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Noranda Mines, Gaspé Division: Historical Highlights

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1909
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.

1932
Mr. I. W. Jones working for the Quebec Government inspected the Miller's claims wrote a report on the area.

1936
The Quebec government report was reviewed by Noranda.
A. M. Bell. Noranda geologist began a survey on the claims held by the Miller brothers.

1938-1940
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.

1947
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.

1953
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.


1955

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

1955
December: First copper anode produced in 550 tonnes per day Smelter.

1957
March: Miners’ strike lasts seven and a half months making it the longest conflict in the unionization period in Quebec.

1968
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.

1972
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.

1982
June: Closed operations due to weak copper prices and uneconomic conditions.

1984
August: Resumed mining operations at a reduced rate of 4,000 tonnes per day.

1987
April: Fire destroys underground conveyor systems. Mining operations are suspended indefinitely.

1988
May: Underground operations resume after investing $25 million to rehabilitate the mine and underground conveyors systems.

1998
May: Noranda invested $ 20 million to expanded smelter annual throughput to 350,000 tonnes of concentrate.

1999
October: Mining operations closed due to depleted ore reserves.
Operations continue as custom copper smelter.

2001
November: Noranda announces the temporary closing of Murdochville operations for six months.

2002
April: Noranda announces permanent closure of the Smelter 300 employees lose their job.

2002
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.

Production
1955-1999
Mine Production = 142 million tonnes of ore.

1964-1984
Molybdenite recovered = 4,850 tonnes.

1955-2002
Concentrate material processed in smelter =10 million tonnes.

1955-200
Copper anode produced = 2.8 million tonnes

1973-2002
Sulphuric Acid produced = 4.1 million tonnes.
(Oxide Plant) Processed = 1,600,000 tonnes oxide ore.