Newsletter - September 2013

Thanks for another great BEER BARGE

The fifth annual Beer Barge has come and gone, and what a party it was! The barge docked at 5:22 and the winners were Sandra Taylor and Orlene Williams. A variety of musical talent entertained the crowds well into the evening. ‘Tracey Riley and the Wildcats’ fronted the stage together with ‘See Peter Run’. Tony Foliot put on his best storytelling behavior and we all enjoyed his late party songs. Guests put on a great show during the costume contest and we had some very creative ideas this year.

Dave Ritchie the miner won the best men’s prize, and the girls baseball team took home the ladies prize. There was also an impromptu jigging contest later in the night, and Lillian Hvatum won a weekend at Super 8. Thank you to everyone who sponsored the event, volunteered, and otherwise made the Beer Barge possible!

Event Sponsors:

Williams Engineering -- Weaver & Devore -- East Arm Freighting -- James Mackenzie -- Pido -- Klaus Schoenne

Territorial Beverages -- RTL -- Ed Eggenberger -- Max Ward -- Dave Ritchie -- Ptarmigan Ptheatrics -- Super 8

Aurora Geosciences -- Superior Propane -- Canadian North -- NFVC -- Float Plane Flyin -- NWT Pipe Band

Mineral Collection Donated to Museum

A Yellowknife prospector has donated a large portion of his collection to the NWT Mining Heritage Society. Bob Carr, a resident since the 1970s, is an avid collector of minerals across the world and has amassed a treasure-chest of samples, including many interesting rocks and minerals from the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. Significant are his collection of pyrite and calcite crystals from the Pine Point area on the south shore of Great Slave Lake. With the support of the NWT Geoscience Office, one of our directors, Diane Baldwin, is creating a selection of representative samples, and some of the minerals are now on display at the Yellowknife airport.

Robertson Shaft

It’s coming down to the wire for Con Mine’s Robertson shaft headframe. The City of Yellowknife has yet to come up with a feasible proposal for preserving the mining landmark, and without such a commitment, Newmont Mining will have no choice but to demolish it as per its remediation requirements. Step forward and voice your opposition to the destruction of the Robertson shaft!


Don’t forget about our 2013 annual general meeting on Thursday, September 12! There will be a BBQ followed by the business at hand, all starting at about 6pm. The meeting will be held at the Northern Frontier Visitors Centre. Bring the family, bring a friend! Bring a story, bring an artifact! Bring new ideas on how we can celebrate our mining heritage!

So Long Giant Mine Roaster

A Yellowknife mining landmark is slowly getting torn down. Work began this summer on cleanup and demolition of the Giant Mine milling and roasting complex, part of the larger remediation project. The first building to go: the roaster brick chimney, which is currently being dismantled brick by brick. The chimney was built in 1953 during improvement of Giant Mine’s roaster facility. The roaster was the metallurgical plant where sulphide ores were treated at high temperature to liberate the gold from arsenopyrites.

Unfortunately the chemical reaction produced toxic gases, including arsenic and sulphur, so while the roaster stack is a monument of Yellowknife’s unique mining history, it also represents a legacy of contamination.

Demolition of the roaster complex should be completed in the summer of 2014.

Museum Site Developments in 2013

Another busy season of site work was completed during the summer of 2013 as we continued work on the mining museum project. With a grant from the GNWT, Education, Culture and Employment, Culture & Heritage Division, the Society was able to again contract renovation and repair work to Eddie Paul’s Nextreme Steel Specialists. Nextreme has been involved in all of our site development since 2010 when foundation work on the recreation hall building was first begun. Work continued last summer to lay a concrete perimeter around the northeast side of the structure and conduct emergency repairs to roof supports, walls, and flooring as required. This year, with $35,000 available from the government grant, we tasked Nextreme with various site work on all three of our occupied buildings.

In the late spring, work began to brace up the wood pile foundation of our storage warehouse. Decades of neglect had left the building sagging and wood cribs under pools of water. Although the crews had a tough time jacking up the heavy and twisted building, they were able to brace the foundation cribs with extra support to keep it from slipping further into the mud. They also rebuilt the back porch and staircase and installed steel mesh over the windows to make the building more secure.

Meanwhile, a volunteer work party were engaged in vacuuming out the interior of the commissary. Several years of dust were cleaned out of the building and a little bit of reorganizing has resulted in a much cleaner storage space. Thanks to everyone who helped – Walt Humphries, Tracey Breitbach, Dave Kellett, Ryan Silke, Helmut Epp, and Norah Higden.

Back at the recreation hall, the Nextreme crew spent August and September gutting most of the interior of the building. Old fiberboard, drywall, ceiling tiles, and insulation were removed from the main hall, while the kitchen and bathrooms were completely gutted of fixtures and appliances. Some non-structural wall partitions were removed. A new double-door was installed to replace the broken service door, which necessitated some carpentry work on the nearby wall and flooring. Building paper was tacked onto sections of the exterior wall that had previously been exposed to the elements.

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