As the new mining ground became so promising for the two rookie prospectors, Beny Hollinger soon incorperated his own company which was known as the Hollinger Gold Mines Limited. Benny Holling was later approached by the Timmins Brothers in hopes of getting a business partnership with Benny Hollinger. They offered him cash and all the profit that came from their silver mining operations in Cobalt, Ontario Canada. by 1910, the three had officially infused all ownership towards the Hollinger Mining Claim. Even the mine was now being named after Benny Hollinger who discovered this mysterious gold vein. Him and his very own business partners had even became more famous when they had started construction phases of Timmins Ontario Canada. Much of this was underway because their wasnt any towns leading into this general area. All prospectors who journey into the Timmins area had mostly trecked and canoed in as the railway line wasnt finish yet. Shaft development by the Hollinger Gold Mines Limited had all started in 1910, when the centeral shaft was engineered to 800 feet. Another company shaft known as the Main shaft had soon started to claim some fame. As these shafts had started to become deeper within the ground they soon contributed seven underground levels. The very first level to become devloped was strongly known as the 100 foot section, while the next levels that followed suit became establish at 200, 300, 425, 550, 675, and 800 feet below the gound. As development and production contiune, the mine was now known for totalling 10,805 feet of underground lateral development. As the mine started to boom, so did all the surface structures when a 30 ton mill was designed followed by the rock crusher, and Steam Power House. Each of these structures we're known for being critical parts in running this magnitude gold mining operation. Full development of both shaft operations became fully completed by 1915, and production was now being put in place. After all it was the company who needed the gold in order to make revenue from this massive production business.
By 1911, another group of four shafts started to become apart of this massive mining empire that took production to the next level. The No. 9 shaft was the next major construction project to have taken place as it was now being sunk to a depth of 825 feet, while the No. 10 shaft was engineer to about 388 feet, and the No. 11 shaft had soon claimed its own fame when it was resting at 419 feet. Development of the finaly No.12 shaft was now being constructed to about 179 feet below the surface. Each shafts towards this production had also become developed at 100, 200, 300, 425, 550, 675, and the final level was establish at 800 feet. Even drifting and crosscutting became a massive part of this mining venture when it had now reached 9,634 feet of drifting and 3,820 feet of crosscuts. Mine production from this general zone had obtained 10,486 tons of extracted ore to be processed at the milling site. All mine development and production was known to be sub-contracted to another mining firm that went by the name of Acme Gold Mines Ltd. All development and production work was officially known to be finished by 1915.
Another mining zone to be put into production would end up hosting three more shafts towards the Hollinger Mine Site. Development of the No. 6 shaft was now known as the very first productive shaf to become operational within this mining zone. This shaft was also engineered to about 394 feet and contributed some levels towards its development. A few months later the company had also decided to start transforming this claim even more when the No. 7 shaft was officially born. Production of this shaft was strongly known for being sunken to a depth of 170 feet below the ground. Some mines levels had also accessed further ore deposit zones that we're being discovered by all the surface drilling which was taking place. Another mine shaft known as the No.8 shaft productionhad only obtained a small percentage towards it depth that was drilled and blasted to 45 feet. When the mine became further developed within the mning zone, it had soon contributed several different levels that we're known to be situated on the mines 55, 150, 250, and 379 feet. In addition this huge development had now constructed 435 feet of drifting and another 876 feet of crosscutting. This section was also known for being heavily sub-contracted by the Millerton Gold Mines Limited in 1911. Development of this whole mining section was also offically known for being completed by 1915.
The Great porcupine Fire of 1911 was one of the most devastating forest fires ever to strike the Ontario northland. Spring had come early that year, followed by an abnormally hot dry spell that lasted into the summer. This created ideal conditions for the ensuing disaster, in which a number of smaller fires converged.
Porcupine a community on the north side of Porcupine Lake, in the city of Timmins, Ontario, Canada, was the site of a huge Gold discovery in 1907. On July 11, 1911, when the Porcupine Gold Rush was at its height, a gale wind storm from the southwest whipped some small bush fires into flames. As the fire gained strength, it engulfed the tinder-dry forest, razing everything in its path.
