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Hon. Wm. Sloan, Minister.
R. F. Tolmus, Deputy Minister.       W. Fleet Robertson, Provincial Mineralogist.
Geo. Wilkinson, Chief Inspector of Mines.
BULLETIN NO. 2, 1919
Professor of Metallurgy,
McGill University.
Printed by William H. Ctillin, Printer to the King's Most Excellent Majesty,
Letter of Transmittal    5
Extracts from Correspondence   7
Account of the Investigation    8
Introduction to the Report    9
Electric Smelting of Iron Ore  11
Facilities for Electric Smelting in British Columbia   11
Iron Ores     11
Electric  Power  12
Charcoal and Coke for Reduction   12
Labour    13
Location for Smelting Plant   13
Market for Pig-iron  13
Foreign Competition  14
Arrangement with Dominion Government  14
Bounties and Taxes   14
Type of Furnace for Electric Iron-smelting  14
Cost of Production  16
Outline of Plant    16
Cost of Plant  16
Cost of Electric Smelting    16
Magnetic Concentration of Iron Ore  17
Auxiliary Industries  17
New Method of producing Electric-furnace Iron  18
General Considerations   19
Conclusions   20
Appendices containing in Detail the Collected Data and Discussions on which the
Report is based.
I. Markets for Pig-iron and Steel   ■  21
II. Supplies of Iron Ore   24
III. Magnetic Concentration of Iron Ore  35
IV. Electric Power for Smelting    36
V. Carbonaceous Reducing Materials  '. 43
VI. Supply of Electrodes   52
VII. Supply of Labour   53
VIII. Type of Furnace for Electric Smelting   55
IX. Design and Cost of Plant  62
X. Cost of making Pig-iron   68
XI. Report by Messrs. Beckman and Linden ,  75
XII. New Method of producing Electric Furnace Iron   82
XIIL ■ Auxiliary Industries     87  LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL.
The Honourable William Sloan,
Minister of Mines of the Province of British Columbia,
Victoria, .B.C.
Sik,—After preliminary correspondence in January and February of the present year,
I received a letter from Mr. Wm. Fleet Robertson, dated May 18th, in which he asked whether
I could make an investigation of the feasibility of smelting your magnetite ores in electric
furnaces, provided that certain information, such as the quantity, quality, and cost of the iron
ores available, were furnished to me. I replied by telegram and letter of May 26th, offering
to undertake the investigation, and received a telegram from Mr. Robertson, dated May 30th,
instructing me to proceed with the investigation.
Mr. Robertson's telegram was confirmed by a letter dated June 20th from the Provincial
Secretary, informing me that I had been appointed by His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor in
Council to carry out the investigation;   my appointment dating from June 5th.
I left Montreal on June Sth, reaching Victoria on June 10th, and devoted myself to the
inquiry from that date until July 13th, when I left Vancouver for Montreal. This time was
spent mostly in Victoria and Vancouver, but fourteen days were occupied in a visit to San
Francisco and Heroult, California, for the purpose of ascertaining the progress that had been
made in the electric smelting in that locality. I also visited Nanaimo, at your request, to
inspect a process for the production of charcoal.
A supply of cheap electric power is an essential condition for the electric smelting of iron
ores, and I made careful inquiries with regard to this. The power companies in Vancouver
were unable, during my visit, to give me definite information on this point, but I understood
that power could probably be provided at about $15 per electrical horse-power year; a price at
which it seemed possible that electric smelting could be undertaken commercially.
On this understanding I made a thorough investigation of the other elements of cost and
of the most efficient methods for smelting iron ores under the conditions existing in British
Columbia, and came to the conclusion that electric smelting would, be possible under these
On September 19th, when my report was nearing completion, I received a letter informing
me that the charges for electric power would be nearly twice the figure I had assumed in my
calculations. This change not only alters very greatly the cost of pig-iron obtained by electric
smelting, but has caused a radical alteration of the character of my report. Under this changed
condition the electric smelting of iron ores by existing methods is scarcely possible, and the
only remaining opening, unless cheaper power can be obtained, is by developing a new process,
which has lately come to my notice, and which appears to be more economical than the usual
methods of electric smelting. The possibility of the electric smelting of iron ores in British
Columbia, using power from the present sources of supply, would seem to depend on the
successful development of this new process.
I beg to submit herewith the report of my investigation.
I have the honour to be,
Tour obedient servant,
Alfbed Stansfield.
McGill University, Montreal, November 11th, 1918.  INTRODUCTORY.
Department of Mines,
Office of Provincial Mineralogist,
Victoria, B.C., May 18th, 1918.
Dr. Alfred Stansfield,
McGill University, Montreal, P.Q.
Dear Dr. Stansfield,—I am instructed by the Honourable the Minister of Mines, the
Hon. William Sloan, to say that at last matters have come round so that he can see his
way to go ahead with the investigation of the commercial feasibility of the smelting of our
magnetites in an electrical furnace, and he has asked me to find out if you are still open to
engagement for such purpose this summer.
His idea is that we can provide you with all requisite data as to quantity and quality of
ores available, costs of delivering same at any given point, all analyses of ores and fluxes, cost
of labour by day, etc., fuel, quality, and costs.
On this data, so provided you, you could base your calculations and conclusions, and your
responsibility would not extend back of the data so provided.
You would further not be required to go into the question of market. It seems to me that
this would greatly lessen the work expected of you and your responsibility, taking much less time.
If you are still open to make investigation, I would be obliged if you would telegraph the
Minister or myself to that effect. ... It would, of course, be very desirable that you came
out here and looked over the ground for yourself and indicated to us in advance just the data
you would require to be provided with.
I am,
Yours very truly,
(Signed.)    Wm. Fleet Robertson,
Provincial Mineralogist.
Department of Metallurgy,
McGill Dniversity, May 26th, 1918.
William Fleet Robertson, Esq.,
Provincial Mineralogist, Victoria, B.C.
Dear Mr. Robertson,—I am much obliged for your letter of the 18th, which reached me on
Saturday morning, the 25th I consider that on the basis outlined in your letter I could
make a satisfactory report to the Government on the feasibility of smelting the British Columbia
magnetites in electrical furnaces.    .    .    .
I expect to be in New York on June 1st, but I could leave Montreal for the West on the
3rd, and suppose that I should go in the first place to Victoria to confer with yourself and others
having information bearing on the subject, to collect all the information available at that point
and perhaps to visit some probable location for the smelter.
I have been making inquiries with re'gard to the progress of the electric smelting of iron
ores by the Noble Electric Steel Company at Heroult, California, and learn that this has been
given up and that the plant is now used for the production of ferro alloys. I am informed that
the smelting of iron ores in California has never been commercially successful, due to unsatisfactory commercial conditions. In view of this, it appears to me that most valuable information
could be gained if the Government could obtain permission for me to visit and inspect the plant,
and to discuss with the management the reasons which led to their want of success.   .   .' .
In a general way I can state in advance:—
(1.) It is unlikely that the electric furnace can he operated in British Columbia, under
pormal conditions, in competition with the blast-furnace for the production of tonnage iron. (2.) Conditionally on there being available a sufficient amount of cheap electric power, pure
iron ore and charcoal, a moderate output of high-grade iron could probably be made at a profit
under normal conditions.
(3.)  Under present prices it is possible that ordinary grades of iron could be made at a profit.
