The Milliken Lake Uranium Mine was one of the fairly smallest productive mining operations that's commonly located in the Algoma District of North Eastern, Ontario, Canada. The history behind its staking was additionally made by Milliken Lake Uranium Mines, Ltd., who secured ground West of Nordic Lake Uranium Mines, Ltd., in 1954. Exploratory work which was under taken by Milliken Lake had consisted of diamond drilling that was undertaken on the Milliken Lake Property, and on another property located in Township 143. Diamond drilling that was undertaken on the Milliken Lake Property would additionally proven to be profitable that had allowed the company to secure a contract for the sale of Uranium concentrate.
Drilling and further geological mapping had revealed that the Milliken Lake zone is generally of conglomerates and comglomeratic quartzite that's up to 60 feet thick lies up to 80 feet above the basement. Upper ore bearing sections which correspond to the Nordic Bed had a drill intercept grade of 0.098% U3O8 over 8.5 to 15 feet. However, this drilling program was not aimed at identifying the lower bed until mining operations would commence on this ground. Thickness of the lower bed is also considered to vary markedly and was considered to below ore grade which may be missing or thickened over basement highs. For the most part, the upper bed may also thin and even become more quartzitic with a drop in grade over basement highs recognized in the lower reef. Similar quartzitic patches are frequently found in the Eastern part of the workings but have no direct connection with basement highs that are establish. The foremost lower bed is also identified to be much coarser and more poorly sorted than that of the upper, and the lower also shows a graded sequence. Surface examinations rather show that the Upper Mississagi quartzite rather dips at about 20° North in which the Nordic Diabase sill like intrusion forms high ground East and North of the main surface plant area.
Development on the Milliken Lake Mine was first started in 1956, as predevelopment plans were being made in order to explore the potential uranium deposit indicated by diamond drilling. Milliken Lake Uranium Mines, Ltd., was first Incorporated in October, 1952, with an authorized capitalization of 6,000,000 shares of $1 par, of which 5,400,000 shares had been issued. The Milliken Lake Uranium Mines had also been under the direction of W.H Bouke as president, R. C. Ashenhurst as Secretary treasurer, H. E. Nelems as Managing Director, with J. G. Edison, D. F. Burt, and D. A. Berlis as directors.
Milliken Lake Uranium Mine's would additionally go onto securing 24 claims which were immediately East of Elliot Lake in Township 149, district of Algoma, in Ontario, Canada. This staking resulted in the sinking of two vertical, five compartment shafts which were begun on historical claim S.80247. The No. 1 Shaft was sunk 365 feet, and No. 2 had been the deepest Shaft achieving a depth of 460 feet when operations were suspended due to financial issues in start up. Pending financial issues it was finally resolved when Rio Tinto Company of Canada Limited had gained control of the company prior to helping them financially with the Milliken Lake Uranium Mine. No additional work was done in regards to cutting and stationing levels followed by sinking the main shafts in accordance with the company's financial budget for the operating year of 1956.
By 1957, extensive diamond drilling that was conducted by Milliken Lake Uranium Mines had indicated 7,269,846 tonnes averaging 0.098% U3O8 and that it was proven that additional tonnage potential for the property was estimated from 14,000,000 to 18,000,000 tons in ore reserves. Calculation of these ore reserves were greatly taken from diamond drilling that was conducted on the Upper or Nordic Reef as the Milliken Mine had additionally extended into this ground and would further become expanded. It was in 1957, when a considerable amount of lateral development work was completed and shaft sinking would only continue towards the No. 1 and No. 2 Shaft operations.
It was in 1957, when previous mining operations that were being conducted by Milliken Lake Uranium Mines had continued onward during this time period of operation at the Milliken Lake Property. The No 1 shaft was additionally sunk to even greater depths when it would reach nearly 3,071 feet below the surface that was aimed at largely expanding this project. The financial help that was provided by Rio Tinto Company of Canada Limited., would provide the cutting and stationing of levels towards this Uranium mining project. A total of six new levels were shortly after stationed on the 1,000, 2,667, 2,920, 2,960, and the 3,000- foot had been established from the No. 1 Shaft. This would also result in the cutting and stationing of levels within the No. 2 Shaft that were establish on the 1,000, 2,000, and 3,000- foot levels. Further development would also include a crusher station that was cut on the 3,135-foot level, and a loading pocket was also cut on the 3,247-foot level from the No. 2 Shaft. Minimal lateral development work was also additionally completed during this time period that resulted in 187 feet of crosscutting that was done on the 3,000-foot level. Changes were also additionally made towards this project as the No. 1 Shaft was made to have two compartments, while the No. 2 Shaft had three compartmemts and both shafts were designed to be vertical.
