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Tagliamonte wins prospector award

March 1, 2011
by Heather Campbell
In: News with 0 Comments

It was inevitable that Frank Tagliamonte would dedicate his career to prospecting and mineral exploration.  His birthplace, the little Northern Ontario town of Cobalt, was a hotbed of mining when he was growing up and, just down the road in Kirkland Lake, there were 22 producing gold mines at a time when the rest of the country was in the grip of the Great Depression.

Tagliamonte was honoured by the Ontario Prospectors Association at its annual Ontario Exploration and Geoscience Symposium this past December.  “I was absolutely surprised, but it felt good,” he said about being recognized by his peers.  “There are a lot of other capable and deserving people in the prospecting field.”  He described his predecessors in his acceptance speech as “courageous and adventurous men who have blazed the road north.”Now 83 years old and living in North Bay, just a few hours’ drive from his birthplace, Tagliamonte has witnessed substantial growth and change in the exploration industry.  A man who believes in giving back to his profession, he has participated on many association committees and boards, serving as a director for both the Ontario Prospectors Association and the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada.

Born into it

Tagliamonte became a prospector because of all the mining around him as a young boy.  Cobalt was the cradle of Canadian mining at the time and his father, an Italian immigrant, was a prospector.  “I was born into it and I just flowed along,” he recalled.  “I worked at the Sylvanite Gold Mine as a high school student.  You could take any shift and get paid the same wages as the miners.”

Once he completed high school, he set off to pursue a degree in geological engineering.  In the 1950s, the options for mining studies were limited. He began his studies at the New Mexico School of Mines in Socorro, New Mexico and graduated in 1957 from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.

Returning to Northern Ontario where mining was still booming, he served as resident exploration geologist with Kerr Addison Gold mines.  He married his sweetheart and was posted to Rouyn-Noranda.

By the late 1960s, he decided to branch off and start his own consulting practice called Geological Engineering Services.  He consulted for numerous junior and senior mining companies, including Newmont Mining, Freeport McMoran and Hecla Mining.  His work took him across Northern Ontario and to locations across Canada, with some forays into the United States.

Most of his claims were optioned to mining companies, but he kept a base metal deposit in Rouyn-Noranda and a graphite deposit near Mattawa.  The graphite deposit has had limited production, but he looks forward to resuming work there once the market improves.

Although bashful about his achievements, Tagliamonte said prospecting requires a lot of work to find a winner.  “You find something interesting, sample it, and if the results are encouraging, you might do a bit of trenching and geophysics. Then, you try and interest a company to take it over.”

Over his career, he has optioned off numerous properties to mining companies.

Soapbox

Although very much retired, Tagliamonte can be heard on his soapbox telling those who will listen about Bill 191, the recently passed Far North Act.  “I am concerned about government putting more and more stringent regulations and controls on what is done,” he warned.  “A couple of decades ago, it was two per cent of the land set aside for so-called protection.  It went up to 12 per cent and now the target is 50 per cent,” he said.

“What they did is put parks over established mining claims and interfered with tenure. It’s like putting a park over your house.

“The exploration and mining industry gets beat up. We’re not all angels. There are a lot of rogues out there, but mining has evolved.  Companies today are concerned about the environment,” he said.

“It is a preposterous concept and a devastating government sponsored initiative which extinguishes the dream of northern development,” he told his audience at the symposium.  “The vast, virtually unexplored areas of Northern Ontario have the potential to host world class mineral deposits that will possibly support flourishing mining camps.  Already, there is a prominent diamond mine in production in the James Bay Lowlands (De Beers’ Victor Mine) and rich deposits of copper, nickel and chromite have recently been discovered.”

Continuing the Tagliamonte legacy into a third generation, Peter Tagliamonte, Frank’s son, earned a degree in Mining Engineering at Laurentian University, won international recognition as Mining Magazine’s Mine Manager of the Year several years ago and today serves as president and COO of Glencairn Gold, in which position he is responsible for three producing mines in Central America.

 

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