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Posts Tagged ‘Abandoned mine in ontario’

Finding the Croft Uranium Mine – Ontario

Between 1953 and 1955 Croft Uranium Mines worked the area for radioactive minerals. They found betafite, uranite, uranothorite, allanite and pyrochlore. Their appearance is flagged in the pegmatite by a dark red color and quartz that has darkened to a grayish-black. There are also said to be small pink garnets in the gneiss and larger specimens in the pegmatite – some reaching up to 3 centimeters in diameter.

A couple of hundred meters along the mine road I got Maggie to pull over in a little clearing and I continued on foot, leaving her there with the understanding that I would be back as soon as I had found the mine and explored the dumps. She had Shaka with her for company and I had my whistle that I tooted on intermittently so as not to walk unexpectedly into a hunter’s ambush. The whistle also served the dual purpose of letting bears know of my presence as the bush was thick and close to the path and I had no wish to meet the “mother of all bears” in a circumstance of mutual surprise.

The road dropped steeply down into a valley and I soon realized that leaving the car above was a wise move. There was nowhere to turn around, the ruts got deeper, and the track was soon entirely underwater. Beavers had built a stick and mud palisade that held back a stinking organic tidal wave that would one day inundate the swamp below. As for the road, forget it. I climbed across on logs and waded knee-deep in mud, thinking what it might be like during bug season (What looks like a stream in front of the beaver dam is actually the mine road).

On the other side of the beaver dam the track began a slow and steady climb upward. I noticed the appearance of crushed granite where I walked and of course the telltale patches of eastern hemlock. These trees tend to grow in clusters wherever the natural forest has been disturbed. They tell you where to look for hidden human habitation.

I soon discovered the mine dumps on my left and in a marshy gully I unexpectedly found the adit.

 

See another abandoned uranium mine in Ontario …  here or my trip to the Sarnac Zircon Mines  … here (where we were again terrorized by the possibility of being eaten by bears

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looking down the abandoned shaft deep into the earth

 

IMG_1286, originally uploaded by Mic2006.

On my hunt for zircon in the Bancroft area I managed to find this old mine that had reputedly unearthed some pretty interesting mineral specimens – many of which were said to be radioactive – some of which are reported to have been zircon. Being a gemmologist I was interested to see the crystals, by my experience zircon crystals are generally box shaped with 4 sided pyramids at either end. “A doubly terminated tetragonal prism,” as the lingo describes it.

From my book that is still as of yet unpublished I provide the following extract …

“In 1955 a pit known as the “Blue Rock Cerium Shaft” was sunk in the bush to the south of Tory Hill. It dropped down to 440 feet, with three levels at 100, 250 and 400 feet.

There is apparently an adit somewhere nearby that leads down to the 100-foot level but I was unable to find it. The No. 1 shaft is about a kilometer and a half to the north, it was 657 feet deep with 4 different levels. “Lead Ura Mines” which later became the “Rare Earth Mining Company” initially explored the No. 1 pit in 1948. No commercial production was ever drawn from either of the “Rare Earth” sites but the legacy of that unsuccessful enterprise still haunts the bush making for an exciting day of discovery.

James and I wandered around the hillside wondering how the mine had appeared and where the head frame was situated. Eastern Hemlock and cedar had shrouded the already decaying concrete abutments and we trod carefully through the waist-high bush not wanting to find ourselves plunging down a hidden pit into the bowels of the earth.

As it turned out a huge concrete slab capped the shaft. James pointed to the cast iron hoops set within. It suggested the option of future removal if the company so desired. There was a small opening at one edge of the concrete slab and I tossed a rock through it. The stone bounced and boomed for six seconds before I heard a great hollow splash”.

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