Construction was shortly after followed when Milliken Lake Uranium Mines had developed two steel head-frames, in which the No. 1 head-frame was 111 feet high, and the No. 2 was 168 feet high. Other major construction was being aimed at building a 270 by 500-foot concentrator building, which also included two hoist-rooms, a service building and trestle, a crushing and grinding plant, a steam plant, a main pump house, a 16 inch wood stave water line that was 6,980 feet long, a cook house, four bunk houses, two warehouses, a staff house, and 17 dwelling houses in the town site. The company's main townsite that was used during the early period of mining had been once situated on Sheriff Lake.
Construction was also followed by the installation of major equipment that was needed in order to operate this deep Uranium mining project that was once situated in Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada. Installations that were completed had included a double drum electric skip hoist, a double drum cage hoist, three high pressure air compressors, four low pressure compressors, and two plant type Scotch marine boilers. The total amount of ore which was hoisted from the workings had additionally amounted to 5,520 tonnes of ore that was taken out from the Milliken Lake Uranium Mine. Employment that was place under the supervision of M. A. Upham who was a Mine manager had consisted of 104 men that were employed during the start up of mining at the Milliken Lake Uranium Mine Site in 1957.
Mining operations had additionally continued through 1958, as the 3,000 ton mill had been equipped in the early part of the year, and had first began operation on April, 3, 1958. It was also planned that much of the equipment which was quite similar to that of other Uranium producing plants in the district. The Milliken Lake Project had continued to progress as the main No. 1 Service Shaft would reach significant depths of 3,071 feet below the surface. It was also during this time that work was being concentrated on the No. 2 Production Shaft that had reach a depth of nearly 3,400 feet below the surface. Underground lateral development that had amounted to 16,124 feet of drifting, 4,933 feet of crosscutting, and 29,025 feet of raising was completed. Within 1958, sinking operations had rather just been finished in the Service Shaft, and a start on development work had been made at the Production Shaft. By January 22, 1958, a change over was additionally made towards the permanent hoist and head-frame at the Service Shaft, and on February 22, the change over was made at the Production Shaft. As development had progress this had allowed for stoping operations to commence on April 1, and mill capacity of 3,000 tons was reached on June 24, 1958. Work which was completed during the year had totalled 53,763 feet, of which 16,464 feet was in waste, while development work had produced 233,426 tons of ore, and 116,395 tons. With development continuing this had produced nearly 752,245 tons of broken ore that was hoisted from the Milliken Lake Mine that was owned by Milliken Lake Uranium Mine Limited, and controlled by Rio Tinto Company of Canada Limited. It was towards the end of 1958, when 6,713 tonnes of broken ore had remained in the Mine for the time being. Diamond drilling that was completed during this time period had amounted to 1,638 underground drill holes having a total length of 31,215 feet. Other installations were also made towards the underground workings that had consisted of a 36- by 48-inch, Canadian Allis Chalmers Jaw Crusher that was once installed on the 3,135-foot crusher station. The very first concrete at the Milliken Lake Mine was additionally poured on May 8, 1957, and this was followed by the crusher plant which went into operation on March 11, 1958, just ten months later.
Construction which was focus on the concentrator, crushing and grinding plant building's, piping, and equipment installations were completed during the period January 1 to May 1, 1958. This had also been followed by the completion of the head-frames that was accompany by a service building which included the dry, office, and shops. Other preparations had been made as both hoists were officially installed, and the pump house along with the remaining 50% of the tailings lines were also place into operation. It was also during this time period that a new H-Type bunk house was completed and to b used as a sleeping quarters of both hourly-rated, and staff personnel. Mining along with operations were generally facilitated by Milliken who acted as it's own contractor, which resulted in letting comtracts, materials, and equipment that was purchased by Milliken through Rio Tinto Management Services, Limited (R.T.M.S.) As development was about to proceed it was also double check by the R.T.M.S. and Milliken in regards to the main design of this mining project along with the supervision of R.T.M.S. Central Engineering Team. The organization of planned construction under supervision had also allow for the completion of this project within minimal amount of time that was spent on it.
