Cobalt Research I

The Background of The Cobalt Lakes

by Andrew Dalby and Chris Gallagher

Cobalt, Ontario is a prime example of an area heavily contaminated by tailings and waste, by-products of silver mining. In 1911, when silver mining in Cobalt was at highest levels of production, annual silver production exceeded 850 metric tonnes per year which easily made Cobalt Camp, as it was then known, the world's largest producer of the metal.

As by-products of this wealth, millions of tonnes of mine waste and tailings, were dumped into nearby lakes and streams which, in addition to being detrimental to the surrounding environment, pose a great health risk to the ten thousand current residents of the Cobalt area. Most problematic is the arsenic associated with the silver ore, which ended up in the tailings, and the mercury and cyanide used in the ore milling process.


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