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Newsletter - November 2010



Several years of negotiation and what seemed like endless bureaucracy has paid for itself with the signing of a land sublease for the Giant Mine recreation hall. Society president Walt Humphries and Yellowknife Mayor Gord Van Tighem signed the paper with ceremonial form in October 2010. The lease is for three years with a payment of $600 per year. As the lot is un-serviced, property taxes are pardoned until the facility is functional.


The Society would like to thank our donors and sponsors on a great year for fundraising in 2010. Financial contributions were put towards repairs to the recreation hall foundation this summer, trust funds, and society operating expenses. We would like to thanks in particular J&R Mechanical, Avalon Rare Metals, BHP Billiton, and the many other sponsors, including those who made the Beer Barge a success! See our July newsletter for details on the Beer Barge and sponsorship.

Additions to our extensive collection included high-grade gold specimens from Discovery Mine, donated by former mine geologist John Millen. Special thanks to one of our members, Bob Carr, for arranging this donation!

We are also thankful to the family of Lorne Schollar, a long-term member and director of the Society  who passed away earlier this year. Lorne was a great collector of rocks and northern memorabilia and his family were kind to donate several items this summer.

Terry Hauff, former owner of the map store in Yellowknife, is leaving town and donated some prospecting gear, books, and rock specimens to the Society. He also forwarded some small documents from the old Ptarmigan gold mine dating back to the 1940s.

Joyce Yasensky, widow of Con miner John Yasensky, donated a framed picture of Con’s 1960 mine rescue team which won the NWT competition that year.

Thanks again to our community supporters! We look forward to working with our partners next year as we continue to fundraise and collect for the proposed mining museum!


Geoscience Forum is upon us in November and the Society has a booth at the trade show. Our new merchandise this year are drill core business card holders.

The core is ore from Con Mine and donated by Gord Piro. Volunteers with the Society sawed the core into halves and cut slits down the center, followed by applying a thin coat of clear epoxy to bring out the shiny ‘green’ in the greenstone. They make excellent business card or picture holders! A limited quantity are available for sale and our plan is to produce more next year. Thanks to members Deb Bain, Gord Piro, and coordinator Stephen Clark for the production of the core, and to the NWT Geoscience Office for use of their diamond saws!

We also welcome Polar Developments Ltd. of Yellowknife as our newest corporate member!


On November 10, 1977, the first gold ore was hoisted up Con Mine’s new Robertson shaft marking a turning point in the history of Yellowknife’s oldest gold mine.

Con Mine was on the verge of closure in 1970 with rising costs and a stagnant price of gold. Its internal shaft system was complex and in bad shape, and the mine could not afford to replace it without a significant increase in the price of gold. Suddenly in 1972, gold skyrocketed due to changing world markets and financial policy. Con could now identify millions of tons of economic ore at greater depths and began planning a new shaft.

Construction started in 1973 on the Robertson shaft which was ultimately deepened to over 6,200 feet. The shaft and headframe facilities were completed in 1977 and the first ores were skipped to the surface and loaded into trucks owned by R.M. Williams Contractors who drove it to the Con mill a short distance away.

The shaft was named after mine foreman Bob Robertson who retired from Con shortly before construction began. The Robertson headframe became a dominant symbol on the Yellowknife skyline and still stands today as a reminder of our gold mining history.


2011 memberships are now for sale for those who need to renew with the NWT Mining Heritage Society.

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