The consideration of Canadian iron deposits is of no less importance than her coal. In fact, both are on an immense scale, and each is essential to the highest value of the other. The fact that these two great industrial minerals are generally found in close proximity still further enhances their value, and must, in time, help also to decide the question of industrial supremacy. A shrewd American declared that no country in the world possessed so much iron as Canada ; in no land is it so easily mined, and nowhere is it quite so accessible to manufacturing centres.” More recent developments have made this statement more emphatically true.
In Nova Scotia there are extensive deposits of good quality ore. Iron is also found in New Brunswick, and in various parts of Quebec, where it is worked to some extent. The proximity of these ores of Eastern Canada to the Atlantic Sea ports is a factor of great importance.
The iron deposits of Northern and Western Ontario are equally great, if not greater, than those of Eastern Canada. Those claiming the most attention at presnt are Michipicoten, near Sault Ste. Marie, and the iron ores of the Atikokan range west of Fort William. The deposits of Michipicoten supply the furnaces at the Soo. Iron ore also exists in large quantities in various parts of the North-West, about Lake Winnipeg, and also near Lakes Athabasca and Great Slave ; also on the east coast of Hudson Bay. Extensive deposits are also found in different parts of British Columbia. – The Texada Island ore, in the Straits of Georgia, near Nanaimo coal mines, suggest the same conditions and possibilities as are found in Sydney in the east. Surely under these conditions Canada must hold a prominent place in this age of steel.
Casual reference has already been made to the nickel and ‘copper deposits’ of the Dominion. Rich copper deposits also exist in Newfoundland. This important metal is quite widely distributed in Canada, being found in paying quantities in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia, in some of which places it is being worked. The deposits at Copper Cliff, near Sudbury, Ontario, are, perhaps, the most important and extensive of any in the world. Evidence exists of the working of these mines in prehistoric times. Closely associated with the copper in the Sudbury district are also found the great nickel beds for which the place is noted, and which are the richest known. The demand for this mineral in connection with the manufacture of nickel steel, gives this bed of ore a peculiar value, and no less so because Canada possesses the monopoly of it.
The Dominion heretofore has not figured very largely as a petroleum producer, as compared with either the United States or Russia. Recent discoveries in New Brunswick, and the very promising indications in the North-West, together with the wells already in operation at Petrolea, in Ontario, indicate that Canada’s supply of this important product is very great. The lignite areas and tar sands of the Mackenzie Basin are of immense extent, and though not as yet placed on the markets of the world, they are of great commercial value. The same may be true of the bituminous springs and gas wells in the same region.
Added to these more important minerals are rich deposits of salt, gypsum, phosphates, asbestos, mica-manganese, arsenic, pyrites, corundum, oxides, graphite, marble, lime, antimony and many others. Truly ” the earth and fulness thereof ” has a peculiar application to the Dominion. ” Its mines and mineral resources, deep down in the earth, scattered over almost every portion of this broad land, have sitting on them gnomes and genii, waiting to give the lead to the one who captures them, and to open up riches and splendor and power not even dreamed of in the old tales of the Middle Ages.”