Early Days of Mining

Like many other ore bodies in Northern Canada, the bulk of the Flin Flon ore-bearing rock lay under a lake. The greater part of the ore body was covered by 12 to 15 feet of water, and from 15 to 90 feet of mud and clay — about 1,000,000 tonnes of material that had to be removed, regardless of the system of mining adopted.

Because the ore body was relatively near the surface, Hudbay mined the top 300 feet as an open pit and the remaining ore using underground methods. However, both required building a dam to dewater a portion of the lake.

Safety considerations were paramount to the company throughout the drilling, blasting, loading, and ‘tramming’ (done with 60-tonne capacity train cars) phase of the mine’s development. A safety inspector examined the mine and operations daily to ensure that all safety protocols were being followed. And because flying rocks presented a danger to the site and the town during blasting, methods were developed to warn townspeople in advance that a blast was imminent.

The resulting open pit mine was in operation for nearly eleven years with an estimated 5 ½ million tons of ore removed.

Source: Jim Mochoruk, Mining’s Early Years: An Historic look at Flin Flon’s Mining Pioneers. The Beginnings 1926-1930

Source: The Open Pit/Mining Processes: Northroots Magazine August/September 2009

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Mining's Early Days