Arthur White was an active mine financier who, with his partner, raised millions of dollars for more than 50 companies and was instrumental in developing several mines including two of the most prolific producers in Ontario’s Red Lake gold camp – the Campbell mine and its neighbour, which bears his name, the Arthur W. White mine.
White was born March 26, 1911, in Guelph, Ont. At the age of 20, he went to Toronto and joined Manufacturers Life Insurance. In 1939, however, he gave up a promising career and set out on his own in the investment business despite his father’s advice against it.
He lost money during his first year, but made a small profit the second year. It was about this time that he went into partnership with the late Jack Brewis to form the underwriting and financing firm of Brewis and White. White was president from 1943 to 1960 while his partner was vice-president. Their partnership was responsible for mobilizing millions of dollars for resource exploration and development – an estimated $60 million for new production and $30 million for mineral exploration.
He worked on the theory that Canadians, particularly the individual investor, will supply risk capital for likely mining prospects provided they have confidence the money is being used to the best advantage for a fair examination of the ground.
The partnership’s first major venture was Mylamaque Mines, credited by White for getting them started in mine financing. White and his partner then participated in the Red Lake gold rush of the 1940s, a period which saw the creation of Campbell Red Lake Mines with White as first president. The Campbell mine is still in operation today, having produced more than $1-billion worth of gold.
In 1944, Brewis and White acquired an interest in Dickenson Red Lake Mines. Two years later, unable to interest anyone in taking over Dickenson, they moved from strictly raising financing to actual mine development and production. Dickenson’s mine poured its first gold bar in December, 1948. Its first dividend was paid to shareholders in 1953. It is still in operation today. Over the years, the White mine and its adjoining property, Robin, have produced more than 2.6 million ounces of gold.
Altogether, the Red Lake camp, one of the richest gold camps in Canadian mining history, had produced 15 million ounces of gold by 1990, about 6% of Canada’s total gold production of 238 million ounces.
The White mine formed the nucleus of a diversified group of resource companies under White’s direction, producing gold, silver, lead, zinc, oil and gas. Among the other mining concerns were Tundra, DeCourcey Brewis, Jameland, Kam-Kotia, Langis, Silvana, Harrison-Hibbert, United Cobalt, Rowan and Mid-Bay Mica.
A long-time advocate of a self-regulated speculative security business, White acted as the first chairman of the Broker-Dealers Association of Ontario when it was formed in 1948. He was a director of and holds an honorary life membership in the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada.