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It took more than miners to run a mine, back in the '30s

In this edition of Remember This, the Timmins Museum: National Exhibition Centre looks back on mining operations in the 1930s
Hundreds of kilometers of track were laid out underground in order to haul loads of blasted ore using electric locomotives. Photo taken in the Hollinger Mine in 1936. Timmins Museum: National Exhibition Centre photo

From the Timmins Museum: National Exhibition Centre:

During the 1930s, the major mining operations in the Porcupine gold camp were firing on all cylinders and were experiencing a period of prosperity and growth. About 6,000 men were being employed by the mines at that time, producing about $45 million worth of product per year. 

Certainly, the vast majority of these employees were working underground. There were men to operate the heavy drills which bored holes into the rock walls and dynamite crews which packed the holes with explosives to blast the ore. Muckers then had the arduous task of scooping the ore into carts and trams which locomotive operators drove to haul the rubble to the surface. Carpenters were employed to build the vast timber framing which braced the tunnels for the miners.

Aboveground, hoist operators ensured that miners travelled safely down into the mine and the precious ore was brought up to the surface where the process continued. Machinists operated milling machines to further crush the ore and technicians closely monitored the chemical processes used to extract the gold. The final product could then be poured into gold bars before being transported to the Canadian Mint.

Behind the scenes, accountants, clerks, and managers ensured the smooth operation of the business of the mine, while geologists, engineers, and assayers pondered the mine’s health and longevity, and looked into areas of expansion.

Each employee of the Porcupine gold mine had a specialized skill which contributed to the continued operation of the heart of the city.

Each week, the Timmins Museum: National Exhibition Centre provides TimminsToday readers with a glimpse of the city’s past.

Find out more of what the Timmins Museum has to offer at and look for more Remember This? columns here.