Location: Teck Township
Years of Operation: 1933 -1999
Tons Milled: 7,877,532
Ounces of Gold Produced: 3,525,389





Macassa MineCopyright: G. Hamden

Macassa Mine
Copyright: G. Hamden


Reproduced with the permission of Kirkland Lake Gold Inc.


The Macassa gold mine was in continuous production from 1933 until operations were suspended indefinitely in June 1999. The mine was the last of the seven major gold mines in Kirkland Lake to halt production.

The original mine was developed on 11 mining claims by Macassa Mines Ltd. that organized in 1926 and obtained the assets of United Kirkland Gold Mines Ltd., in 1933. In 1962 the company combined with Bicroft Uranium Mines Ltd., and Renabie Mines ltd., to become Macassa Gold Mines Ltd. Amalgamation in November 1970 with Willroy Mines Ltd., and Willecho Mines Ltd., created the parent company Little Long Lac Gold Mines, located in Toronto. Upper Canada Mines Ltd. optioned management rights from 1970 – 1976. In December 1982, the amalgamation of several groups, including Little Long Lac Gold Mines, created Lac Minerals Ltd. (Macassa Division). It was during this period that the Tegren property was added to the traditional Macassa property. In August 1994, Barrick Gold Corporation successfully took over Lac Minerals Ltd., and Kinross Gold Corporation acquired it from Barrick in May 1995.

The first shaft was the 500-foot Elliot shaft that was developed in the Main Break Zone in the late 1920’s. Mining was unsuccessful and operations halted. In 1931, development westward onto Macassa ground from the 2475-foot level of the Kirkland Lake Gold Mine discovered ore on the Main Break for 700 feet along strike and in subsidiary hangingwall veins. These underground workings were connected with the 3100 foot No.1 shaft, and later by two winzes to greater depths. The No. 1 winze connected the 3000-foot to 4625-foot levels and the No. 2 winze the 4625 to 6875 levels. The No. 2 shaft was sunk from surface to a depth of 4625 feet about 1000 feet southwest of the No. 1 shaft. In 1986, the No. 3 shaft was sunk from surface (in what had been Tegren ground) to the 7050-foot level and then to a final level of 7225 feet. Until the mid 1990’s this was the deepest single-lift shaft in the Western Hemisphere. The No. 3 shaft was the most recent access shaft, and gave access to 21 levels from 3800 feet to the 7050-foot level until 1997. As a result of a rock burst on April 12, 1997, only the levels between the 4250 and 5150 levels remained active. Exploration development was underway on the 3800 foot level when production was halted in 1999. Rehabilitation of levels down to the 5700’ level was in progress prior to closure.

Since active production began in 1933, until the end of 1988, more than 115 kilometers of underground drifting and cross-cutting had occurred on 51 levels/sub-levels (Kinross, 1996), and from the date of initial production until the end of 1997, well in excess of 500 km core were drilled.

The first mill began operation in October 1933 at a capacity of 200 tons per day. The milling rate was increased to 425 tons/day in 1949 and to 500-525 tons/day in 1956. In August 1988 a new mill was built which could process 500-600 tons of rock and 750 tons of tailings per day. By 1996, modifications had increased capacity to 900 tons of rock per day and 1,000 tons of tailings per day. At the time of closure in 1999, mill capacity was near 1,600 tons of rock per day, or 600 tons of rock and 1,400 tons of tailings per day. During 1998, the 3.5 millionth ounce was produced.

The above summary of the history of the Macassa Mine is taken from: STILL, A.C. 2001 Structural setting and controls of gold mineralization at the Macassa Mine, Kirkland Lake, Ontario. Unpublished Masters of Science Thesis, Queens University 151p


Macassa Mine (Producer)

Partial history as of 1979


Au, Ag


Approximately  V/a  miles west of Kirkland Lake,  in  central  Teck Township.  No.1  Shaft in  pa tented  claim  L2837;  No.2 Shaft  in patented claim L4186;  Elliot  Shaft  in  claim  L1617.  Latitude 48.140,  Longitude 80.070 . Map  reference:  ODM  1945-1,  Township  of Teck.