It was during 1958, when milling operations had exceed the amount of ore that was extracted from the Milliken Lake Mine Project that was done under joint ventures. These two joint ventures agreements were additionally made by Rio Tinto Company of Canada Limited., and Milliken Lake Uranium Mines Limited. Production figures for 1958, were estimated at 738,942 tons that were treated in order to recover 1,148,000 pound's of U3O8 which was shipped. This was in addition to much lower grade material which was directly fed to the Mill, in order to bed down the equipment and to tune the main circuit. It was also after average calculation that the head grade was estimated at 1.80 lbs., of U3O8 per ton with a 92% recovery. Concentrate which was shipped from the Milliken Lake Uranium Mine was marketed under contract with the Eldorado Milling, and Refining Limited to destinations in the United States and the United Kingdom. It was by April, 3, 1958, when bedding down of the Mill was completed, and the filling of the leaching Pachuca's was started. The first of these drums of concentrate was additionally filled on April, 28, 1958. It was also from July that the Mill had treated 3,242 tonnes per day, and in November the averaged increased to 3,404 tons per day. Plant operations during this time period had also operated with satisfactory results at 3,400 tons per day, except that tailings losses were somewhat higher than when operating at rated capacity. Most of this had been caused due to the decreased contact time in the leaching circuit, and also because of limited tonnage that ion exchange can effectively treat. Predictions which were made would also state that at 3,000 tons a day, excellent recovery can be anticipated. Milliken Lake Uranium Mines had also employed 827 men that were hired on by M. A. Upham, in which 437 were place underground, and the remaining 390 men were place to work on surface. It was due to the high amount of employees that the company would built a place to accommodate it's very own trailer park at the Mine Site which was increased from 60 to 160 units.
The No. 1, Vertical Three Compartment Service Shaft was still reaching its current depth of 3,071 feet below the surface, and the No. 2, vertical three compartment Production Shaft was still reaching 3,400 feet depth in 1959. Further expanding would only continue onward as the new 2,760-foot level was driven on the Mines 2,751 feet below the collar of the No. 1 Service Shaft. By this time, further development had been aimed at driving an incline for nearly 461 feet to serve four recently established levels that were remote from the shaft. Lateral development that was under taken had consisted of 11,576 feet of drifting, 3,854 feet of crosscutting, and 64,875 feet of raising. By the end of 1959, this had additionally given a total developmemt footage of 27,700 feet of drifting, 7,884 feet of crosscutting, and 64,875 feet of raising. Conditions had also greatly improved during the operating year of 1959, and had place the mandatary need of exploration work to be completed. Development which would end up totalling 56,578 feet, had greatly increased the proven ore reserves and had produce 18% of the ore that was milled during the year. Milliken Lake at this time was quite extensive as development had soon advanced beyond production requirements, that resulted in mine layouts in order to adjust to conditions and a more efficient stoping cycle that was attainted. With development proceeding through the ore-body it was evident that the grade was found to be only vary moderately and generally good ground conditions were experienced. At the end of 1959, it was also indicated that the proven ore reserves had amounted to 578,600 tonnes at 2.08% U3O8. In addition to this proven ore reserve estimation it was also the probable ore reserves disclosed by underground development that amounted to 766,300 tons, and further probable reserves had also been indicated by diamond drilling that estimated 7,728,578 tons at 2.12% U3O8 per ton. Most of this had been done from gaining of greater knowledge of the continuity of the ore-body from mining in the area over the past two years. Experience which was gained at the time would only justify the inclusion in the ore reserve of ore below the present bottom level of the Mine and disclosed by early drill holes from surface, but not included previously in the published ore reserves for 1960.
Milling that was done throughout the operating year of 1959, would only achieve much higher production which amounted to 1,059,847 tonnes of ore that was treated. Milling operations during this time period were being conducted at a rate of 3,048 tons of ore per day. It was also the result of calculated head-grade that the uranium content had reach 2.08 lbs. per ton of U3O8. Some of the main improvements which were done towards milling operations had included the introduction of ammonia precipitation. Other tune ups were additionally made towards high density leaching, pebble grinding, and a much better ion exchange practice. This at the time had resulted in total recoveries of an estimated 2,204,481.76 lbs. of U3O8. By December, 31, 1959, it was reported that 3,169,600 lbs. of U3O8 was shipped from the Milliken Lake Uranium Mine Site to Eldorado Mining and Refining Limited. The increase in production rate had additionally been aimed at beating contract shipments of 9,143,300 lbs. of U3O8. The allowance that was given towards fulfilling shipments had all together improved the company's production, and the performance at the Milliken Lake Uranium Mine Site. Employment at this time would also amount to 848 men that were employed under the direction of M. A. Upham who was the mine manager.
