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Copper

( Originally Published Early 1900's )

Copper ores in Canada may be subdivided into two classes, viz., ores containing copper in the native or metallic state, and those in which copper is found in the form of various sulphides.

Deposits of native copper are not worked in Canada, although occurrences of such ore have been reported from northern regions in the basin of the Mackenzie River, and from places in the interior of British Columbia ; but nowhere in the west have they been worked, even in a preliminary way.

In Ontario, on the Canadian side of Lake Superior, occur large areas of rocks similar to those of Keweena Point, on the United States shores, in which are situated the celebrated deposits of native copper worked by the Calumet, Hecla, Tamarack, and other famous mines. Native copper has been found in these rocks in Canada at Mamainse Point, Michipicoten Island, Nipigon Bay ; and although they have not, hitherto, given rise to any well-established mining industry, yet, it is possible they might do so at some future time, after exploratory work of a more thorough charatcer than that of the past has been undertaken.

British Columbia is by far the largest copper producer of all the Canadian provinces. The production is derived from the sulphide ores mined in various districts : the Boundary district, the Rossland camp, and the Coast district being the most important.

The Boundary and Rossland districts have been mentioned in connection with gold also: for the ore is mined from immense deposits, containing copper and gold, valued at $8.00 to $15.00 dollars per ton. This low value of the ore is balanced by the fact that the deposits are very large, and can be worked very cheaply as to cost of mining ; although it requires great outlay of capital to equip the mines and build the smelters.

The copper ores of the Coast district come from two mines : the " Tyee," and the " Marble Bay." Moreover, the copper smelter erected at Ladysmith, Vancouver Island, treats copper ore mined in the Queen Charlotte Islands, and in the Whitehouse district, Yukon territory, where important copper deposits are also found.

In Ontario, the nickel-copper ores of the Sudbury district are the sole source of the output of these metals in that province. These large deposits have been worked continuously since 1886. The ore runs from 11 to 3 per cent. copper, and about the same of nickel.

There are in Ontario numerous other occurrences of copper deposits, none of which are worked at present, although some were at one time extensively exploited. Among the best known ones are the deposits along the north shore of Lake Huron : at Bruce mines, Echo Bay Rock Lake, Massey, etc., which constitute a valuable reserve, and which could be worked to advantage, if conditions were favourable.

In 1908 the total production of copper in Canada amounted to nearly 64,500,000 dollars ; whereas in 1886 it was only 3,500,000 dollars.

In Quebec, copper is. mined in the eastern townships, where there are large deposits of ore consisting of a mixture of iron and copper pyrites. This ore is primarily used in the manufacture of sulphuric acid ; but the copper is saved and adds materially to the value of the ore. These deposits have been worked for over fifty years, and are likely to last a long time yet. The rocks in this region are very widely mineralized, and it is probable that by systematic prospecting, and development work, other deposits will be worked, and become well established mines.

In Nova Scotia and New Brunswick copper deposits have at various times attracted the attention of prospectors and miners. Occurrences are known at Cox-heath, in the trap rocks of the Bay of Fundy, in Antigonish county, in Cumberland county, and in Colchester county ; but none are being worked at the present time.



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