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Bruce County Museum & Cultural Centre​

33 Victoria Street North (in the town of Saugeen Shores)
Southampton, ON Canada N0H 2L0

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Bruce Peninsula Zinc Mines

Home | Stories & Artefacts | Bruce Peninsula Zinc Mines

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Throughout the 20th century were zinc mining booms on the Bruce Peninsula.  The type of zinc located and sought after is known as sphalerite and was often found in balls. Rather than the usual creation of fossils from lime, several large deposits were found to be zinc.  Reports from the early 1900s and then again in the 1960s reported of the high purity of the zinc, being assayed often between 40 and 60%, and not having other minerals present in high percentages.  The colour varied from light amber to dark brown, but could also be found in hues of pink, blue, white, and yellow.


Unlike other places such as the Klondike where claims could be “staked”, the Bruce Peninsula was already settled, and any mining companies or individuals were required to purchase the land or to make agreements with landowners for the work to be done and for the mineral rights.


Albemarle Zinc Mine


Headline and partial article from Paisley Advocate dated 1911The first boom began in the early 1900s in Albemarle Township.   Early news of zinc be found in an edition of the Beacon from 1908 which states: “Zinc blende unmixed with lead or iron has been found in Albemarle Township. A zinc mining boom is looked for.”.  Eight months later in February of 1909, the Walkerton Telescope reported: “It has been claimed that a zinc mine has been discovered on a farm near Wiarton.”.


This early boom was slow as newspaper reports from 1910 show little progress was being made in the way of getting a mine open for business.  Interested outsiders were reported as coming from England and the United States.  In late 1910 the Bruce Herald reported good specimens had been discovered and that a second shaft was being planned.  The article mentions that a second mining company was interested in the surrounding property to start their own operation.  The article was hopeful of the birth of a new industry – the mines themselves and perhaps even a smelting plant.


By May of 1911, mining was well underway on Lot 30, Concession 3 EBR, Albemarle Township.  It was reported that over a ton of zinc had already been removed and that nuggets ranged in weight between 50 and 110 pounds.  Leading the operation was geologist Dr. Solon Woolverton.  Land records for the property show Woolverton purchasing a half interest in the property from Thomas Lindsay.  They then sold interests to several others, creating a group or syndicate.  They then sold the property to the Albemarle Zinc Co. Ltd., of which they were likely parties of. It was reported in February of 1911 that the Ontario Gazette of that year contained notice of the incorporation of the Albemarle Zinc Company of London with a capitalization of $450,000.


By June of 1911, dynamite blasting on the property had started and it was reported they pulled more ore out of the ground in three days than they had in the three years previous.  It is noted that the deeper they went the better quality the zinc would be, the supply seemed endless, and it was likely that others in the surrounding townships would also have large zinc deposits.


The Albemarle Zinc Co Ltd. seems to have been gone from the property by 1932, and other individuals interested in the mineral rights made agreements with the property owners. By the late 1940s Canada Zinc Mines ltd were operating on the property and then by the early 1950s the Consolidated Mining and Smelting Company of Canada Limited had operations there.  During their time, they did have a drilling operation on the property, drilling 15 holes, however they let their lapse at the end of the term. By the 1970s it appears the mining operations had ceased.


Though early news seems to have been in relation to Lot 30, Concession 3, the reports of other mining interests in the surrounding properties were true.  Lot 31, Concession 3, had options to the Dominion Mining Company in 1910, and later to the same companies and individuals as Lot 30, Concession 3.  Operations appear to have ceased on this lot around the same time.  The newspaper article pictured here is from the Paisley Advocate dated May 4, 1911.


St. Edmunds Township


Photo of log building structure surrounded by bushes.In 1936 exploration began in St. Edmunds Township by Gideon Kastner who owned acreage logged for his sawmill, which was located in Wiarton.  Land records show for Lots 7-11, Concession 10 EBR, and Lots 10 and 11, Concession 11 EBR, he optioned the land or gave mining rights to the Bruce Zinc Syndicate.  Though all the members of the group are not known, Kastner was likely part of the group, with the syndicate being formed to pool finances raising the capital needed for a mining venture.  From the records it is known Allan Ashley served as Chairman and T.D. Buchner as secretary.


