The C-Shaft headframe in Yellowknife, originally constructed in 1948, has been one of the most iconic images in the region. The headframe has been there for the entire lives of many local residents. It is a landmark that is displayed on t-shirts, stamps and in history books. However, the headframe is currently being dismantled as part of the Giant Mine remediation project that started in 2013. People have mixed feelings about the structure’s demise. Some feel it is like erasing part of their history while others believe that it’s time to move on.
Yellowknife’s C-Shaft headframe was used by workers for over 50 years for transportation up and down the mine shaft, which is about 640 meters deep. Safety concerns led to the decision to eliminate the C-Shaft headframe to enable early site stabilization for the remediation project.
Head Frames as Icons
The mining industry is an integral part of Canada’s history and distinctive headframes are highly visible in mining towns located in many regions of the country. The headframe is the most prominent part of a mine operation as it towers above everything else. It is symbolic of underground mining activity in locations around the world.
Head Frames and Mine Ore Skips
C-Shaft’s headframe housed the mechanisms required to operate the mine’s cage and skip. The use of mine skips in underground mining allows for the efficient transport of ore and waste materials to the surface. The C-Shaft headframe at Yellowknife facilitated the transport of 1500 to 2000 metric tons of ore per week. During the lifetime of C-Shaft, from 1948 to 2004, that ore yielded 7.1 million ounces of gold.
Each and every day, reliable, quality-built mining skips from manufacturers like Wabi Iron & Steel Corp. are still operating in mines across Canada to deliver the minerals needed to create the essential products we use in our daily lives.
Farewell, C-Shaft Headframe, Edge, October 28, 2015
Giant Mine headframe set for demolition this summer, CBC News