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Posts Tagged ‘abandoned mine near Bancroft’

Abandoned Ontario Mine – Croft Mine

My purpose for visiting the Croft Mine had been was to photograph the fabled head frame – Ralph Schroetter, my guide at Coe Hill had said that it was one of the last such relics in the area. I soon came to realize that finding the abandoned structure would be no easy task. The forest was so thick that I could barely see twenty feet ahead.

I attempted to piece together the most likely location for a mining structure from the location of the dumps, adit, and the many overgrown tracks. Along one old bramble covered path I found a shelf system that had held the drill cores, along another track I found a collection of rusty old barrels. I spent some brief amount of time on the dumps looking for traces of the garnet bearing pegmatite. Mysterious, moss-covered beams were strewn everywhere. Might one of these heaps be the head frame that Ralph had spoken of?

Climbing the hill above the adit, I hoped to sight my goal, but I soon realized that I was out of luck. A yellow carpet stretched off bewilderingly in every direction. Breaking through the canopy was impossible. It was like I was drowning in an endless rain of sticky wet leaves. If it were not for the contour of the hillside, a factor that helped maintain my orientation, I doubt that I would have found my way back to the access track.

The water in the adit was knee-deep and crystal clear. I could see corrugations in the sand from big knobby tires. It seemed that somebody had driven an ATV into tunnel. Touching the wall I got an immediate whiff of the earth – it was that mouldering fungus smell you get when you dig in rotting leaves. Unlike the Richardson adit, there is no air movement here; it is absolutely still – like a mausoleum. Knowing the dangers of such an exploration I only stood in the entrance and though I had to fight my curiosity, I turned back for the fresher air of the forest outside.

Check out this rare earth mine near Bancroft – the shaft drops down to a depth of over 400 feet …. Here We found it in the bush by following the surface clues – a mine dump and old beams and tin.

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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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