The blaze formed a horseshoe-shaped front over 36 kilometres (22 mi) wide with flames shooting 30 metres (98 ft) into the air. It laid waste to about 200,000 hectares (over 494,000 acres) of forest and killed at least 70 people, though early reports indicated thousands.Many people were drowned as they fled into Porcupine Lake to escape the flames, while others suffocated to death under the mines. At one point, a car of dynamite stored at the railway station exploded, lashing the lake into waves 3 metres (nine feet) high. The exact number of dead is not known as the vast forest in the region contained an unknown number of prospectors at the time of the fire. Official counts list 73 dead, though it is estimated the actual toll could have been as high as 200.
Mining camps and the boomtowns of South Porcupine and Pottsville were destroyed; Golden City (now called Porcupine) and Porquis Junction were partially destroyed. The next day, the fire swept through the nearby town of Cochrane.
Communities throughout Ontario responded generously with aid. Because of the importance of the gold discoveries, very few people abandoned the mining camps and, remarkably, the area was rebuilt in a short period of time. One unexpected result of the fire was the creation of a fresh water spring where explosives had blown up. The aftermath of the disaster brought a renewed sense of purpose to the devastated communities. A monument erected at the Whitney Cemetery by the Toronto Board of Trade, commemorates the event and the victims.
Company officials who had owned and operated the Hollinger Gold Mine would end up making another mining zone section. After three years of being fully in operational mood, the company started to construct the last of its three shafts before ownership was given to another mining firm. Mine development on the Hollinger Mine Property had all started when company officials engineered the No.1 shaft to 110 feet. This major expansion developed two more shafts that became known as the No.2 and 3 shafts. The No.2 shaft at the time was known for going down to about 100 feet while the No.3 shaft claimed far more credit as it was resting at 624 feet. After two full years of running this section of the mine, the Hollinger Gold Mines Limited would end up selling the property to the Schumacher Gold Mines Ltd. All development and production was now being controled by this massive mining company that claimed all rights to this property in 1914. As development and production had continue the mine section had now 7,863 feet of lateral development. All of this was contributed by five producing levels that we're found on the shafts 100, 200, 300, 400 and 600 foot section. Company officials who had purchase the Hollinger Mine had now strarted further upgrades by developing a 150 ton milling facility from the previous 30 ton per a day compound. These newly establish mine owner had now become even more ferious when it came to production and making their own money back.
After two full years of working the milling facility from 1915 to 1918, the Schumacher Gold Mines Limited we're able to extract 28,182 ounces of gold and 4,194 ounces of silver that had valued at $564,984. All of this extracted ore was strongly known for being recovered from 112,124 tons of extracted rock.
Another historical change had soon followed when the legendary Hollinger Consolidated Gold Mines Ltd took over in 1922. These corperate individuals had now started on a whole new mining zone that would make several shafts come into production. In addition this had created over 300 miles of lateral work that came from eight newly designed shafts. Production however was mainly being focus on five shafts that we're commonly known as shafts No.19, 25, 26, and 27. Each of these newly developed structures had also been drilled to different feet. For example the No.19 shaft was sunken to 3,954 feet, while the No.25 shaft had claimed fame at 3,950 feet, and the No. 26 shaft was now resting at 3,063 feet below the surface, As the shafts became even more deeper within the ground, they had eventually also increased the mill compacity to about 8,000 tons per a day. But it never had went to that because it was only producing from 3,500 to 4000 tons of ore on a daily basis.