It may therefore be that a plant could be started to produce the various grades of iron needed
at present, and that later, when the price of iron comes down again, the whole production could
be put into special-quality iron.
I may add that I have learned recently of a new process which may have an important effect
on the electric smelting of iron ores.   .   .   .
I remain,
Yours very truly,
(Signed.)    Alfred Stansfield.
On my arrival in Victoria on June 10th, I was met by Mr. Wm. Fleet Robertson, and on the
following day I had an interview with yourself with regard to the scope of the investigation.
While in Victoria Mr. Robertson and Mr. William Brewer furnished me with information for
my report, chiefly with regard to the amount and nature of the available deposits of iron ore,
and the probable cost of miniug these ores and shipping them to a point at which a smelter
could be located. Mr. Robertson also obtained for me a memorandum from the Department of
Labour with regard to the supply, nature, and cost of labour in British Columbia. I have
consulted Mr. Robertson with regard to the greater part of the investigation, and he has assisted
me throughout in obtaining the information needed for my report.
■ With respect to the supply of electrical power, I had interviews with Mr. J. F. Halls,
Mr. Eastman, and other officials of the British Columbia Electric Railway Company in Victoria,
and later, in Vancouver, with Mr. George Kidd, General Manager of this company, and Mr. R. F.
Hayward, General Manager of the Western Electric Power Company of Canada. I also met
Mr. J. M. Savage and Mr. Thomas Graham, of the Canadian Collieries, Limited, with regard to
electric power at Comox. Before leaving the Coast I consulted Mr. William Young, Comptroller
of Water Rights, and Mr. H. K. Dutcher, of Vancouver, with regard to undeveloped water-powers
of British Columbia and the cost of obtaining from them a supply of electric power for smelting.
In Vancouver I met Mr. Giles, General Manager of the Vancouver Engineering Works, and
discussed with him the requirements of the district in respect of pig-iron and steel. I attended
a meeting of the Vancouver Metal Trades Association, and met Mr. A. B. Weeks, General Manager
of the Canadian North-west Steel Company, Mr. G. G. Bushby, and Mr. J. Hart, the Secretary
of the Metal Trades Association. I called upon and corresponded with Mr. Nichol Thompson
with regard to the supply of iron ores and coal and the local markets for pig-iron and steel.
I had an interview with Mr. Murray, of Messrs. Evans, Coleman & Evans, in regard to the
consumption and price of pig-iron and steel in Vancouver and district.
I met Mr. R. H. Tudhope, Mr. G. R. Grant, and Mr. Renton, of the Turnbull & Tudhope
Engineering Syndicate, and visited their plant at Port Moody, where pig-iron was being made
from steel scrap in an electric furnace. I obtained from these gentlemen valuable information
•in regard to the operation of electric furnaces in the district, and have also corresponded with
Mr. Turnbull on this subject.
With a view to obtaining a supply of charcoal, I had interviews with Dr. J! R. Davidson,
of the University of British Columbia, and visited with him a Vancouver sawmill and the
charcoal plant of the Electric Turpentine Syndicate. I also interviewed Mr. AValter Thomas
and his partner in Vancouver in regard to his processes for making charcoal, and visited, with
Mr. Thomas and Mr. Brewer, the experimental plant at Nanaimo, where Mr. Thomas's process
for coking coals has been tested. I also consulted Mr. Tudhope, Mr. Grant, and Mr. Herbert
Carmichael in regard to the production of charcoal. While in Victoria I called on Mr. L. B.
Beale, of the Forestry Department, with reference to the supply of timber for charcoal-making,
and since returning to Montreal I have obtained information and other assistance from Dr. Bates,
Superintendent of the Forest Products Laboratories, and have myself prepared some charcoal
from a sample of Douglas fir. 9 Geo. 5 Introductory. > L 9
I visited San Francisco in order to meet the Noble Electric Steel Company. I saw Mr. H. H.
Noble, the President, and also Mr. W. H. French, the Vice-President, with whom I visited the
company's plant at Heroult, in Shasta County. While in San Francisco I met Mr. J. W. Beckman
and Mr. H. E. Linden, of the Beckman & Linden Engineering Corporation, and visited an electric-
smelting plant at Bay Point, California, which has been erected and operated by that corporation
for the Pacific Electro Metals Company. Messrs. Beckman and Linden have supplied me with
an estimate of the cost.of constructing and operating a similar plant arranged for the electric
smelting of iron ores.
The B. L. Thane Construction Company, of San Francisco, have made a very extensive
investigation of the supplies of iron ore and coking-coal on the Pacific Coast with a view to the
establishment of a large iron and steel plant. Mr. Thane and Mr. F. B. Hyder very generously
put at my disposal a large amount of information on this subject. I am also indebted to Mr.
T. A. Rlckard, Editor of the Mining and Scientific Press, and to Dr. L. H. Duschak, of the
United States Bureau of Mines, whom I met in Berkeley, California, and to Mr. W. van Winkle,
of San Francisco, for important help in my inquiry. While at Heroult I met Dr. Trood and
Mr. W. A. Darrah and learned of their work on the reduction of iron ores.
Mr. R. H. Stewart, of Vancouver,' helped me in regard to the engineering aspects of the
report and furnished me with certain cost data in respect to the construction of an electric
smelting plant in British Columbia. I am indebted to Professor E. T. Hodge, of the University
of British Columbia, and to Mr. E. A. Haggan, Editor of the Engineering and Mining Record,
for assistance in my inquiry.
In San Francisco I met Mr. Davis and Mr. M. H. Schnapp, of the General Electric Company.
In Vancouver I met Mr. H. Pirn, Manager of the Vancouver office of the Canadian General
Electric Company, and I have corresponded with their head office in regard to electrical
I wish to express my indebtedness to all the gentlemen named above as well as to some
others who have helped me in obtaining the very varied lines of information that are essential
for the preparation of even a preliminary report on so complex and difficult a subject.
After concluding my investigation on the Coast, I left Vancouver on July 13th, arriving in
Montreal on the 18th.    Since that time I have been occupied with the preparation of my report.
While in British Columbia I endeavoured to obtain from the power companies some definite
assurance with regard to the price at which power could be supplied to an electric-smelting
plant. It was not, however, until September 19th, when my report was nearing completion, that
I received a letter containing the terms on which power could be obtained.
The object of this investigation and report is to determine the commercial feasibility of
smelting electrically the magnetite ores of British Columbia.
For this purpose I obtained information with regard to the supply of iron ores, electrical
power, charcoal, labour, and other necessaries.
Early in the investigation it appeared that electric power might be obtained at such a price
that electric smelting by the methods now in use would be commercially possible. I therefore
investigated and discussed carefully the type of furnace and design of plant that would best
suit the local requirements, and prepared estimates for the cost of suGh a plant and of making
pig-iron on a scale determined by the present requirements of the Province. It now appears
that electric power cannot, at present, be obtained at prices that will permit of the use of the
usual electric smelting methods; but I am presenting the results of my investigation along these
lines because they are needed to show that the process described would be too costly with power
at this higher price, and because it is possible that, in the future, power may be available at a
lower price, which would then permit of operations being undertaken.
