Matty Mitchell was a trapper, a guide, and probably best known as a prospector. In 1905, he discovered base metal mineralization on the bank of the Buchans River, while prospecting for the Anglo Newfoundland Development Company. Matty Mitchell's find and the subsequent development of the Buchans River orebody and nearby deposits in 1928, led to the creation of a thriving town in previously uninhabited wilderness, and many thousands of person-years of employment, shared by three generations of Newfoundlanders. Over a period of almost sixty years, the Buchans orebodies - one of the world's richest and most productive massive sulphide camps - yielded 16.2 million tons of high-grade zinc, lead, copper, gold and silver ore with a gross (2010) value of approximately Can$14 billion.
Matty's discovery continues to have an important and lucrative impact on the economy of Newfoundland and Labrador, most recently in the form of a major resurgence of mineral exploration expenditures in the larger Buchans geological belt. Exploration and mining companies from Newfoundland and from points around the globe continue in the search for ore like that first uncovered by Matty Mitchell in the Red Indian Lake wilderness over a century ago.
Matty Mitchell died in 1922, at the age of about seventy-five. Sadly, he did not live to see the fruits of his prospecting discovery: the successful development of a world-class mine.