The good vibes of confidence and recovery in the mining industry from this past spring's Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) convention in Toronto have filtered into northwestern Ontario.
Garry Clark, executive director of the Ontario Prospectors Association (OPA), expects this year to be a busy field season, judging from what he hears and sees walking the floor at the recent Ontario Prospectors Exploration Showcase held in Thunder Bay in early April.
Many companies are ready to do exploration work on their properties if they can raise the financing. Others have money in their treasury and were just waiting for the snow to melt.
Clark is expecting to see a mix of new mineral discoveries in 2018 and some stale projects, not worked for years, springing back to life.
The Northwestern Ontario Prospectors Association's annual three-day exploration event was attended by more than 450 delegates and featured 80 junior mining company and equipment exhibitors at the Valhalla Inn.
Unlike the financiers and investors who roam the floor at PDAC, the showcase attracts a more blue-collar, boots-on-the-ground crowd to Thunder Bay. The event is a favourite for many equipment suppliers, said Clark.
"They say this is the best show they go to because it's directly to the people that use them."
Green technology minerals, like lithium, continue to be of intense interest in the northwest, said Clark, based on the upward trending demand for minerals used in the electric vehicle battery market.
"Cobalt is a tricky one in Ontario. The veins aren't very big, there are good grades, but it's smaller tonnages."
He anticipates the Cobalt area of northeastern Ontario staying hot with many cashed-up companies staking ground clear across to Gowganda.
The Red Lake gold camp in northwestern Ontario remains active with an award-winning company like Pure Gold putting the former Madsen Mine back into production.
On the north shore of Lake Superior, the Hemlo gold camp remains a busy exploration and mining region, stretching east to White River and Wawa.
Since 1987, Wesdome Gold continues to produce ounces from its Eagle River Complex and the Island Gold Mine, near Dubreuilville, is expanding underground under the new flag of Alamos Gold.
On the project financing front, many small junior miners are still struggling to raise financing for exploration. Some companies have gotten creative, said Clark, mentioning KWG Resources, which wants to raise $50 million for...