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Newsletter - September 2010


Rec Hall Foundation Repairs Complete!

After two months of construction, crews with Eddie Paul’s Nextreme Construction Ltd. completed repairs to the foundation of the recreation hall at Giant Mine townsite, the Society’s proposed mining museum centre. A new concrete wall lines the north side of the building, replacing the rotting timber posts and skirting from original construction in the 1960s. The project cost in excess of $60,000 and we would like to thank the monetary contributions over the past few months, including J&R Mechanical, City of Yellowknife Heritage Committee, and GNWT Education, Culture and Employment through the Core Funding program. Due to the contour of the ground at the northeast side of the building, water was draining beneath and damaging timber posts. We were not able to make a concrete wall here; instead, we have placed a geo-textile membrane to divert water away from the building.

New Website Commissioned

After a year in development, the Society launched its new website in September 2010. The site is hosted by Global Storm IT who also had the contract to redesign the current layout. Thanks to Ryan Silke, Steve Clarke, and Walt Humphries for their assistance in developing the new page and filling it with content. If you have any suggestions for content, please let us know, and enjoy the new website!

Signage Placed at Outdoor Displays

The Society has erected new signs at its outdoor display area of the Giant Mine townsite. This permanent signage describes 28 individual pieces of mining machinery collected from around the NWT. Thanks to our members involved in the drafting of the signs, and Eddie Paul of Nextreme Construction for welding the plates onto the equipment. Funding for this project was courtesy of an NWT Parks and Recreation grant.

A sign describing in brief the geology of the Giant Mine/Baker Creek area has also been erected near the shore of Baker Creek, opposite of the old steam boiler plant at the Giant townsite. This sign was erected with funding from Nuna Logistics and includes a Dene translation.

This Month in NWT Mining History

History was made in the Northwest Territories around noon, on Monday, September 5, 1938, when the Con gold mine outside of Yellowknife, poured its first gold brick. Weight of the gold bar was 72 and a half pounds, valued at over $28,000 (in 1938 dollars; today, at a gold price of $1,270 per ounce, this bar would be worth US$988,000).

Dimensions of the brick were 12 inches by 8 inches by 3 inches. Mill superintendent Fred Walton oversaw the monumental pour in the mine's newly erected refinery. Presiding over the ceremony was Charles Camsell, deputy minister of mines and NWT commissioner, Cominco president William Archibald, Dr. Fred Jolliffe of the Geological Survey of Canada, and famous arctic explorer J.B. Tyrell. Mr. Tyrell spoke of the historic moment, "Yellowknife looks as if it would become one of the rich gold producing sections of this Dominion. We shall hear much about it in the future."

Con Mine was the first gold mine in the NWT. Staked in 1935, it was brought quickly to production after the discovery of high-grade quartz vein systems in the summer of 1936. It was an important catalyst in the settlement and growth of the town of Yellowknife, and remained an economic engine of the city until its closure in 2003. The mine ultimately produced over five million ounces of gold.

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