LaBine, Gilbert

Gilbert LaBine, prospector, mining promoter (b at Westmeath, Ont 10 Feb 1890; d at Toronto 8 June 1977). He and his brother Charlie formed ELDORADO GOLD MINES (1926) in Manitoba. When the mine petered out, he used the company's remaining funds to finance prospecting trips around Great Bear Lake, where in 1930 he discovered a valuable deposit of silver mixed with pitchblende (radium). After establishing a refinery at Port Hope, Ont, LaBine entered the world radium market in 1933. His mine was forced to close in 1940, but American demand for uranium reopened it in 1942. That year the government secretly bought control of Eldorado, and in 1944 the company was nationalized. LaBine remained president until 1947. A brilliant prospector and creative promoter, LaBine was less at home with routine administration. His other interests included Gunnar Mines and Nesbitt-LaBine Mines.