In view of the very high price asked for electric power, I have paid special attention to a
new process for producing electric furnace iron which offers possibilities of a decided economy
as compared with standard methods. I have presented the available information and made
estimates of the cost at which iron may possibly be smelted by these means. L 10 Bureau of Mines. 1919
The whole investigation is necessarily very extensive, and it is a matter of some difficulty
even to present the results in a clear and simple manner, especially as each conclusion arrived
at is dependent on a number of factors which cannot be stated in a few words, and many of
which are liable to change. The information obtained is set forth and discussed in detail in a
number of Appendices; while the conclusions arrived at are presented as concisely as possible
in the following report. ELECTRIC SMELTING OF IRON ORE.
This has passed the experimental stage and is in operation commercially on a large scale
in Sweden and elsewhere. The product of this operation is a special quality of high-grade iron
which commands a higher price than ordinary blast-furnace iron, and the cost of production
is in general too high to allow of competition at equal prices with the blast-furnace product.
Carbonaceous material is needed, even in electric furnaces, for reducing the iron ore to metal,
and for this purpose charcoal is preferable and is generally used. The electric furnace that has
been adopted for the commercial smelting of pig-iron is that of Messrs. Electro-Metals, Limited,
of Sweden, which may be regarded as the standard. The pig-iron normally produced from this
furnace, although unusually pure and commanding a high price, is a white or low-silicon iron,
unsuitable for use in the iron-foundry. The officials of the Swedish company consider that a
foundry iron can be made by these furnaces, though at a somewhat higher cost, but I have no
evidence that this has been accomplished in regular commercial practice, and the Noble Electric
Steel Company, which smelted iron ores electrically for several years at Heroult, in California,
was obliged to adopt a different type of furnace for the production of foundry iron. I consider,
however, that the Electro-Metals furnace could be used for this purpose because any low-silicon
iron could be made suitable for foundry use by additions of ferro-silicon; but considerations
which will determine the best type of furnace for use in British Columbia are given later in
the report.
The essential conditions for the electric smelting of iron ores on a commercial scale are:
A supply of high-grade ores at a reasonable price, an ample supply of cheap electric power, a
supply of charcoal or other fuel at a moderate price, a supply of labour at a moderate price,
a suitable location for the smelting plant, and a sufficient market for the resulting iron at a
rather high price. The situation in British Columbia may be considered under these separate
heads as follows :—
Iron Ores.
The information furnished to me by your officials shows that the iron-ore deposits of the
Province have not been opened up to any extent, but that it is safe to assume that adequate
supplies of ore of reasonable richness and purity can be obtained at easily accessible points.
These ores are chiefly magnetites, and on this account are undesirable for use in the blast-furnace
except in admixture with other ores; magnetites are, however, quite suitable for treatment in
the electric furnace. It appears that the ores are not of very high grade, but that a supply may
be expected to contain from 50 to 55 per cent, of iron. The ores are practically free from phosphorus and titanium, and the proportion of sulphur can probably be kept as low as 0.1 per cent.
The ores under consideration are also practically free from copper. Your officials estimate that
a supply of 50,000 tons per annum of ore of this grade can be delivered at a suitable smelter-site
at a cost, under present conditions, of about $4 per net ton, which would be made up as follows :—
Mining   $1.50 to §2.00
Loading or tramming 15 to      .25
Freight  (by water)        1.00 to    1.50
Unloading         25 cents
Royalty to owner*         50 cents
Total cost at smelter    $3.96 to $4.10
From the information at my disposal, I feel satisfied that these ores can be smelted
electrically for the production of a high-grade pig-iron.    For the production of one long tonf
* Using a royalty in this estimate removes the neerl of considering the purchase of an iron-mine.
t Long and Short Tons.—Pig-iron is sold by the long or gross ton of 2,240 lb. not only in England
and Canada, but in the United States, and I have conformed with this custom in my report. The
supplies needed for smelting, such as iron ore, charcoal, coal, and coke, are sold in British Columbia
by the short or net ton of 2,000 lb., and the use of this dual system has necessarily complicated the
calculations in this report. The situation is further complicated because, in Government reports, pig-iron
is estimated by the short ton, and in regard to pig-iron quotations in British Columbia it is sometimes
difficult to say which ton is intended. In Sweden a more consistent system is followed, as the pig-iron
and all the necessary supplies are measured by the metric ton of 1,000 kilograms, or 2,204 lb. This ton,
which may be assumed in all statements of the Electro-Metals Company of that country, can be taken
without serious error to be the same as the long ton. L 12 Bureau of Mines. 1919
of pig-iron about 2 net tons of 55-per-cent. ore would be needed, so that the ore would cost $8
per long ton of pig-iron. In view of the somewhat low grade of the ore, the cost of smelting
per ton of product will be rather higher than is usual with the Swedish ores, but this may
perhaps be remedied by the use of magnetic concentration.
Electric Power.
British Columbia is well provided with water-powers, and many of these can be developed
cheaply for the use of electric-smelting and similar industries. Competent engineers have
assured me that some of these powers in accessible locations can be developed at such a cost
as to yield a continuous electrical horse-power for smelting at a cost of $10 per annum. This
figure is not much higher than obtains in Sweden, and if a dependable supply of power can be
secured at this rate it seems almost certain that an electric-smelting industry can be undertaken
profitably. The consumption of power, under conditions obtaining in British Columbia, would be
between 0.4 and 0.5 of a horse-power year per ton of iron produced; so that the cost for power
should be between $4 and $5 per long ton of pig-iron. Some 8,000 or 9,000 horse-power would be
needed for a daily production of 50 tons of pig-iron.
In view of the desirability of producing pig-iron at the earliest possible time, and of the
difficulty and expense attending the development of water-powers under present conditions, it is
highly desirable, if not imperative, that an electric-smelting industry shall be supplied, in the
first place, from powers that are already developed. The British Columbia Electric Railway
Company has surplus power which might be employed for this purpose, and I gathered from
the officials of this company that they could possibly supply such power at $15 per horse-power
year, a charge which appeared to me to be the highest that the industry could support. Under
these conditions the cost for power per ton of pig-iron would be between $6 and $7.50.
Since returning to Montreal I have received a letter, dated September 12th, from the general
manager of this company, informing me that conditions have changed since my visit, and that
they would now have to charge higher rates. They would be willing to make short-term contracts
for from 2,000 kw. to 10,000 kw. of electric power in Vancouver District for restricted service
during the peak-load periods at a rate of 0.5 cent per kilowatt-hour. This charge would amount
in effect to at least $27.80 per horse-power year and would represent a charge of from $11 to
$14 per ton of iron. They would also offer 2,000 kw. of power on Vancouver Island at $15 per
horse-power year for a short term and subject to peak-load restriction. The proposed charge in
Vancouver is, I believe, altogether too high to allow of the commercial production of pig-iron
by present methods, except perhaps on a small scale as a temporary operation to take advantage
of the present high price of pig-iron. The supply on Vancouver Island, besides its uncertainty,
is too small to permit of profitable operation.
Charcoal and Coke fob Reduction.
For the electric smelting of iron ores a supply of carbonaceous material is needed for
reducing the iron ore to metal. For this purpose charcoal is generally used, although coke is
employed to some extent. Charcoal is preferable to coke on account of its greater purity, as a
higher grade of pig-iron can be obtained by.its use. The use of charcoal is more satisfactory
also from an operating point of view, and the consumption of power is greater when coke is
employed; a proportion of coke can, however, be used without difficulty in admixture with
charcoal. The consumption of charcoal varies with the grade of iron required, and the type
of furnace employed, from about 0.4 to 0.5 net tons of charcoal per long ton of pig-iron, so that
20 or 25 tons of charcoal would be needed daily for an output of 50 tons of pig.
