In a life span of 89 years, Hector Authier drank deeply from the cup of Canadian life and enriched his country in the process. All Abitibi was his cause and Val d’Or one of the effects. His activities contributed vastly to Canadian mining – but reached beyond the world of mining into law, government, the Legislative Assembly and the House of Commons. His career also included work as a Minister of the Crown, a journalist, bank manager and a mayor.
A popular guest speaker in the 1920 to 1924 era, Mr. Authier took the story of Abitibi and its promise far afield. While in New York on such a project, he became associated with American interests that resulted in the formation of the Read-Authier Mining Syndicate with claims in the Val d’Or region. The claims of the syndicate were later split in two blocks. The south block became the Lamaque Gold Mines, a producer for more than half a century. The north block became Sigma Mines, now a member of the Placer-Dome group of mines and still an important Canadian gold producer.
The opening of these two mines in the 1933-34 period resulted in the founding of Val d’Or in 1934.
Other mining enterprises with which Mr. Authier was closely associated in their formation days were Abana, that eventually became Normetal Mining, and Molybdenite Corporation of Canada, for many years the only exclusive producer of molybdenite in Canada.
Hector Authier was born at L’Ange-Gardien, Rouville County, near Montreal in 1881. He studied law at what was then Laval University of Montreal and was admitted to the bar in 1906. In 1912, he was appointed Lands Agent by the Quebec Government of Sir Lomer Gouin for all of Abitibi. Impressed by the region’s potential in agriculture, forestry and mining, Mr. Authier became a life-long protagonist for the Abitibi region. He became the first mayor of Amos in 1914, the first bank manager of the region with Banque Hochelaga, now National Bank of Canada.
As a journalist, Mr. Authier wrote for many of the regional newspapers including what is now Les Echos Abitibiens.
Mr. Authier was a member of the Quebec Legislative Assembly from 1923 to 1936 and was Minister of Colonization in 1936. In 1940, he was elected from Chapleau to the House of Commons in Ottawa. Mr. Authier retired from politics in 1945, died in Montreal in 1971 and was buried at the Roman Catholic Cathedral in Amos, Quebec.