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More than 300 attended Thunder Bay's prospectors exploration showcase

Organizers say steady growth of the event is an example of the current boom of mining in the region

THUNDER BAY — More than 300 attendees made their way from across North America and even as far as Europe and Australia to Thunder Bay over the last two days to attend the 2024 Ontario Prospectors Exploration Showcase.

This year’s showcase took place at the Valhalla Hotel and Conference Centre on April 23 and 24, featuring over 30 presentations from explorers, contractors, and prospectors from across Ontario as well as helicopter rides for a donation.

Garry Clark, executive director with the Ontario Prospectors Association, said that barring a few years during the pandemic, the showcase has seen steady growth and so have many of the companies that attend.

"We have companies that actually have progressed from being small individual or two-people companies to being multiple employers,” he said.

One company that has seen great success in the region is Great Bear Resources, which was recently acquired by Kinross for roughly $1.8 billion, according to Rick Greenwood, exploration manager. He said a large part of that success was reliant on grant funding.

“When I started with Great Bear Resources, it was early 2018. It was a small, little company, $5-million market cap kind of thing that just had a few bucks in the bank. And that's why the grant really helped us,” he said.

“So with some success drilling and some good exploration work, we were able to make these discoveries along the way. And then over the years, the big company started taking notice.”

Greenwood said the project is a huge building block for Red Lake and the project will be the next big producing mine in Ontario as long as everything continues to go along smoothly.

“Right now we're in a permitting phase for the advanced exploration portal that we're going to put in the ground hopefully starting next year. The groundwork has already started, you know, tree cutting and things,” he said.

“But the big project will slowly ramp up and that exploration drift will be access for us underground to do some more infield drilling."

— TBnewswatch