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The Discovery of Gold in the Township of Fournière

In the early 1920’s, in the hope of finding gold, prospectors first travelled to Fournière Township, east of Roc-d’Or, where the modern-day Malartic now stands.

Black and white photograph of a mine headframe and a rudimentary building topped by two chimneys. In the foreground, a winding railway.

Headframe of Malartic Gold Mines around 1929 (Société d’histoire et de généalogie de Val-d’Or, Gilbert Tardif fonds).

However, the low-grade deposits discovered in 1923 did not justify mining. As a matter of fact, Malartic Gold Mines Ltd’s first exploratory shaft is only sunk in 1927. Also, the mine was too far away from major centres. The price of gold being low, and drilling results inconclusive, the mine had no choice but to shut down in July 1929.

Black and white photograph of the infrastructures of Canadian Malartic Mines, including a headframe of planks. In the foreground, logs and a boardwalk provide access to the buildings.

Canadian Malartic Gold Mines in 1937 (BAnQ Rouyn-Noranda, Canadian National fonds).

Mining regained profitability with the increase in the price of gold. Malartic Gold Mines became Canadian Malartic Gold Mines. After restoring the shafts and the camp, mining began anew. Soon a processing plant was set up and gold production got underway on May 1st, 1935.

Colour map of the Malartic mining camp and its surroundings. The town of Malartic is encircled in black and the village of Roc-d'Or in red. The land held by the various mines appears in different colours and the location of headframes is indicated by triangles.

Map of Malartic mining camp in 1945 (Alexandre Faucher, De l’or… et des putes?, Rouyn-Noranda, Éditions du Quartz, 2014).

In 1938, East Malartic Mines and Sladen Malartic Mines went into operation near Roc-d’Or. The following year, a fourth mining company opened: Malartic Gold Fields Mines.

Black and white photograph of the installations of three mines, including their headframes, taken from a plane. In the centre, several houses of the private village of Halet. In the background, one of East Malartic’s mine tailings sites.

Headframe of East, Sladen, and Barnat Malartic mines around 1950 (Société d’histoire de Malartic).