Development would continue throughout the operating year of 1960, as the 276 South Raise was additionally driven a further 268 feet for a length of 1,312 feet on the 2,680-foot level. This had also been followed by development work that consisted of 3,742 feet of drifting, 2,489 feet of crosscutting, and 20,626 feet of raising. It was also by this time that the total development footage had amounted to 31,442 feet of drifting, 10,364 feet of crosscutting, and 85,501 feet of raising. Diamond drilling that was done had also consisted of 1,921 underground holes, totalling 25,149 feet in length. The main mine site at this time was place under a new corporate organization that had establish Rio Algom Uranium Mines, Ltd in 1960. The merge which had made this new corporation had included Algom Uranium Mines, Milliken Lake Uranium Mines, Northspan Uranium Mines, and Pronto Uranium Mines, Ltd. The total amount that was hoisted from the Milliken Lake Uranium Mine workings had also amounted to 1,065.220 tonnes of ore, in which 1,066,791 tons was milled, at an average of 3,083 tons per day. It was prior to this merge that the employment rate at the mine had significantly fallen to 609 employees as management was now under R. D. lord as General Manager, and Robert Olson as Mine Manager.
Production from the underground workings at the Milliken Mine were progressing rapidly as ore was being taken out from the Lacnor Mine ground. Most of this was achieved on the 2,600-foot level that would be serviced by the No. 276 South Service Raise. The No. 276 South Service Raise is rather inclined as it travels for a length of 1,852 feet towards the Lacnor Mine ground. Its main purpose was additionally aimed at accessing ore potential areas in order to maintain production standards at the Milliken Mine Site. Lateral development which was completed at this time had resulted in 7,119 feet of drifting, 55 feet of crosscutting, and 27,284 feet of raising. This would additionally bring the total development footage of the mine to 44,379 feet of drifting, 8,776 feet of crosscutting, and 135,048 feet of raising. Production that came from the No. 2 Production Shaft had amounted to 955,596 tonnes, in which 958,390 tons was milled at an average daily rate of 2,730 tons.
By 1963, the No. 276 South Service Raise was additionally place into production standards as ore was being mined on the Lacnor Uranium Mine Ground. It was by 1963, as the main No. 276 Service Raise was generally designed to have inclined for a total length of 1,852 feet. Development work which had followed included 3,493 feet of drifting, and 17,639 feet of raising. This at the time had additionally brought the total development footage to 47,872 feet of drifting, 8,776 feet of crosscutting, and 152,687 feet of raising. Diamond drilling that was commenced in 1963, had amounted to 1,622 underground drill holes, totalling 16,438 feet in length. From the time this mine had operated from January, 1 to December 31, 1963, it was reported that 862,884 tonnes of ore was additionally hoisted. Milling operations which were completed had also resulted in the treatment of 864,229 tons of ore that came from the Milliken Mine. Other practices were also being establish as a massive raise was driven from the Milliken Ground to the Lacnor Ground. This would additionally act as a way to conduct leaching in order to extract the uranium content through mine waters at the abandoned Lacnor workings which were bled off through the Milliken Mine, and the dissolved uranium was extracted through the leaching practice.
Mining along with milling would shortly after come to an end in 1964, as more workers were needed in Rio Algom Uranium Mine's Nordic Mine Project. It was during this time period that most of equipment was officially taken out from the underground workings. This would only become the end for the Milliken Lake Uranium Mine (Milliken) as mining and milling would only continue from January 1, to June 26, 1964, which resulted in the closure of the Milliken Mine on July, 1964. The only activity that was done during 1964, had resulted in the pumping of mine water for leaching purposes which were terminated by September, as it was found uneconomical for uranium extraction. The Milliken Mine was additionally serviced by two underground mining shafts that were sunk to 2,754 feet, and 2,720 feet in order to access these working by using track and trackless methods.