September 2005 Update

The society had numerous projects on the go during the summer of 2005, as we drive towards establishing the NWT's mining museum. 

Rec Hall Lease: The society was awarded a 10-year lease on the Giant Mine recreational hall property from the City of Yellowknife in August. This is a major achievement and represents an important stage in our plans for the mining museum. The recreation hall will be the main building, and we hope to initiate repairs to the structure soon. We have already begun plans for building a new porch entrance and landscaping a parking lot on the south side of the building. Some minor roof patchwork was required, and a preliminary investigation suggests that we may need to replace the roof as part of our renovations. 

A-Shaft Headframe Repairs: Our capital project of the year was the repairs to the old A-shaft headframe. Crews with Nahanni Construction Limited worked on replacing a single stiff-leg brace in August and also completed some other minor repairs. This work has stabilized the structure, and in the future we will perform other repair jobs to ensure that this headframe, perhaps to be the last in Yellowknife, is preserved. The society received some good newspaper publicity surrounding this project. 

Site Visits and Artifact Collection: No work was done at Giant or Con Mines during the period. We still have some items at Giant and in the future we will work with the DIAND cleanup team to ensure their safe removal. 

The society was allowed a visit to the Tundra Mine in August for the purpose of identifying historic mine equipment. Ryan Silke flew up to the site, took pictures, collected a few small artifacts, and then reported back to the society on what he found. A photo inventory consisting of mostly heavy equipment has been submitted to DIAND Contaminated Sites, the department planning to initiate remediation of the mine in the next few years. 

Ryan Silke also visited the Great Bear Lake area in July 2005. This visit was not done on behalf of the society, but the photos he took plus the few artifacts he recovered from the various mining sites in the area are now part of our collections. An updated artifact inventory has also been completed. 

Con Mine Log Cabin: The old log cabin at the C-1 Gate was removed from Con Mine property and relocated to our future museum area at Giant Mine in August. Miramar Mining donated the structure to us last year, and Blair Weatherby Trucking was hired to perform the delicate move. The project went as planned and the log cabin made quite a sight as it traveled through Yellowknife to Giant. Photos of this event were submitted to the local newspapers. The cabin now rests at the Giant Mine Boat Launch parking lot and will be integrated into our mining displays in the area. The cabin was built in 1938 and was used as storage for explosive materials for many years. A small plaque was erected on the building, and future plans are to build a new front porch and re-chink and preserve the logs. 

Parking Lot Display: The old log cabin from Con will become the centerpiece to our proposed display of mine equipment at the Giant Mine boat launch parking lot. During the summer we made preparations for landscaping the area with fine crush. Laying of the track will probably be delayed until next summer. Future plans will include relocating the historic Brock headframe from the Giant Mine site to this area. 

George Hunter Photo Exhibit: The photo exhibit, which opened in June, continues to receive good exposure. We have made plans to produce a catalogue of the photos for the 2005 Geoscience Forum. The exhibit closes in December, but the society has discussed using the photos in a traveling exhibit for when our society partakes in mining conventions next spring, such as the PDAC conference in Toronto. 

Future Plans: The final terms of our recreation hall lease will be negotiated this fall, and we will then apply for a work permit so that repairs can get underway. We are looking at rebuilding the side entrance with a new staircase and porch. We are planning a general meeting and site tour in October to help raise awareness and showcase our progress to date. This is also the stage to start looking for major donations, so over the winter of 2005-2006 the society will be actively fundraising.