In the Coast districts of British Columbia there is an abundant supply of timber from which
charcoal can be made suitable for use in electric smelting. At present there is no considerable
charcoal industry, and the small quantities now obtainable cost as much as $30 per ton, a figure
which would be prohibitive for the electric smelting of iron ores. In view, however, of the large
amount of waste wood produced at some of the large sawmills, it appears reasonable to suppose
that a well-designed charring plant can be erected that would utilize this waste material and
deliver charcoal to the smelter at a cost of from $6 to $8 per net ton; estimated on the following
basis:— 9 Geo. 5 Electric Smelting of Iron Ore. L 13
2y2 cords of Douglas fir mill-waste    $2 50
Cost of charring, less returns for by-products      2 50
Carriage of charcoal to smelter :     1 00
Total      $6 00
The charge per ton of iron would thus be between $2.40 and $4.
With regard to the method to be employed, it may be stated briefly that the Douglas
fir, which would probably constitute the staple supply for charcoal-making, does not furnish
by-products of suitable quality and quantity to warrant the use of elaborate methods for their
recovery- Charcoal should therefore be made in large kilns, or in some appliance which might
be devised to char the wood-waste with the minimum amount of hand-labour; in either case a
partial recovery of by-products could be made at a moderate expense.
It does not appear that coke can be produced from British Columbia coals at a price that
would be as low as that of charcoal; and unless the coke was decidedly the cheaper per ton it
would be more economical to use charcoal. Coke breeze, however, can probably be obtained for
a very nominal charge, and can be used in admixture with charcoal in cases where extreme
purity of the pig-iron is not desired.
The Department of Labour has furnished me with a statement of the supply, nature, and
cost of labour in British Columbia, from which it appears that labourers' are fairly plentiful
and receive nearly $4 a day, and that most skilled men are scarce at about $6 a day. The cost
of labour per ton of product will depend very largely on the size and output of the plant and
the nature of its equipment; but it appears that in a fully equipped plant making about 50 tons
of pig-iron daily, besides steel and ferro-alloys, the cost of labour might be from $4 to $5 per ton
of iron; although in the initial stages the labour cost would certainly be higher, perhaps in
the order of $7 per ton of iron. The manner in which these figures are arrived at is stated
in the Appendices.
Location for Smelting Plant.
,A plant for the electric smelting of iron ores should be conveniently situated with respect
to the supplies of ore, charcoal, and other requirements; it should also permit of cheap delivery
of the iron and other products to market. The plant must be placed as close as is convenient
to the source of electric power, so as to lessen the cost of transmission. When a satisfactory
supply of power has been secured, it will doubtless be possible to obtain a smelter-site within a
reasonable distance of the power-station and located on tide-water, so as to provide for cheap
delivery of supplies and products. A plant located near a centre of population, such as Vancouver, would have advantages with respect to labour and general supplies and nearness to
markets, but the provision of an adequate and cheap supply of electric power, iron ore, and
charcoal should be the determining consideration.
Market for Pig-iron.
For the purpose of this report I have limited my investigation to the market in British
Columbia itself, though a moderate export market may be developed later. The present consumption of pig-iron is only about 10 tons daily, but it appears that the consumption has been
seriously limited by the extremely high prices now ruling, and that if a supply of iron becomes
available at a moderate price a consumption of 20 or 30 tons may be expected. This amount is
too small to permit of economical operation, and I would therefore recommend, if a suitable
supply of electric power can be obtained, that a plant be constructed to produce, say, 25 tons
daily of foundry iron for sale and a further 25 or 30 tons of low-silicon iron for conversion into
steel. I have not investigated the market for steel in any detail, but apparently a sufficient
market for this product could be found.
The prices of foundry iron in Vancouver have varied recently from about $60 to $80 per
long ton. Before the war the price was around $25. It seems unlikely that the price for good
foundry iron will fall much below $35 a long ton during the next few years. In most localities
electric smelting depends for its commercial possibility on obtaining for its product a higher
price than that of ordinary foundry iron.    I find that at present there is scarcely any demand L 14 Bureau of Mines. 1919
in British Columbia for such special grades of iron, but there can be no doubt that they will be
needed in the future, as the iron and steel industry develops.
Foreign Competition.
The market prices already mentioned as obtaining in British Columbia are based on the
present sources of supply from Eastern points in Canada and the United States. It is possible
that an iron blast-furnace plant may be established on the Pacific Coast of the United States,
and the effect of this on the market in British Columbia must be considered. It appears that
pig-iron could be made in such a plant at a cost of about $25 per long ton under present
conditions. The duty on pig-iron entering Canada from the States is $2.80 per long ton plus
7% per cent, ad valorem, which at a sale price of $30 per ton would amount to $2.25 per long
ton, or a total charge of about $5. This duty, together with the freight charge and the Canadian
bounty, would place the electric-furnace iron, if made with $15 power,- on an equality with
imported blast-furnace iron. This would not hold, however, in the case of iron imported for
war-work, as this is duty free, and after the war the duty of 7% per cent, ad valorem will no
doubt be removed. In this connection it may be added that a large iron and steel plant can
scarcely be built until some years after the war, so that an electric-furnace plant, if constructed
promptly, would command the market for a number of years. Ultimately, Mast-furnace iron
may be expected to take a part at least of the market for common grades of iron, but the electric
furnace should always be able to command a small market for its higher grade of iron.
Arrangement with the Dominion Government.
A deputation from British Columbia went to Ottawa early in the present year, seeking for
aid to develop an iron industry in British Columbia.. In answer to their request, the Dominion
Government undertook for a period of years to purchase, if necessary, at market prices, the
whole output of a plant making pig-iron in British Columbia. Your Department was unable at
the time of my visit to give me the exact text and meaning of the arrangement, but was to
obtain further information from Ottawa. This agreement will no doubt apply equally to electric-
furnace iron, but it does not appear to me that it is likely to help matters materially, for the
following reasons :—■
(1.) The offer is obviously of no use if the price referred to is that obtaining in Eastern
Canada, as iron could not be made at that price.
(2.) If the price intended is the local price in British Columbia, we are met with the
difficulty that the Government's ability to carry out the undertaking would be limited to the
local demand for iron, as it would be impossible for it to buy expensive iron in British Columbia
and ship it to lower-priced markets elsewhere. We are thus limited to the natural market for
iron and steel in British Columbia and to possibilities for exportation on a small scale.
Bounties and Taxes.
The Provincial Government has offered a bounty of $3 per net ton of pig-iron made in British
Columbia from local ores, and, on the other hand, imposes a tax of 37% cents per net ton of iron
ore mined. The combined effect of these measures will be a payment of about $2.60 per gross
ton of pig-iron; a source of income which will be of some importance, and may sometimes make
the difference between operating at a loss and at a profit.
A point of considerable importance to this investigation is the determination of the most
suitable type of electric furnace. This is important not only for the guidance of those who may
undertake the establishment of an electric-smelting plant in British Columbia, but also in order
to arrive at reasonably accurate figures for the cost of the plant and the cost per ton of the
products.    In outline the situation is substantially as follows:—
(1.) In Sweden the firm of Electro-Metals (of Ludvika and London) has developed a type
of electric-smelting furnace which has proved very satisfactory for the production of low-silicon
pig-iron from the Swedish ores. There are now seventeen of these furnaces at work in Sweden,
ranging in size from 2,000 kw. to 5,000 kw., and a few in Norway, Switzerland, and Japan.
