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Gold Fever: Canada's Abitibi Greenstone Belt

The Canadian Fort Knox that went Undiscovered for Centuries

Written by Brian Hicks
Posted December 3, 2009 at 7:00PM

A newly discovered region in Eastern Canada has already yielded more gold than in Fort Knox... over 160 million ounces.

The gold — worth US$192 billion today — was discovered as part of a massive geologic occurrence that straddles Ontario and Quebec.

This region is getting more attention than ever from investors because of its excellent infrastructure, safety, low development costs, and great history of high-grade, multi-million ounce gold discoveries.

It's called the...

Abitibi Greenstone Belt

The Abitibi (ăb'ĭ-tĭb'ē) Greenstone Belt is one the largest greenstone belts in the world. These geologic bodies are considered prime hunting grounds for large mineral deposits of metals including gold, silver, copper, and zinc.

The Abitibi Belt is one of a handful of major mineral regions that extends from the great gold discoveries of Alaska to Greenland, where my colleague Ian Cooper is getting a piece of the country's $273 billion worth of rare earth elements. The Abitibi has already been proved to host significant deposits of gold. In total, the Abitibi Greenstone Belt has generated over 160 million ounces of gold. The two largest mining camps account for almost 100 million of those ounces: Timmins and Kirkland Lake.

Timmins Camp

This is where it all got started...

Early prospectors first found small amounts of gold in what is now the city of Timmins in the late 19th century. But it wasn't until 1909 that significant gold deposits were found by geologists who came to the area.

That year marked a milestone in Canadian mining history with the discovery of three large gold mines in the Timmins camp that were found within a few miles of each other: Dome, Hollinger, and MacIntyre.

Since gold was first mined in 1910, the Timmins region has produced more than 68 million ounces of gold. This makes Timmins one of the richest gold districts in the world.

Kirkland Lake Camp

The Timmins discoveries inspired other hungry prospectors to explore the nearby Kirkland Lake. There, they also found significant gold deposits — and as a result, seven producing gold mines sustained a mining center for over 50 years.

A total of 24 million ounces of gold has been produced from the Kirkland Lake area since the original discoveries.

While the Timmins and Kirkland Lake mining camps are the biggest areas of discovery thus far, there are many other large gold camps that dot the Abitibi Greenstone Belt. Other noted regions within the Abitibi include:

  • the Cadillac Gold Camp (12 million ounces of gold production),
  • Virginatown (8 million ounces of gold production),
  • the Rouyn-Noranda Gold Camp (15 million ounces of gold production), and
  • the Val-D'Or Gold Camp (15 million ounces of gold production).

Some of the larger mining camps also have sizable zinc, copper, and silver deposits. In total, the Abitibi Greenstone Belt has yielded over 35 billion pounds of zinc, 15 billion pounds of copper, and 400 million ounces of silver.


The original gold discoveries in these mining camps were found by simply spotting mineralization on or just below the surface.

Today, the next generation of gold discoverers is using more advanced exploration concepts, techniques, and technologies designed to detect deeper deposits. Here are two gold companies that are leading the way...

Abitibi Gold Stocks

Lake Shore Gold (TSX: LSG)
Shares Outstanding: 214M   Market Cap: $855M

Lake Shore Gold is an emerging gold producer primarily focused on gold camps in the Abitibi Belt and in the western greenstone belts in the northwest of Ontario and western Québec.

A few weeks ago, the company closed a deal to acquire West Timmins Mining (TSX: WTM) with the goal of creating the a new large-scale, wholly-owned Timmins West Gold Mine Complex, covering 130 square kilometers on the western Timmins mining trend.

Lake Shore Gold's first mining operation and flagship asset is the Timmins Mine. The Timmins Mine is expected to produce 30,000 ounces of gold this year.

The company is also working to quickly bring its Abitibi-located Bell Creek and Thunder Creek properties online. Lake Shore Gold is targeting annual production of 200,000 ounces of gold by 2011, with a projected production cost of $320 an ounce.

Kirkland Lake Gold (TSX: KGI)
Shares Outstanding: 59M   Market Cap: $630M

Kirkland Lake Gold is a Canadian gold mining company that owns and operates five major gold operations in the Southern Abitibi Greenstone Belt of Kirkland Lake, Ontario.

These properties have historically produced approximately 22 million ounces of gold and extend over seven kilometers. Today they are being developed and explored under one owner.

Quarterly production has dropped off below 20,000 ounces, but company revenue achieved $22.5 million in during the company's first 2010 fiscal quarter.


I believe that a gold discovery in the Abitibi Greenstone Belt is more likely to be developed into a mine because of the surrounding infrastructure, geopolitical safety of Eastern Canada, and low development costs.

For investors, this could mean a higher chance of success when investing in gold companies with exposure to the Abitibi Greenstone Belt.

Until next time,

Greg McCoach
Investment Director, Mining Speculator and Insider Alert
Editor, Wealth Daily


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