Thunder Bay

Windy Ridge Amethyst seeks approval for mine near Thunder Bay

A man from southern Ontario is holding a public information session in Thunder Bay in October to share details about his proposed amethyst mine, near the city.

A man from southern Ontario wants to set up a small amethyst quarry near Pearl, outside Thunder Bay

Larry Kowtuski, of WIndy Ridge Amethyst, poses with some amethyst near Thunder Bay. (windyridgeamethyst.ca)

A man from southern Ontario will get the public's input next month on his proposed amethyst mine near Thunder Bay.  

Larry Kowtuski of Norwich, Ontario owns Windy Ridge Amethyst.

Kowtuski said he already operates a small amethyst quarry, off Hwy 527, northeast of the city.

He said it produces rocks, which aren't jewellery quality, but are very decorative in gardens. Kowtuski said the amethyst in Pearl is found in a different type of base rock.

"The amethyst itself is probably the same, but it'll be on your typical silver grey, granite rock, which has a slight sparkle to it. And the amethyst at Pearl, on a couple of the quarries, is going to be either on this mudstone, silt stone or what they call altered granite," said Kowtuski.

Kowtuski said he's been told the best place to find amethyst is where something has happened geologically.

"So if that was some kind of fracture or fault, typically there would be a different host rock on each side of it, and the amethyst is formed in the middle...they get nice quality amethyst in a nice, sugary quartz, like a white sugary quartz. That seems to be the most popular in the Thunder Bay area," he said. 

Kowtuski said he was originally dreaming of striking it rich in silver, or gold. But he said he soon discovered that amethyst was a better fit.

"After a couple of years of doing exploration work in the Pearl area, I just decided to go to the other. A one-man guy doesn't run a silver mine, but you can run an amethyst mine."

Kowtuski said the amethyst will be processed and sold from his operation in southern Ontario, where he runs a motorcycle wholesale parts business. Kowtuski said the proposed quarry near Pearl will be very small, and is set five kilometres back from the road.

He said he mines the amethyst purely as a hobby. 

"It's a one-man operation, which kind of says it all. It's not a money-maker, that's for sure. Much as I'd like it to be better, I keep considering it a hobby," said Kowtuski.

The public is invited to offer their input on Kowtuski's proposal on October 16, at the MacGregor Recreation Centre, beginning at 4 p.m.