1902 Encyclopedia > Canada > Canada - Minerals

Canada
(Part 8)




Minerals. – The mineral resources of Canada have as yet been very partially developed. Quebec and Ontario are devoid of coal, though both have access by convenient transport to rich coal-fields in adjoining provinces or states; but the maritime provinces, Manitoba, the northwest territories, and British Columbia are all rich in coal. Other valuable mineral resources are still turned only to the most partial account; but as the work of the Geological Survey proceeds, new fields are opening up for enterprise every year. The rich silver ores of Lake Superior have already yielded wonderfully valuable results to the miners; and the neighboring districts are now being carefully surveyed. Extensive tracts of gold-bearing quarts are also reported, and Mr Bell, who took the charge of the Geological Survey on Lake Superior in 1872, states that within the basin of the Neepigon, which extends to about 170 miles in length by 80 in breadth, the upper copper-bearing series obtains the greatest development. Distinct belts of rock extend from thence along the line of the lake coasts by Thunder Bay to Font du Lac; and in one of those, styled the Lake Shebandowan band, the gold-bearing rock is found. Gold-bearing veins are also reported to occur at Cross Lake on the Red River route; and far beyond the province of Manitoba, a rich copper region has long been known on the Mackenzie River.

As railways are extended, and the great project of a Canadian line from the St. Lawrence to the Pacific is gradually made an accomplished fact, the resources of the regions traversed by it will be fully disclosed and turned to account. The vicinity of the great coal-fresh of Pennsylvania and Michigan to Lake Erie and Lake Huron, must always give them an advantage in any competition for the supply of Ontario with fuel. But the development of the railway system of the Dominion cannot fail to render its own mineral resources available to a much larger extent, not only for home consumption but for exportation. The Intercolonial Railways has opened up an extensive country to the coal miners of Nova Scotia; and the like results will follow both in the north-west and in British Columbia, when the great coal-fields of those regions are traversed by roads and railways, and their fertile prairies and rich alluvial valleys are settled by an industrious population. At present Canada both exports and imports coal though the imports as yet greatly exceed the exports. The total produce of the mines of Canada, including coal, exported during the fiscal year 1874 amounted in value to $3,977,216. the following tabular statement shows the present resources of the Dominion, and its dependence on external sources for it supply of coal: -

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