The existence the Mine Rescue program in Ontario is directly related to a mining disaster in Timmins eighty years ago this weekend. Some of the most basic workplace safety rules that many take for granted today, are also tied to that event which still ranks as one of the worst mining disasters in Canadian history. It all goes back to a cold February 10 morning in 1928, when 921 miners were at work in the numerous drifts, stopes and raises at the Hollinger Consolidated Gold Mine in Timmins. It was the largest gold mine in North America at the time. According to evidence from the inquest, it was around 9:30 that morning that smoke was first noticed by underground and surface workers alike. Mine officials were stunned. Conventional thinking at the time was that fires did not occur in hardrock metal mines, the way they occurred in "soft rock" such as coal mines. There were timbers in the mines, but the constant runoff of water made it unlikely for timbers to catch fire. What no one considered at that moment was that there was an open excavation, on the 550-foot level, in Stope 55A, just east of crosscut tunnel number 12. A stockpile of trash, sawdust, powder boxes, paraffin paper and lumber had been accumulating. Somehow that rubbish caught fire at about a quarter after nine that Friday morning. In later years experts would suspect it was some form of spontaneous combustion. The result was a slow smoldering fire that would prove deadly. As the trash burned, it created a grey-black smoke that began to roll along the tunnels. At 10 a.m. the first body was discovered and rushed to surface. At 10:15, another body was found. This was enough to send the men scrambling for the ladders and the shaft. Within three hours, hundreds of the miners got to surface and saved themselves. But not everyone could find their way to safety. There was no organized mine rescue or fire fighting program in place at the Hollinger, or any other hardrock mine in Ontario for that matter. It would take five days to put out the fire and find all the dead, but in the end 39 miners were dead, As a mining disaster in Ontario, it was unprecedented. Many of the men who were underground would never know what killed them. Experts later concluded it was carbon monoxide poisoning that killed all 39 men. The odorless and colorless gas was produced by the slow-burning trash. Fire fighting resources and expertise at the Hollinger were so bleak at the time that organized mine rescue teams from the coal mines of Pennsylvania were rushed to Timmins. The men and material from the U.S. Bureau of Mines were put aboard an express train which was then rushed to Timmins.
Rushed is a relative term, considering the steam locomotive pulling a few specially equipped cars had to roll through northern Pennsylvania, into New York state, cross the border at Niagara Falls, pick up provincial officials in Toronto and then chug north to Timmins. The trip took a day and a half. Upon arriving in Timmins, the American coal miners were able to put on their special gear, descend into the mine and get to work at putting out the fire.
As they began recovering the bodies, company officials were shocked to find that some of the miners had died while eating their lunch. Some of the dead were found with food still in their mouths. Company officials had no idea how quickly carbon monoxide could kill a man.
There was a huge public outcry over the loss of life. Within days, the Ontario government set up a royal commission through Ontario Mining Commissioner Judge T.E Godson to find out what happened and why. Godson made his recommendations in September of that year. He found that Hollinger Consolidated Gold Mines had not cast aside safety in favour of profits. What happened was an error of omission, Godson concluded. No one knew, or ever expected, a fire could, occur in a metal mine.
The report ordered that all accumulations of rubbish be removed from underground locations at least once a week. Both the manager and assistant mine manager at the Hollinger were reprimanded for not knowing there was an underground rubbish dump. The report also ordered that fire doors be set on different levels to allow miners to escape smoke situations. One of the key suggestions was to establish special rescue stations in every major mining community that would have specialized equipment and training so the rescue operations could be mounted.
The lessons learned from the Godson Commission are things that many miners take for granted today, but the manager of Ontario’s Mine Rescue program says the Hollinger disaster highlighted the need for serious safety changes in mining in Ontario. There were so many recommendations integrated into legislation because of the Hollinger fire. Perhaps the most notable event to occur after this event was the creation of a formal mine rescue program in Ontario one year after the fire. The first ever Ontario Mine Rescue station was established in Timmins in 1929. Ontario Mine Rescue is now recognized as being one of the best such organizations in the world. Another example is the fact that it is now against the law to store any garbage underground for more than a day.
"What they did back then was they used explosives boxes, and all the cardboard and that, they just threw it into open stopes with greasy rags and things like that, they just threw it all in there and that was the source of the fuel for the fire."