This is, as far as I am aware, the only type of electric furnace that has ever attained commercial
success in the production of pig-iron from iron ores. 9 Geo. 5 Electric Smelting of Iron Ore. L 15
The furnace is circular in plan and is provided with a tall stack, in which the ore is preheated and partially reduced before it enters the smelting-chamber. This reduction of the ore
is aided by a mechanical circulation of the furnace gases, which are withdrawn from the top of
the shaft, freed from dust, and then blown through tuyeres into the smelting-chamber above the
ore. The gases become heated at this point, and passing up the shaft they heat and reduce
the ore. The circulation of the gases also serves to cool and protect the arch of the smelting-
chamber, but, on the other hand, it increases slightly the consumption of the electrodes.
On account of these special features the Electro-Metals furnace uses somewhat less charcoal
than a simpler type of furnace, a difference of, say, one-tenth ton per ton of pig-iron, and it is
believed to use less power. The saving in charcoal is probably more than offset by the need of a
better quality of charcoal, which is rendered necessary by the use of a tall shaft. It must be
noted, however, that the usual product of the Electro-Metals furnace is a white pig-iron suitable
for chilled castings or for steel-making, while the need in British Columbia would be largely for a
foundry iron. There does not appear to be any evidence that the Swedish furnaces have been
used regularly for the production of foundry iron, and there seems to be some doubt regarding
their suitability for this purpose.
(2.) An independent development of electric iron-smelting took place at Heroult, Shasta
County, California, where a deposit of very pure magnetite has been smelted electrically by the
Noble Electric Steel Company for the production of foundry iron. Operations were started in
1907 by the late Dr. Heroult, who built a simple rectangular furnace having an arched roof, and
ore-chutes in which the charge could be preheated. As this furnace did not prove satisfactory,
a shaft-furnace of the Swedish type was tried. This was also unsatisfactory, and the management reverted to the rectangular type with arched roof and with charging-chutes, in which,
however, the ore was not preheated. It was claimed at the time (1913) that success had been
obtained with this furnace, but nothing further was published about it, and I find that its use
was discontinued about four years ago. The plant is at present employed solely for the production of ferro-alloys, because the price now charged for electric power, the cost of charcoal, and
. the cost of transportation are all so high as to render impossible the commercial production of
pig-iron. I am of the opinion that we cannot accept the work at Heroult as an argument for
or against the type of furnace that was used there.
(3.) Another furnace of the closed rectangular type was devised by Helfenstein for the
production of calcium carbide and ferro-silicon. A Helfenstein furnace for smelting iron ores
was being tried at Domnarfvet, in Sweden, at the time of my visit in 1914. At that time the
management was unwilling to give any information about its operation. An account published
a year or two later stated that this furnace was working satisfactorily, but Messrs. Electro-Metals
now inform me that " the furnace was found quite useless and has been pulled out."
(4.) For the production of ferro-silicon, ferro-manganese, and calcium carbide a simple
rectangular open-topped furnace has been deyeloped, and is in use at .many places. In this
furnace no attempt is made to preheat the ore. and the gases produced in the furnace escape
and are lost, besides creating a nuisance by burning above the furnace. On the other hand,
the furnace is easy to build, simple to operate, and is probably not far inferior to the Swedish
furnace in commercial efficiency. I am not aware that this furnace has been used commercially
for making pig iron, but there can be no doubt that pig iron of any desired variety could be made
. in it. The Beckman and Linden Engineering Corporation of San Francisco, who are using it for
ferro-manganese, consider that it would be preferable to the Swedish furnace for making pig
iron, and that it would be little if any inferior in point of economy.
Conclusions.— (1.) If a permanent smelting plant were being erected, the Swedish type of
furnace would be selected, because it is more economical than any other at present in use, and
is the only one that has been employed commercially.
(2.) If a temporary plant is contemplated, it may be better to install the open-pit furnace,
on account of its smaller first cost and the ease with which it could be converted to other uses.
(3.) Information should be obtained with regard to the iron-ore reduction process of Trood
and Darrah, as this may prove superior to any direct smelting process. If this process is likely
to be available, it will be best in the meantime to use a simple pit-furnace rather than to install
the more elaborate Swedish furnace.
Further particulars in regard to the two types of furnace will be found in Appendix VIII. L 16 Bureau of Mines. 1919
In order to arrive at an approximate estimate of the cost of smelting iron ores, it is necessary,
in the first place, to decide upon the scale, of operation. In view of the local market and other
considerations, which I discuss elsewhere, I suggest the following equipment as being suitable
for an electric-smelting plant in British Columbia, providing that the usual electric-smelting
methods are adopted :—■
Outline of Plant.
One electric-smelting furnace of 3,000 kw., making daily about 25 tons of foundry iron for
One electric-smelting furnace of 3,000 kw., making about 30 tons" of low-silicon iron for
conversion into steel.
Three electric furnaces of 300 kw. each, making together about 3 tons of ferro-alloys.
Two electric steel furnaces of 1,500 kw. each, making together about 50 tons of steel.
Steel foundry and rolling-mill using 50 tons of steel daily.
Cost of Plant.
The design and cost of such a plant is discussed in the Appendix. As, however, it would be
very difficult to use so complicated a plant as a basis for estimating cost of making pig-iron,
I shall consider for this purpose a plant of about equal size devoted entirely to the production
of foundry iron. In so doing I am making the assumption, which will not be very far wrong,
that the cost of making pig-iron in the simple plant will afford a fairly correct idea of the cost
of making it in the complex plant, outlined above, which would be suited to the local requirements.
The simple plant, assumed for purposes of calculation only, would consist of three electric-
smelting furnaces of 3,000 kw. each, producing altogether about 80 tons of pig-iron daily.
The cost of such a plant and of smelting iron in it will depend on the type of furnace
employed. The most economical furnace, as far as my information goes, is that of the Electro-
Metals Company, and I give in the first place an estimate based upon its use.
An electric iron-smelting plant of this type, containing three 3,000 kw. furnaces, would cost
from $350,000 to $400,000 to erect in British Columbia (details are given in the Appendix), and
should have a production of 27,000 long tons of foundry iron per annum.
Cost of Electric Smelting.
The cost of making a long ton of foundry pig-iron in such a plant would be estimated as
follows, assuming that power can be obtained at $15 per horse-power year:—
Smelting in Stcedish Furnace with $15 Power.
Iron ore, 2 net tons at $4   $ 8 00
Electric power, 0.45 horse-power year at $15   6 75
Charcoal, 0.4 net tons at $S  .♦  3 20
Electrodes, 15 lb. at 8 cents  '  1 20
Repairs and maintenance   1 00
Labour '  4 50
Management  2 00
Interest, 6 per cent. »on total capital, and depreciation, 10 per cent, on
cost of plant     2 60
Royalty to Electro-Metals Company  50
Total  >  $29 75
If power could be obtained at $10 per horse-power year, the charge for this item would be
$4.50 and the total cost of a ton of pig-iron would be $27.50.
If power were to cost 0.5 cent per kilowatt-hour, the charge for power would be about
$12.50 and the total cost of a ton of pig-iron would be $35.50.
