For Pat Dubreuil, mining is personal.
Especially when it comes to one project near his hometown of Dubreuilville, which his grandfather founded with his three brothers as a sawmill in 1961.
He wears many hats as a local businessman, but on May 15 he spoke as president of Manitou Gold, a junior mining company, giving an update on its Kenwest property, south of Dryden, and its Goudreau area properties and claims, east of Dubreuilville.
The latter project is special for him. They are untouched properties on the edge of significant past finds, which have great potential to rejuvenate the area's economy.
"The sawmill closed in 2008 and it's been tough since,” Dubreuil said. “My family has been in that area for three generations. My motivation to come back to that area, very much, has a social side to it.”
The drive is to have sustainable employment and continuity for the town.
He owns many businesses in Dubreuilville, including the motel, gas station and the bunkhouses, much of it catering to tourism. All of which, Dubreuil said, is to invest in the community.
“I don't want to see it become a ghost town. Going back and doing all these things has been my underlying motivation. We have a lot of great things going on, but my heart is in this project."
A critical part of mining is networking, which Dubreuil has been doing most of his life. The motel has hosted countless prospectors and geologists over the decades.
Those kinds of connections led to the acquisition of the Goudreau properties.
Dubreuil first came across the project as a numbered company. No one knew who owned it. It took some research and asking around to track down a man who said his sister owned it as part of the family estate.
The property is located in an area that hosted several gold mines, including the Edwards and Cline Lake. Dubreuil was a little surprised no one else explored the parcels, considering the history of the area.
It's not just the town he is hoping to enrich. The company is working with the area's First Nations, including Batchawana Bay, Michipicoten, Garden River and Missinabe Cree First Nations, to talk about developing a plan create jobs and protect the environment.
“It's about leveraging those connections,” Dubreuil remarked. “They are our neighbours. They understand me and I understand them, which makes it easier from a development perspective. We hunted together, we fished together. My family used their traditional lands.”
Dubreuil was “floored” the claim was untouched, considering the amount of activity and proven gold reserves in the area.
The company ran several tests, including a magnetic survey and snow sampling for specific hydrocarbons associated with sulphides found in gold-bearing rock, and concluded that the property has a similar metallic and chemical signature as the nearby Edwards Gold mine, which produced 144,000 ounces.
He's even more excited now that they've acquired the claims for the nearby 7,040-acre Rockstar property from Argo Gold, where they will be mapping the property this summer.
"It is a continuity of that zone. It's exciting,” Dubreuil said.
On the Kenwest property, one core sample taken in 2011 has drawn a lot of attention, which showed 53,700 grams per tonne gold at half a metre. It has become a showcase piece at every Manitou Gold presentation since.
Although that sounds like a historic amount, he stressed that is the only sample they took showing such a high amount of gold. The rest of the core samples are showing 26 grams to 3.7 grams.
Even then, that single strike and the others is a strong indicator of what else may be in the area.
“Anything over four grams (per tonne) is considered high grade, and we have nothing but that over most of the property,” Dubreuil said. “It's difficult to tie together, but we keep finding it everywhere we go.”
He described other samples also taken from the same area as “very nuggety.” A future bulk sample will be extracted from that shear.
To prove its richness, the company took the bottom half of the core and processed it, recovering 1.6 ounces, or around $2,000 worth of pure gold.
Dubreuil said the company has submitted a mine closure plan and is waiting on government approval.
They are also negotiating with Wabigoon and Eagle Lake First Nations, as well as two other First Nation communities.