They didn’t know, at that point in time. It probably made sense … why bring all this stuff up from underground, the cost of bringing it out was so costly, so it wasn’t done."
He says another important ruling was that signs had to be posted throughout the mines.
"Miners today will see signs underground showing them fire exits. At that point in time one of the problems was that miners didn’t know where to go. They got lost in the smoke.
In the 1930s Hollinger Consolidated Gold Mines built 250 houses which were located in one area of the Town of Timmins. These houses remained in place right up until the late 1970s. The three room homes were designed and built identical to each other in every respect with the exception of the impregnated tar paper that covered them. Every second home was green with a red roof and the other was red with a green roof. The mine was so big by the 1960s it had almost 600 miles (970 km) of tunnels. Production from the Hollinger mine alone had soon extracted 19,354,483 ounces of gold and 4, 244, 946 ounces of silver. All of this extraction was processed through 65,890,358 tons of rock at the companies milling facility.
A small electrical fire was discovered in the 3,050-foot level station at No. 19 shaft of the Hollinger Mine on February 3 at about 9.00 A.M. by the cagetender when he made a routine stop at the level on an upward trip with the cage from the 3,950-foot level to the surface. When the cage arrived at the station level the cagetender observed a short piece of 2/0 rubbercovered, double-cotton braid cable, which was burning. This short piece of cable, about 30 inches in length, carries the 250-volt D.C- electric current from a single-pole, double-throw isolating switch to a 150-ampere trolley fuse cut-out. Both the switch and the cut-out are secured to the stationpost timbers and are placed high up on the posts close to the station captimbers. Shift Boss G. Jansen was riding on the cage. He pulled both poles of the double-throw isolating switch, and the fire was then extinguished with water from the fire-hose at the station. About ten minutes prior to his finding the burning cable the cage tender had made a routine stop at the station level on a downward trip, and at that time everything was normal at station level. No one was affected by the fire, and the damage to the cable consisted of a few inches of scorched braid. The electrical and porcelain parts of the cut-out were demolished by heat. The cause of the fire is presumed
to have been a loose connection in the cut-out, which caused the cut-out to heat to a point where it burned the electrical fixtures and caused the porcelain fixtures to crack and fall apart.
At about 6.00 P.M. on March 6, a fireman noticed smoke and flame issuing from the rubber-belt drive connecting an electrical 7.5 h.p., 550- volt A.C., 1,440 r.p.m. motor to No. l Hofft sawdust feeder in No. 11 shaft central heating-plant at the Hollinger mine. He stopped the motor and called the sawdust scraper operator on the buzzer system and instructed him to sound the fire-alarm signal on the company whistle, which is installed in the heating-plant building. He removed the burning rubber belt from the motor and stamped the fire out with his feet. He then instructed the sawdust scraper operator to sound the all-clear signal on the company whistle. The fire was caused by friction set up by the slipping of the belt on the pulleys of the motor and feeder shafts.
At 10.45 A.M. on October 20, a flash fire occurred when a burnerman and his helper were operating an acetylene torch in the car-repair shop on the 1,550-foot level of the Hollinger mine. At the start of the shift the workmen had used the acetylene torch to burn two holes in an apron for use at the tipple on the 1,850-foot level, After completing the job they disconnected the gauges on the tanks and replaced the caps on both the oxygen and the acetylene tanks before taking the apron to the 1,850-foot level. They arrived at the car repair shop on the 1,550-foot level at about 10.00 A.M. and continued to work on car repairs. Having opened the valves on the tanks, the burnerman opened the acetylene valve which fed to the torch and then operated the sparking flint to light the torch. As he did this the flame flashed back through the acetylene hose and set fire to the tank. The four safety valves on the tank blew out, releasing the pressure in the tank. The two men went to the surface and reported the fire. The plate shop foreman and a mechanic immediately went underground with the men to the scene of the fire, taking with them a Burrell All-Service gas mask. They extinguished the fire with water from a nearby water hose.
There was no flash back arrester on the acetylene cylinder. These are in general use on the surface but had not been used underground.