In regard to these figures, it should be stated that the Electro-Metals furnace is a somewhat
elaborate appliance, and that a plant with furnaces of this type should not be constructed unless 9 Geo. 5 Electric Smelting of Iron Ore. L 17
a permanent supply of cheap power can be assured. This is not so much because of the cost
of construction, which may not be much more per ton of yearly product than that of a plant
with the simplest type of furnace, but because the furnace, and the building containing it, are
entirely specialized, and would be of no use for any other purpose. If for any reason it should
be decided to erect a plant with an expensive or a temporary source of power, it would be
desirable to arrange for a plant of the type in use for making ferro-alloys, as the furnace, and
plant generally, could readily be converted to other purposes if at any time it became inadvisable
to make pig-iron. With this simpler type of furnace the cost of making pig-iron would probably
be about $5 higher per ton than the above estimates; thus the cost of a ton of pig-iron would
be $35 per ton if power costs $15 per horse-power year, and would be more than $40 per ton
with power costing 0.5 cent per kilowatt-hour.
The following table will give an idea of the distribution of costs under these conditions:—
Smelting in Simple Furnace with 0.5-cent Potver.
Iron ore, 2 tons at $4 per ton   $ 8 00
Electric power, 0.5 horse-power year at $27.S0  13 90
Charcoal, 0.5 ton at $6 per ton  3 00
Electrodes, 20 lb. at 8 cents per pound  1 60
Repairs and maintenance   1 00
Labour  6 00
Plant and general office expenses  4 00
Interest and depreciation  3 00
Total  !   $40 50
The prices obtained for pig-iron in British Columbia during the last year or two have been
considerably higher than thisrbut it does not seem safe to count on a price of more than about
$35 a ton during the next few years, so that making iron under these conditions would appear
to be out of the question.
As the cost of smelting iron ore is greater per ton of the product with poor ores than with
rich ores, and as the ores in British Columbia are only expected to contain 50 to 55 per cent,
of iron, with about 23 to 30 per cent, of gangue, it is worth considering whether it will pay to
concentrate the ore preparatory to smelting.
Until adequate samples of the ores have been obtained, analysed, and submitted to magnetic
concentration, it is impossible to discuss this subject except in general terms.
(1.) If the ore is of such a. nature that after breaking down to a size of about 1 inch the
ore can be concentrated magnetically so as to reject a large part of the gangue, it will usually
pay to do this before smelting.
(2.) If the ore is so firmly grained that it is necessary to crush it to a sand before magnetic
dressing, there will be involved the cost of the fine crushing and also the cost of briquetting or
sintering the concentrates to make them suitable for smelting.
(3.) In the case of an ore that does not contain over 50 per cent, of iron, if the ore lends
itself readily to magnetic concentration so that very fine grinding is unnecessary and a clean
separation can be obtained, the saving in the cost of smelting will probably pay-for the cost of
crushing, magnetic dressing, and sintering with sawdust on a Dwight-Lloyd machine. The ore
will incidentally be improved by the removal of phosphorus and sulphur, and will be left in a
condition more favourable for smelting.
(4.) If preliminary reduction of the ore is employed, the ore will have to be crushed to a
coarse powder, and magnetic concentration will then form an essential step in the process; being
applied either before or after the reducing operation.
On account of the limited market for pig-iron in British Columbia, it will be impossible to
Conduct at a profit a plant producing nothing but pig-iron.    By including in the plant the production of steel and ferro-alloys the plant will be more likely to pay.
2 L 18 Bureau of Mines. 1919
In view of the small size of the industry, it will be out of the question to attempt to roll
large plates for ship-building or large structural sections or rails, but small sections and bars of
structural steel can be rolled, besides bars of cast steel for drills and similar purposes. Steel
will also be needed for the production of steel castings.
The steel can be melted in an open-hearth or an electric steel furnace, using, as stock, steel
scrap, and white pig-iron from the electric-smelting furnace. If it is desired to charge the
pig-iron in the molten state, so as to save the cost of remelting, a " mixer " will be needed to
keep the iron molten until it is needed. As the iron ore is low in phosphorus, the iron will be of
" Bessemer " quality and an acid-lined furnace will be satisfactory for steel-making. A small
rolling-mill and a steel-foundry will form" necessary adjuncts of the plant. Further particulars
are given in Appendix XIIL
The production of these alloys would form a simple and profitable part of the work of such
a plant. The alloys that would probably be made are ferro-manganese, ferro-chrome, and ferro-
silicon. The essential ingredients of these are manganese ore, chrome ore, quartz, scrap-iron
or iron ore, and charcoal or coke. All these are available, and these alloys can be made in the
small 300-kw. single-phase furnaces mentioned in the design. Information with regard to the
supply of manganese and chrome ores and the methods and costs of making ferro-alloys will be
found in Appendix XIIL
It has been pointed out that an electric-smelting industry must depend for the present on
electric power furnished by the power companies of British Columbia. It has also been stated
that the company best able to supply power has asked so high a price that the commercial
production of pig-iron by electric smelting seems to be impossible. Under these conditions it
would appear that nothing can be done except to wait for cheaper power or to make a little
pig-iron as a part of some more remunerative operation.
There is, however, in view at the present time the possibility of an entirely different method,
which may possibly enable iron and steel of electric-furnace quality to be produced at a decidedly
lower cost than that of direct smelting in the electric furnace. According to this method, the iron
ore would be crushed to a coarse powrder, the gangue removed by magnetic concentration, and
the nearly pure iron mineral exposed to reducing gases or carbonaceous reducing materials, at
moderate furnace temperatures, until the grains of iron ore are converted into grains of metallic
iron. This grain metal can then be melted in electric furnaces, with suitable additions, for the
production of both pig-iron and steel. The electric power needed for the final melting of the
metallic powder would be less than one-third of that required for smelting the iron ore by existing
methods, and it seems quite possible that the preliminary reduction of the ore, using waste wood
or other cheap fuel, can be effected so cheaply that there will be a substantial saving on the whole
process. It will also be noticed that one operation, the conversion of pig-iron into steel, will be
.avoided by the new process.
This new process was referred to in my letter of May 26th to Mr. W. Fleet Robertson.
I had at that time applied to the Advisory Research Council for funds to assist me in investigating the reduction of iron ores, but I have not as yet been able to begin experiments.
During my visit to California I heard of the work of Dr. Trood and Mr. Darrah along
similar lines, and I met these gentlemen at Heroult, where I saw in operation a small plant for
the reduction of magnetite ore to metallic iron. I am not at liberty to give full particulars of
their process, but can state that it consists substantially in heating the coarsely powdered
magnetite with charcoal or other carbonaceous reducing material to a temperature of 800° C.
for about three hours. In the small plant the heat was supplied electrically, which was more
convenient and also permitted of more accurate measurement, but on the large scale it is probable
that fuel-heat would be employed. I have received from Dr. Darrah data in regard to the
operation, and I have modified these to suit conditions in British Columbia. It will be seen that,
even if electrical heat is used for reduction and melting, there should be a decided economy as
compared with the direct smelting process. 9 Geo. 5 Electric Smelting of Iron Ore. L 19
Cost of One Ton of Reduced Iron (in a Plant making 100 Tons daily).
