03-01-2011 09:50 AM
And here's another document (900 kilobyte PDF, from B.C. Ministry of Energy and Mines) which might be of interest to those curious about underground mines in the Cumberland area. The mine in question, Number Three Mine of Comox Colliery, was the first of the longwall mines in the Comox coalfield, completely hand-worked and ventilated by a furnace. My paper includes a couple of poorly-reproduced photographs of the old furnace portal, which is now gated against trespass.
I'm posting this link mainly because it serves as a reasonable example of documentation. I've considered doing similar write-ups on some of the old workings at Nanaimo, but would as lief only publicise those mines which have now been secured against trespass. Lest anyone misunderstand, underground mines present many dangers to the would-be explorer. Consider that I have been working in this industry for a lot of years and I never lose sight of the fact that the mine has quite a few more ways to kill, or to maim, you than you are capable of holding in active awareness.
I had two main technical interests in studying the old workings:
-- the time-dependent behaviour of mine roofs, and their characteristic collapse mechanisms
-- the local and regional variation in coal quality
Those who are interested in such matters could probably find a fair number of my published papers via a search on Google or on SEDAR. I've since become more interested in the coal-measures as a source of architectural stone. The Cumberland post-office is an excellent example of a heritage building constructed from coal-measures sandstone. Built in 1980, it has withstood weathering quite handsomely, and the original quarry site still shows the marks of drilling and splitting-out of the stone blocks.
-- Gwyneth Cathyl
03-01-2011 05:49 PM
Thanks for your info, gwyneth. It's the stories that I hear from people like you, GBritt (Garry), and Peter Roosen that inspire me to do some of the things that I do.
03-01-2011 06:00 PM
Very interesting. Thanks for sharing! I've got a few documents I received while working at the local museum. If I get a few minutes I will definitely share.
Originally Posted by gwyneth
VENI, VIDI, VICI
03-03-2011 08:54 AM
This is a picture of what I had originally thought an abandoned coal mine in the Nanaimo area would look like when one was located. I quickly realized that they looked nothing like this.
03-03-2011 01:35 PM
It looks like that mine in the picture was maybe still operating or not long abandoned when the photo was taken. The timber looks fresh, cable looks clean and the pile along the track and track itself doesn't have weeds growing. Harewood Mine looked similar so I'm posting then and now pics - the "now" pic being from sometime around November 2010. Having said that, looking at the vegetation (and lack thereof), your picture looks like something from drier country - interior BC as an example. Where did the picture come from? If the timber in that photo rotted even a little and started to give way, the loose rock above and along both sides would fall and quickly become at least knee deep and eventually much deeper leaving a much smaller opening like in the "now" picture of Harewood Mine. Somebody would likely have come along to salvage the exposed steel - either for re-use or, much more often and likely, sold for pennies as scrap.
P.S. Reading through Gwyneth's Raven docs with interest. Not yet convinced this is a good business prospect for this decade. PPR
Last edited by Peter Roosen; 03-03-2011 at 05:26 PM.
03-03-2011 02:41 PM
The photo that I posted isn't an abandoned mine. I was just using it to show what I had originally anticipated an abandoned coal mine to look like. I figured some of them might have been left open like this and would be easily recognized as a mine. This is what I was looking for about 12 years ago when I began exploring the old mining sites. Many people like finding souvenirs on the site to take with them such as track, tools, wheels, etc. Over the years I learned that very, very few mines in Nanaimo were ever left open like this and the ones that were had flooded or collapsed. Many items, like track, were also removed from the site for a variety of reasons. The mines that were sealed and had managed to open themselves up again due to erosion could easily be mistaken as a cave, animal den, or sink hole.
Got the photo in an e-mail from a friend, she doesn't know the location (or she forgot).
03-03-2011 02:52 PM
Oh, for what it's worth: although I have long history in the coalfields of the Island, I hold no interests in the shares, securities or royalties of the Raven project. It makes good sense to me as a (perhaps fairly self-described after over 30 years in the business) practitioner within the underground coal-mining trade. Questions that always arise are the basic ones, like "how much of the profit gets side-tracked into bankers' pockets", and "what happens if the Indonesians come up with a replacement for the lost production at Pike River?". I always wonder what's going to happen next in the Pacific Rim coal trade; my uncertainty is now borne out of having been continually surprised ever since the day, in the early 80s, that my then-bosses in London decided that Sukunka Colliery was not going to go ahead. The doings of folks higher-up in the food chain are always mysterious.
The mine in the picture looks remarkably like a small 'doghole' adit mine that I examined Somewhere Overseas a few years ago. The timbering is reasonable for a dry climate, with little in the way of groundwater issues, and it's also suited to a property where someone has enthusiastically worked-out most of the outcrop pillar, perhaps after a larger operation with a more 'proper' entry system had closed. The dark lumpy material on the stockpile looks like it could be high-grade lignite or (at best) subbituminous coal.
Now, that picture of Harewood now -- it looks as if it were taken from a vantage point a bit further to the west than the original, yes? Have not been there for years, but that's what the apparent geological structure in the Millstream (unit M1) conglomerate bluff tells me.
03-03-2011 04:15 PM
LoL - A banker might wonder how much of the profit gets side-tracked into miners' pockets.
Originally Posted by gwyneth
Yes, a little further west seems likely. I took that Harewood picture standing underneath the new high-voltage transmission line that was installed last year. I found the old photo later so had no thought as to vantage point other than getting a reasonable placement shot for the close-up one I took first.
03-05-2011 06:25 PM
The good ol' Harewood Mines Tour! I did the hike with seaman last year. For some reason I thought the black and white photo was a picture of the mine beside the powerlines on the other side of the ridge. I figured the photographer was standing on the Harewood Mine Road location when he took the photo but I had been mistaken!
seaman posted the following photos March 17, 2010 after our hike. I thought that it was a good idea one of us should be in the picture in order to justify the size of the openings that we were observing. I feel a hike coming on!
Last edited by GR74; 03-05-2011 at 07:49 PM.
03-16-2011 04:57 PM
Very cool was there any relics in there?