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Bronze bust honours barber who struck gold

In what might be a parting gift, Newmont (TSX: NGT; NYSE: NEM) has unveiled a new statue commemorating prospector Benny Hollinger who struck gold in 1909 at what became the Porcupine complex in northern Ontario.

The world’s biggest gold miner has said it plans to sell Porcupine as it assesses holdings after its acquisition last year of Newcrest Mining. It’s one of six properties on the block.

The bust stands at the visitor’s outlook over the Hollinger pit at Porcupine near Timmins. Sudbury-based artist Tyler Fauvelle sculpted the bronze showing Hollinger in a hat and vest and featuring a relief of the Hollinger mine. It produced 19.3 million oz. gold from 1910 to 1968.

“This relief pays tribute not only to the development that came of Benny’s discovery, but to all the prospectors, miners and industry workers that followed,” Fauvelle said at the unveiling on May 30, according to a release. “Their spirit of hard work and dedication lives on to this day.”

Gold rush

Hollinger, a barber from about 200 km southeast of Timmins, joined the area’s gold rush after prospectors in June 1909 discovered what would become the Dome mine, also in Newmont’s portfolio today. The young man hit paydirt that October.

“Benny was pulling moss off the rocks a few feet away, when suddenly he let a roar out of him and threw his hat to me,” Hollinger’s partner, Alex Gillies, says in the 1995 book Gold in Ontario, by Michael Barnes. “The quartz where he had taken off the moss looked as though someone had dripped a candle along it, but instead of wax it was gold.”

The life-size bust is mounted on a stone platform and stands 1.7 metres (5.5 feet) tall. The artwork sports a gold vein on its back to symbolize Hollinger’s historic discovery.

“The bust of Benny Hollinger is not only a great addition to the lookout but plays a significant part in respecting the history of mining in Timmins, especially the Hollinger mine,” Newmont Porcupine manager Dawid Pretorius said in a release.

Canadian business titans E.P. Taylor and Conrad Black owned the mine over the years before Rob McEwen’s Goldcorp took it over in 2012. Newmont bought Goldcorp in 2016.

Source: MINING.COM – Read More