Jackfish Lake is where it all began for Wayne Richards.
Before he got into prospecting, Richards’ family owned cottages in the Jackfish Lake area in Terrace Bay, Ont. Eventually, Don McKinnon, former owner of the Hemlo mine, stayed at one of Richards’ properties – which set the course for Richards’ venture into the world of geological exploration.
“They stayed for a couple of years starting in 1979, prospecting all around our area, and they had Hemlo at the same time,” Richards recalls, adding that Jackfish Lake used to be an old town known for its coal trains. He remembers being fascinated by the fact that the late McKinnon owned the biggest mine in the area at the time – about a quarter of Canada’s production.
Richards and partners have been working on the Jackfish property since the 1980s. In 2017, Sanatana Resources optioned the property. In a Sanatana press release, company president and CEO Peter Miles says, “Sanatana is pleased to be back in the mineral exploration business and the Company’s board of directors and management are looking forward to starting exploration on the Jackfish property.”
The Jackfish property is located on the northern shores of Lake Superior, which is 20 kilometres east of Terrace Bay via Highway 17 in Ontario, the press release states.
“Everyone thought it was just granite [there],” Richards says of the property. “It took a long time for people to understand there were lots of gold veins in the granite, not commonly thought to be prospective for mineralization like that by past explorers – that’s why Sanatana approached me.”
Richards says typical greenstone belt rocks in the area are also prospective for gold and other types of mineralization.
Sanatana was the first company to pull together the land package in the area and take a broader-scale approach to exploration, rather than companies just testing one showing, drilling a target and then moving on. This was very important to Richards.
It has been rough for Richards as the market went down a couple years ago, he says.
“You can’t hang on to all the properties. You hang on to your best stuff and wait for a turn – but it hasn’t come yet,” he says with a laugh. “Everybody thinks the next year is going to be better.”
Regardless, Richards is looking forward to the future. To take his mind off the unpredictability, he says he has to get into something else, such as diamond drilling, in addition to exploration and cottage ownership.
“I do a bit of everything,” he says.