survey.

Prior to 1882 the gold mining was still secretive. The black market operations avoided the royalty problems. By the spring of 1882 the underground economy became more visible with larger mining operations forming public companies.


Clark, Greg, Rat Portage Gold Rush Daze, Golden Heritage Collection