Found in the Archives is correspondence dating from 1942 from E.B.E de Camps, an engineer to V.T. Wyant and W.L. Forrest of Goderich discussing the Kastner properties. In this letter Kastner’s properties included Lots 6-15, Concession 10 EBR and Lots 9 and 10, Concession 11 EBR.  It is noted that previous searching had taken place and that it must have been expensive but done by someone with little geological knowledge.  The letter mentions there is promise in Lot 8, Concession 10, and it should be explored further.


Wyant and Forrest took the advice in the letter and optioned most of Kastner’s properties in the early-mid 1940s.  Interestingly, during this same period they optioned the properties in Albemarle Township for mineral rights as well. In both Albemarle and St. Edmunds, all properties were optioned to a Morley Pumaville and then to a Crawford H. Goffat before they were all optioned to Canada Zinc Mines Ltd. The log building seen in the photo here was the powder house located on one of Kastner’s properties near Moore Lake.  The photo was taken in 1963, prior to the 1960s boom.


The 1960s


Rock core specimens.The 1960s saw renewed interest in zinc mining on the peninsula. In 1966 a prospecting program was undertaken by the M.J. Boylen Prospecting Account, a private company.  This program conducted a thorough investigation of the whole Bruce Peninsula.  Headquarters with a lab were set up in Stokes Bay and Mrs. M.L. Merchant was the resident geologist in charge of the program.  Lines were established every one-thousand feet spanning the width of the whole peninsula and soil samples taken every 500 feet along these lines.  Land that seemed promising was either purchased or optioned for mineral rights by M.J. Boylen – the Kastner properties were among them, along with Lot 30, Concession 3 EBR, Albemarle Township.  The Albemarle property was only kept for one year and the interests were sold to Northern Canada Mines Ltd in 1967.  At the end of the 1966 prospecting program several mines were established throughout the Bruce Peninsula. The rock core sample seen here came from Howdenvale area and is typical of the result of diamond drilling that took place in the area.


1987 saw the establishment of Bruce Peninsula National Park, created to protect the wildlife and rock formations of the Niagara Escarpment.  Some of the mining properties, including all of Kastner’s in St. Edmunds Township, located near Moore and Umbrella Lakes, were sold to the federal government for the creation of the park, and shows that mining there was finished.




Zinc Mining Clippings Folder, A2006.196.

The Northern Miner, January 26,1967. A2013.065.001

Report to Wyant and Forrest, Goderich from E.B.E. de Camps, engineer re: Kastner Zinc Property, St. Edmunds Township (Nov. 1942);” 1942. AT2019.005.019c

Instrument 1535 Lot 10, Concession 10 EBR, St. Edmunds Township

Book 11, Albemarle Township Concession 1 to 3 East Bury Road., accessed March 2022.

Book 197, St. Edmunds Concession 9 to 14 East Bury Road., accessed March 2022

“District News”. The Beacon, June 4, 1908.

Walkerton Telescope, February 25, 1909. Vol. 38, No. 8

The Bruce Herald, April 28, 1909

The Bruce Herald, November 3, 1909, Vol. 49 No.17

The Bruce Herald, June 6, 1910, Vol. 49 No. 50

The Bruce Herald, October 26, 1910, Vol. 50 No. 18

The Bruce Herald, February 22, 1911, Vol. 50 No. 35

“Albemarle Zinc Mine” The Paisley Advocate, May 4, 1911, Vol.43 No.17

“The Zinc Mines”, The Bruce Herald, June 7, 1911, Vol. 50 No. 50

“Millions in Albemarle” The Walkerton Telescope, October 7, 1915, Vol. 34 No. 39

The Canadian Echo, June 14, 1916, Vol. XL

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