Ore, 2.2 tons at $4    $ 8 SO
Charcoal, % ton at $6 .,  2 00
Power for heating, 1,380 kilowatt-hours at % cent   6 90
Crushing materials, at 50 cents per ton   1 10
Handling materials, at 50 cents per ton  1 10
Labour and supervision    85
Interest and depreciation on an investment of $20,000   25
Total    $21 00
The operation of converting this metallic powder into foundry pig-iron would have to be
worked out experimentally, but I believe, with electric power costing % cent per unit, and with
other supplies at the rates assumed in this respect, that the cost of this operation would be
about $10 per ton of pig-iron. The final cost of a ton of iron would therefore be $31, even using
high-priced power; and if this figure can be substantiated, it becomes clear that an electric-iron
industry can be started in British Columbia under present conditions. I am of the opinion, also,
that the electrical power used for reducing the ore can be replaced by % ton of coal or similar
fuel, or even by waste wood. If this can be done, the charge for heat may be reduced to $2
or $3, and the cost per ton of metallic powder to $16 or $17, so that a ton of foundry pig-iron
produced by this process should cost only $26 or $27.
If it is found possible in practice even to approach these estimates, it will be clear that
an electric-iron industry can be undertaken immediately in British Columbia and in some other
parts of Canada, and that the plants that are now employed for the electric smelting of iron
ores may have to be remodelled. I must repeat, however, that although the results indicated
appear to me to be very probable, I have not as yet enough information to speak with entire
certainty, and further experimental work must be undertaken before it would be safe to proceed
to the erection of a plant.
The metallic powder can be made into steel equally easily by melting in electric furnaces,
and steel ingots should be produced at a cost only a little higher than that of foundry iron—
say, at about $30 per ton.    This would render possible a large steel industry in British Columbia.
In view of the abnormal prices of products and supplies and the high cost and uncertainty
of labour, it is almost impossible at the present time to arrive at any reliable conclusions with
regard to the commercial side of a new industry. The high prices obtainable for iron and steel
make the present time appear suitable for undertaking the production of these materials, but
the increased cost of supplies and of labour largely neutralize this advantage. If it seemed
probable that pre-war prices would return in the course of a year or two, we might base our
calculations on this assumption; but in view of the profound change that is taking place in
the position of labour, it seems unlikely that wages will ever return to their original level. One
effect of this will be that the prices of supplies and products will all reach correspondingly
higher figures.
If electric power could have been obtained immediately at a reasonable price, it appeared
reasonably safe to undertake the electric production of pig-iron by standard methods; but if
we are dependent on developing a water-power for this purpose, the delay and the increased
uncertainty in regard to costs and prices makes prediction almost impossible. In a general way,
however, we may assume that in the course of a few years costs and prices will again reach some
steady relationship to one another, and that this relationship will not be very different from what
it was before the war.
On this assumption it would seem that, after prices have once more reached a steady level,
, the electric smelting of iron ores will occupy, commercially, about the same position as before
the war, and by considering the condition in Sweden, which resembles Canada in many respects,
we can form a fairly good judgment of the possible development of electric smelting in British
We may therefore expect, with the present methods of electric smelting, that the industry
would be successful commercially, but that it would depend ultimately on the production of
special qualities of iron and steel, and would be unable to compete with the blast-furnace in L 20 Bureau of Mines. 1919
the production of ordinary grades of pig-iron. If, however, the new process for the reduction
of iron ores is found to be satisfactory, it should produce a decided improvement in the commercial status of electric smelting.
(1.) The three most essential requirements are: Iron ore, electric power, and charcoal or
similar material. In the Coast districts of British Columbia there is a sufficient quantity of
suitable iron ore conveniently located, water-powers available for the development of electrical
energy, and waste wood from sawmills for the production of charcoal.
(2.) Having regard to the present market for pig-iron and the probable price for this
material during the next few years, it appears that the iron ore, electric power, and charcoal
could be produced sufficiently cheaply for the commercial smelting of iron ores in electric
(3.) The development of a water-power is, however, a long and costly operation and one
which it would be highly inadvisable to undertake at the present time. For present operations,
therefore, we are dependent on the purchase of electric power from the power companies.
(4.) It appears that one of these companies has a sufficient amount of unused electric power,
but it is asking a higher price for this power than the industry can bear.
(5.) In view of the original cost of development, it would appear that the company could
afford to offer the power at a decidedly lower price, but it should be remembered that the
company must keep a reserve of power for other purposes, and that it cannot at present afford
to maintain this reserve by undertaking fresh development.
(6.) A new process is now being investigated by means of which it may be possible to
produce electric-furnace pig-iron commercially in spite of the high price charged for electric
(7.) In view of the small demand for pig-iron in British Columbia, it would be almost
essential, if a smelting plant is to be established on an economic basis, that additional products
shall be turned out. Steel for castings and small rolled sections, and ferro-alloys, such as ferro-
manganese, ferro-chrome, and ferro-silicon, could be'made suitably in such a plant. These
additional, products would permit of more economical operation, would enable larger profits to
be made, and would allow the plant to continue in profitable operation if at any time the price
of pig-iron were to fall below the cost of production.
(8.)  In view of the present situation it appears advisable:—
(a.) To develop one or more of the best iron-ore deposits and to make complete tests
of the ore:
(b.) To reserve a suitable water-power for future development:
(c.) To establish a plant for the economic production of charcoal from mill-waste:
(d.) To investigate the new process for the production of electric pig-iron, and if this
is found satisfactory to begin immediately to produce pig-iron;   purchasing power
for this purpose until the water-power can be developed.
Alfred Stansfield.
November, 1918. 9 Geo. 5
Electric Smelting of Iron Ore.
L 21
This subject should be given the first consideration, as we require to know what amounts
and varieties of iron and steel can be disposed of, and at what prices they can be sold. This
information will determine the scale of the operations, and will have a bearing on most of the
other lines of inquiry. There may be available an export as well as a local market, but I have
limited my inquiries almost entirely to the market in British Columbia.
Members of the Metal Trades Association, whom I met in Vancouver, and Mr. Giles, of the
Vancouver Engineering Works, expressed the opinion that, if pig-iron could be produced locally
at a reasonable figure, there would be a market for about 50 tons daily. As iron was selling at
$60 to $70 a ton, it appeared that a local iron selling at from $30 to $40 a ton would be able to
secure a large market. Mr. Hart, the secretary of the association, tried to obtain from the
members individual statements of the amount, quality, and price of their purchases of pig-iron,
to form a basis for my investigation;  but I have not received any information from him.
Messrs. Evans, Coleman & Evans, of Vancouver, informed me that the consumption of
pig-iron in that district was only 3,000 to 4,000 tons per annum, corresponding to 10 tons daily.
In view, however, of the fact that Vancouver iron-foundries are now using about 40 per cent,
of new pig-iron and 60 per cent, of scrap-iron, whereas normally these figures would be reversed,
it appears that the ordinary demand, with iron at a more reasonable price, would be about
20 tons daily.
Mr. Nichol Thompson estimates the market for foundry iron in British Columbia as 10,000
tons per annum, which would be 30 tons per day; and states that in 1912 British Columbia
imported over 7,000 tons of pig-iron. These figures are said to be quite apart from the new
ship-building industry, which should lead to an expansion in the market for both iron and steel.
