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Noranda Mines, Gaspé Division: Historical Highlights

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Alfred Miller was guiding a party of timber men up the York River he noticed pieces of rock containing copper at the mouth of little York Lake.

1921 -1922
The five Miller brothers undertake an expedition to discover the location of the rocks that contain copper and their search ends near Copper and Needle mountains.

Mr. I. W. Jones working for the Quebec Government inspected the Miller's claims wrote a report on the area.

The Quebec government report was reviewed by Noranda.
A. M. Bell. Noranda geologist began a survey on the claims held by the Miller brothers.

Noranda Exploration Ltd took an option on Miller brothers' mining claims.
Noranda estimates that the potential reserves of copper and Needle mountains amount to 19.6 million tons with an average ore grade content 0.93 % copper.
Second World War interrupts the ongoing work.

September: Noranda created Gaspe Copper Mines Ltd for the purpose of exploring mining claims options from the Miller brothers.

1951 -1952
Noranda begins development of new copper mine including the underground mine, concentrator, smelter and surface facilities and the town of Murdochville for a total cost of $36 million.

July: Murdoch work camp becomes Murdochville. The town carries the name of the first company president, James Y. Murdoch. More than 900 people worked there and 300 houses were built between 1952 and 1953.


April: First ore processed in 6,500 tonnes per day Concentrator.

December: First copper anode produced in 550 tonnes per day Smelter.

March: Miners’ strike lasts seven and a half months making it the longest conflict in the unionization period in Quebec.

February: Mining operations expanded to 11,500 tonnes per day.
Smelter operations expanded to 650 tonnes per day.

1969 -1978
There were two other strikes not as long or as violent as the first strike.

March: Noranda invests more than $130 million to expand mining operations to 39,000 tonnes per day; smelter operations expanded to 300,000 tonnes of annual throughput including a new acid plant and a 5,000 tonnes per day vat leaching process.

June: Closed operations due to weak copper prices and uneconomic conditions.

August: Resumed mining operations at a reduced rate of 4,000 tonnes per day.

April: Fire destroys underground conveyor systems. Mining operations are suspended indefinitely.

May: Underground operations resume after investing $25 million to rehabilitate the mine and underground conveyors systems.

May: Noranda invested $ 20 million to expanded smelter annual throughput to 350,000 tonnes of concentrate.

October: Mining operations closed due to depleted ore reserves.
Operations continue as custom copper smelter.

November: Noranda announces the temporary closing of Murdochville operations for six months.

April: Noranda announces permanent closure of the Smelter 300 employees lose their job.

August: During a referendum organized by the municipality, 65% of the population vote to closure. The mayor considers having received a mandate permitting him to negotiate compensation for the citizens with two levels of government. It was a question of a consultative vote since only the Quebec government can decide to end a municipality charter.

Mine Production = 142 million tonnes of ore.

Molybdenite recovered = 4,850 tonnes.

Concentrate material processed in smelter =10 million tonnes.

Copper anode produced = 2.8 million tonnes

Sulphuric Acid produced = 4.1 million tonnes.
(Oxide Plant) Processed = 1,600,000 tonnes oxide ore.