The  property  is underlain by Timiskaming metasediments  (including  tuffs)  and  a  variety  of intrusive  rocks.  The  predominant  metasediment  is boulder and pebble conglomerate. Most of the mine workings  lie within  augite  syenite,  syenite, syenite porphyry,  and  diabase  intrusive  rocks.  The augite syenite forms an elongated tabular mass of irregular outline  which  parallels the  trend of the  metasedi ments  (N60-800E)  and  dips  steeply  south.  It  is the most widespread of the intrusive rock types and is  itself  intruded  by  a  westward-p itch ing  pipe-like mass  of  syenite.  The  Kirkland  Lake “Main Break” cuts  the  augite  syenite  along  its  length, with  the 177 southern  part  having  been  thrust  upward  about 1,500  feet.  The  syenite  porphyry  occurs  as  dikes cutting  the  syenite  and  augite  syenite.  Only  one narrow  diabase  dike  has  been  found  in  the  mine workings. It cuts all other rock formations. The  most  important structural control  in the mine is the Kirkland  Lake Fault, or “Main Break”, which has an average dip of 800S to a depth of 3,500 feet. Below this  depth,  the dip begins to decrease.  Most of the early ore was found along the “Main Break” and  in  hanging  wall  subsidiaries.  In  recent  years, the  majority of the  mill  feed  came  from  veins  on and adjacent to an important footwall subsidiary of the “Main Break” at depth. This structure is known as the “04 Break”. It is being mined, along with its subsidiaries  below  the  4,625-foot  level,  in  the vicinity of the No.2 winze. Some of its veins extend into the Tegren property to the west. The  productive  veins  are  always quartz-filled frac tures.  They occur in every type of country rock  in the  zones of fracturing with  the exception  of the diabase. In longitudinal section, the upper extremity of the  ore  bodies  in  the mine rakes to the west at about  400 ,  and  no  ore  has  been  found  above  the 1,300-foot  horizon.  The  rake  roughly  parallels the margin  of  the  main  intrusive  body  and  may  have been  controlled  by  this structural feature. The dis placement  of  veins,  ore  shoots,  and  structures  by post-ore faulting is small. Vein  filling  classed  as  ore  consists  of  quartz  of different generations, inclusions of wall  rock, some carbonates,  and  minor  sulphides,  tellurides  and native gold. The principal sulphide  is finely dissem inated  pyrite which averages  less than 2  percent of the  ore.  Sericite  and  chlorite  occur  in the ore and wall  rocks,  and  molybdenite  is  largely confined to slips  in  the  fractured  quartz.  Gold  was  deposited very  late  in  the  sequence  of  mineralization  and is  mainly  confined  along  fractures  in  the  quartz, although  it also occurs in the pyrite  and tellurides. The most common tellurides are altaite and the gold telluride, calaverite. ECONOMIC  FEATURES:  As  of  December  31,  1976, ore  reserves  stood at 270,530 tons averaging 0.561 ounce  of  Au  per  ton  (Canadian  Mines  Handbook 1977-78, p.323 (Willroy Mines Limited)).


Willroy Mines Limited.


1911:  Easternmost  claims  of the  property (L1616 and L1617) staked by Dave Elliot.
1916-1919:  Elliot  Shaft  to  523  feet  and  1,369 feet of  lateral  development  on  levels  at  100,  200, 300,  400,  and  500  feet  by  Elliot-Kirkland  Gold Mines Limited.
1926-1927:  Elliot-Kirkland property and additional claims to the west taken over, 4,833 feet of lateral development on the 300-, 400-, and 500-foot levels, one underground diamond-drill hole (767 feet) and 14  surface  diamond-drill  holes  (7,014  feet)  by Macassa Mines Limited.
1931-1933: Three-compartment Macassa No.1 Shaft to  2,500  feet,  a  long  drift  connecting  this  shaft with  the  Kirkland  Lake  Gold  2,500-foot  level, 4,504  feet  of  underground  development on  levels at  500,  1,000,  1,750,  2,000  and  2,500  feet  and sublevels at 2,000,  2,175  and  2,325  feet, and 941 feet  of  diamond-drilling.  In  1933,  a  200-ton  mill was completed and production started. All work by Macassa Mines Limited. 1934-present:  The  mine  is  serviced  by  two  shafts and two winzes (the Elliot Shaft is no longer used). The No.2 winze, collared at the 4,625-foot level, has taken  the  workings  to the 6,900-foot  level.  Total underground  development to the  end of 1976, be low the 750-foot level, is as follows: 209,301 feet of drifting, 58,759 feet of crosscutting, and 45,559 feet of raising.  Milling capacity was increased from 200 tons per day in 1933 to 500 tons per day in 1952. In 1976, an average of 250 tons of ore per day was be ing  milled.  Production  has  been  continuous from 1933  to  date.  Under  a  1971  agreement,  Macassa mines  and  mills  ore  from  the  Tegren  Goldfields Limited  property  (immediately  to the  west)  on  a royalty  basis.  From  1970  to  1976,  Upper  Canada Resources  Limited  managed  the  operation  in  ex change  for 50 percent of the profits. When Willroy Mines  Limited  assumed  this  role  in  1976, explora tion and development were accelerated.


Year Gold Silver Ore Milled Recovered Grade
 (ounces) (ounces)  (tons) (ounce of Au per ton)
1933-1976 2.201,432  5,339,753 5.005,993 0.44

These  figures  include  production  from the Tegren Mine which began in 1971. In  1976, the mill was processing an average of 250 tons of ore per day.


Canadian  Mines  Handbook  1977-78, p.322, 323 (Willroy Mines Limited).
ODM 1920, Vol.29, pt.4, p.26 (Elliot Kirkland).
ODM 1928, Vol.37, pt.2, p.147, 148.
ODM 1948, Vol.57, pt.5, p.125-132.
ODM 1964, GC11, p.15-25.
ODM 1964, MRC3, p.52, 53.

Gordon, J.B., Lovell, H.L., de Grijs, Jan, and Davie, R.F.
1979:  Gold  Deposits of Ontario,  Part  2:  Part of District of Cochrane,  Districts of Muskoka,  Nipissing,  Parry  Sound,  Sudbury,  Timiskaming,  and  Counties  of Southern  Ontario;  Ontario  Geological  Survey,  Mineral  Deposits  Circular  18,  253p.

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