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Moses family marks five generations of prospecting

December 1, 2009
by Norm Tollinsky
In: Exploration with 0 Comments

Peter Moses, the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry’s First Nation minerals information officer, traces his family’s involvement in the mining industry all the way back to the late 1800s, when his great grandfather, a Mohawk from eastern Ontario, found his way to Heron Bay on the north shore of Lake Superior.

Moses figures that his great grandfather probably did some prospecting in eastern Ontario and passed on his knowledge of rocks and minerals to his son, Peter Moses Sr., who played a role in a discovery in the 1940s that ultimately became the Williams Mine in the Helmo gold camp.

Moses had heard stories about Peter Sr.’s exploits as a child, but never had any proof until he joined the Ministry in 2003 and discovered his grandfather’s name in government records.

In total, five generations of the Moses family have been involved in the mineral exploration industry, including Peter Moses’ own sons.

“When I was a kid in grade school, I’d go out and help my dad pack his canoe,” said Moses.  “I started staking claims with my father when I was a teenager. I got into prospecting on my own part-time in the late ’70s during the Hemlo boom and optioned some 32 properties before joining the Ministry.” His prospecting activity was limited to days off from his full-time job as an instrumentation technician at the pulp mill in nearby Marathon.

Moses’s primary responsibility as the Ministry’s First Nation mineral information officer is to pass on his knowledge of prospecting to First Nation communities across Northern Ontario.  During the seven years he has served in the role, he estimates he has conducted more than 60, three-to-five day prospecting courses and provided some 600 First Nation people with an introduction to mineral exploration.

The courses cover a broad range of topics, including rock and mineral identification, the mining sequence, land acquisition, map reading, web resources and the use of compass and GPS.

Participation in the course serves as a door opener for First Nation people applying for jobs with exploration companies, said Moses.

Graduates have been snapped up by Landore Resources, MacDonald Mines and other companies for a wide variety of jobs, including core cutting, linecutting and diamond drilling, while others have been inspired to pursue post secondary studies in geoscience.

Moses was honoured twice this year for his contribution to Ontario’s mineral exploration industry, receiving a lifetime achievement award from the Northwestern Ontario Prospectors Association in April and an Amethyst Award for meritorious service from the Ontario Public Service in June.

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