A Blast From the Past – A Glimpse into Garson Mine’s 100 Years of Evolution – Hans Brasch

Northern Life, Greater Sudbury’s community newspaper, gave Republic of Mining.com permission to post this article. www.northernlife.ca (Originally published on September 16, 2008)

Taken with permission from Garson Mine: 100 Years of Mining Excellence, authored by Hans Brasch

1907 – Garson Mine came into existence, purchased by the Mond Nickel Company. Development work began on a vertical shaft, six by 14 feet. The shaft was sunk to a depth of 225 feet and opened up at the 100- and 200-foot levels. Workforce average (WA) – 100.

1910 – No. 1 shaft was deepened to 600 feet. Production – 70,004 tonnes of ore. WA – 250.

1914 – No. 1 shaft was sunk to 870 feet. The miners dry-house was enlarged and several other buildings were built during the year. Production – 123,143 tonnes of ore. WA – 420.

1918 – The workforce average was reduced from 300 to 100 following the end of World War I. Production – 111,843 tonnes of ore.

1924 – Magnetic sorting plant installed in No. 1 shaft. Production – 130,792 tonnes of ore. WA – 268.

1925 – No. 1 shaft was sunk to 1,200 feet. A battery locomotive was added to the mine equipment for tramming on the eighth level, where the bulk of the production was being obtained. Production – 184,897 tonnes of ore. WA – 327 and the company started to pay its employees by cheque.

1927 – A ventilation and escape shaft, seven by 11 feet, inclined at 55 per cent, located 435 feet north of No. 1 shaft, was started in November. Production – 189,142 tonnes of ore. WA – 287.

1929 – Merger of the Mond Nickel Company with the International Nickel Company (Inco). Production – 246,079 tonnes of ore. WA – 342.

1933-1935 – Mine closed during depression years.

1936 – Mine re-opens in December. Production – 3,938 tonnes of ore. WA – 60.

1939 – No. 2 shaft was sunk in May, 14 by 22 feet vertical, suspended at a depth of 50 feet while the permanent plant was constructed. Sinking resumed in November to 407 feet. Production – 325,612 tonnes of ore. WA – 350 (Beginning of World War II).

1940 – No. 2 shaft deepened to 2,200 feet. Production – No. 1 shaft, 357,323 tonnes of ore. WA – 375.

1942 – Last month of ore hoisting out of No.1 shaft was March. The plant was dismantled in the following month and used as an escape way and for ventilation purposes. Production – No. 1 and 2 shaft, 793,209 tonnes of ore. WA – 540.

1944 – First use of trucked alluvial sand from Garson sand pit for fill purposes. Production – 1,045,810 tonnes of ore. WA – 680.

1945 – Garson Mine employees received the National John T. Ryan Safety award with a record of 111,100 safe shifts to its credit. Production – 781,557 tonnes of ore. WA – 569 (End of World War II).

1950 – First use of 110 cubic feet Granby cars underground. Skip capacity increased to 9.7 tonnes from eight tonnes and new cage hoist installed. Production – 1,145,986 tonnes of ore. WA – 761.

1958 – Three-month strike, the first major strike in the Sudbury district. Production – 758,028 tonnes of ore. WA – 1,024.

1961 – No. 3 shaft was sunk 57 feet at the end of 1960, and was deepened to 957 feet to a total depth of 5,014 feet below the surface. Production – 1,191,215 tonnes of ore. WA – 1,068.

1965-1967 – New surface hydraulic sand-fill plant was installed to replace temporary underground plant. Drainage and pumping facilities expanded in preparation for hydraulic filling and surface settling ponds. Production – 1,113,861 tonnes of ore. WA – 1,125.

1968 – A raise bore and a Wagner scoop tram were introduced underground. New fresh air system and heating plant completed and the ventilation flow was reversed. New office building completed. Production – 1,122,976 tonnes of ore. WA – 1,157.

1969 – Strike from July 10 to November 14. Production – 775,137 tonnes of ore. WA – 1,170.

1972 – Magnetic separating plant shut down. Production – 1,100,151 tonnes of ore. WA – 978.

1973 – Post pillar mining introduced. Production – 1,102,595 tonnes of ore. WA – 980.

1975 – Preliminary development for No. 4 shaft was started. Production – 1,148,483 tonnes of ore. WA – no data.

1976 – The surface mine water clarification plant  to treat mine discharge water was competed and put into operation.

A 1,000 gallon per minute well was drilled to supply mine with potable water. The existing well has been retained for fire protection back-up and the surface storage tank was scheduled to be removed. Production – 1,162,848 tonnes of ore. WA – no data.

1979 – A major rock burst occurred on May 8 in No. 2 shaft. During the following seven-month repair period, production was curtailed to areas above the 3,000 level. Production – 230,576  tonnes of ore. Workforce in December – 855.

1981 – No. 4 shaft was completed. Production 906,009 – tonnes of ore. Workforce in December – 922.

1982 – Operation stopped in June due to a one-month strike and a nine-month shutdown.

1984 – In June, an open pit was started in the surface crown, near the No. 1 shaft area at Garson mine. Production – 611,250 tonnes of ore. WA – no data.

1986 – A cable bolting program was instituted during summer shutdown due to poor ground conditions. In October, operations were stopped and employees sent home for two weeks and in mid-October, a stop work order was issued by the Ministry of Labour of Ontario. In December, th underground operations of the mine were temporarily suspended and employees were place on a four-month layoff. Production – 608,861 tonnes of ore. Workforce in December – 116.

1993 – Mine reopened under Project Management Team to rehabilitate the mine. Production – 133,936 tonnes of ore. Workforce at the end of June was 89 and at the end of December was 170.

1997 – The eight-hour act from 1914 was amended. Miners can work 10 and 12 hour shifts, forty hours weekly and on a seven-day schedule. Production – 454,062 tonnes of ore. Workforce in December – 234.

2000 – Garson Mine wins the Regional John T. Ryan Safety award. Production – 682,400 tonnes of ore. Workforce in December – 180.

2003 – Mining activities interrupted by a three-month strike. Production – 465,730 tonnes of ore. Workforce in December – 192.

2005 – Garson Mine wins the National John T. Ryan Safety award. Production – 793,227 tonnes of ore. Workforce in December – 190.

2006 – CVRD purchases Inco. Surface ramp reopened. Production – 794,514 tonnes of ore. Workforce in December – 213.

2007 – In June, the first stope ore produced from the 5,100-foot level, deepest stope in Garson Mine history. November 29, CVRD changed name to Vale Inco. Production – 815,657 tonnes of ore. Workforce in December –  229.

2008 – Garson Mine turns 100!

The total mined at Garson Mine (including Garson Extension, Crown, Pit and Ramp) from 1908 to 2007 is 57,233,535 tonnes of ore, which produced (before milling and surface processing losses) 763,434 tonnes of Copper and 926,868 tonnes of Nickel.
                           

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