In undertaking the smelting of iron ores, it must be remembered that the amount of pig-iron
used in foundries for iron castings is far less than the1 amount which is converted into steel,
and therefore, as the market for foundry iron is somewhat limited, we may suitably enlarge
the scale of operations by producing some pig-iron for steel-making. An idea of the relative
consumption of the several varieties of iron and steel can be gained from the following table,
which was sent to me by Mr. John McLeish, of Ottawa, in reply to an inquiry in regard to the
market in British Columbia:—
Imports of Iron and Steel Goods from Foreign Countries through Ports in British Columbia and
Alberta during Twelve Months ending March Slst, 1915.
Short Tons.
Ingots, billets, and forgings 	
Cast-iron pipe 	
Steel rails and connections  	
Angles, bars, plates, etc	
Wire rods, wire, and wire nails ,	
Nails, rivets, and nuts  	
Oar-wheels, anchors, and other manufactures  	
Other iron and steel products and manufactures,  valued at
Total value  .'	
8,458,731 L 22
Bureau of Mines.
The amount of steel produced from a ton of pig-iron depends to some extent upon the process
employed; thus the Bessemer process yields something less than 1 ton of steel, while the open-
hearth process or the electric steel-furnace, using a mixture of pig-iron and steel scrap, may
produce more than 2 tons of steel per ton of pig-iron. Without attempting to analyse the steel
market in any detail, it seems probable that some 25 or 30 tons daily of pig-iron could be
converted into steel and disposed of in the form of small steel rods and rolled sections, steel
castings, and other steel products.
The price of pig-iron in British Columbia will, in general, depend on the price in the
Eastern States, together with the freight and the import duty. The following table, supplied to
me by Mr. W. G. Dauncey, shows the cost of pig-iron during the last ten years per long ton
of 2,240 lb.—
Cost of Pig-iron during Recent Years.
No. 1
$17 33
17 30
16 87
15 20
15 98
16 56
14 59
15 25
21 20
40 68
$17 03
17 46
17 16
15 74
15 04
17 16
14 90
15 85
24 00
43 62
$15 83
16 05
14 85
13 62
14 96
14 98
13 41
13 49
18 74
38 01
$17 25
17 48
17 10
15 19
15 77
16 39
14 15
14 46
20 67
41 06
$20 25
19 50
18 69
17 00
16 75
16 55
15 61
16 31
21 00
44 25
During 1917 the prices became very erratic and shot up to enormous figures. The United
States Government consequently regulated the price of pig-iron and that of the ore and fuel
needed for its production. From September, 1917, to September, 1918, a standard price of $33
was fixed for pig-iron at Birmingham; other varieties of iron ruling at somewhat higher figures.
Thus No. 2, Philadelphia, has been sold at $34.40; Bessemer, Pittsburgh, at $36.60; and Lake
Superior (charcoal), Chicago, at $37.85. In October, 1918, these prices have been raised in
most cases about $1.
Before the war, with Eastern prices about $15 per long ton, the price in British Columbia
would be between $25 and $30. Mr. Nichol Thompson states that during his thirty years'
experience he has only once seen pig-iron under $22 per ton, and that the price has ranged
from $22.50 to $32.50 per short ton; that is, $25.20 to $36.40 per long ton. It is frequently
mentioned that Chinese pig-iron has been imported at a price of $19.50. This iron was brought
in as ballast, it was ungraded, and I understand that it was of very poor quality and that some
of the buyers have been unable to use it. It is possible, also, though I cannot now check this
point, that the price was for a short ton, corresponding to $21.84 per long ton. The only importation from China since 1913 was in the year 1916-17, amounting to 400 tons; and in view of
the requirements of Japan, it seems unlikely that any Chinese iron will come to British Columbia
in the near future.
The present price for pig-iron in the Eastern States is $33 per ton; adding to that a freight
of $15 and a duty of $5 would make $53 in British Columbia. As, however, the exportation of
iron from the United States has been prohibited, the actual price is higher than this, and has
ranged from about $60 to $80 per long ton.
While it is impossible to predict the course of prices after the war, it seems likely, in view
of the high cost of living and the increasing powers of the working-classes, that the price of
labour, and consequently the price of manufactured products, will not return again in the near
future to the pre-war figures. If we may assume that Eastern prices of pig-iron will not fall
below $20, it will follow that the normal price of pig-iron in British Columbia will not fall below
$35, or at the lowest price $30, for a period of several years.
The freight from Eastern iron centres to Vancouver has been about $10 per ton, but is
higher at present. In August the rate from Hamilton to Vancouver on iron and steel was
60 cents per 100 lb., or $13.44 per long ton.    Freight rates from American furnaces cannot be 9 Geo. 5 .   Electric Smelting of Iron Ore.
obtained at present, as the export of pig-iron is prohibited. The duty on pig-iron from the
States is $2.80 per long ton plus 1% per cent, ad valorem, which at present prices comes to
about $2.25 per long ton, or a total charge of about $5 per long ton.
The B. L. Thane Corporation place the price of pig-iron in California as $25 per ton before
the war, being the Eastern price of $15 plus $10 freight. At present they take the Government
price of $33 at Birmingham plus $10 freight, or $43 a ton. They assume that after the war the
price will be about $28 per ton, or an advance of $3 over pre-war prices. They consider that the
market for iron and steel on the Coast is at least 600,000 or 700,000 tons a year, and probably
1,000,000 tons.
British Columbia is very well situated for shipping manufactured products to Japan and
the East generally, and if pig-iron and steel could be produced cheaply we might be able to
command a considerable export market. Electric-furnace iron will, however, be too costly to
compete with blast-furnace iron, even when the latter is brought long distances by water.
Wherever there is an iron industry there will be a moderate demand for high-grade pig-iron,
and an electric-smelting industry in British Columbia will probably be able to develop a fall
market for this product throughout the East.
Mr. Dauncey's table of iron prices shows that in normal times there is a difference of $3
or $4 between the price of different classes of pig-iron. In August, 1913, the prices of Bessemer
and foundry irons varied from $50 to $55, including freight, at most points in Eastern Canada,
and electric-furnace pig-iron was sold at Eastern Canadian furnaces at a standard price of $58.
With regard to the possibility that a blast-furnace plant may be established in the State
of Washington, and that it may capture the market for iron in British Columbia, I may state
that the B. L. Thane Company estimate the cost, under 1918 conditions, of making iron in the
StEfte of Washington at $22, $26, and $30, on three assumptions with regard to the cost of
supplies. Taking the middle estimate, $26, and adding the freight, say $2, and the Canadian
duty of $4.75, would raise the cost of iron delivered in British Columbia to about $33; a figure
which is about the same as the cost of making electric-furnace iron with power at $15. The
bounty offered by the British Columbia Government would, apparently, turn the scale in the
favour of the electric product. After the war the war duty of 7% per cent, ad valorem will no
doubt be withdrawn, and in general we must expect that a blast-furnace plant on the Pacific
coast would be able to take a part at least of the market in British Columbia for the cheaper
grades of iron, but, with the help of the Canadian duty and the Provincial bounty, an electric-
smelting plant in British Columbia should be able to retain the local market for the higher grades
of iron.
Information with regard to the price of pig-iron in British Columbia differs, considerably:
Mr. Watson Griffin, Superintendent of the Commercial Intelligence Branch of the Department
of Trade and Commerce, Ottawa, on September 4th quotes " one of the largest ship-building
companies on the Pacific coast" as saying: " We beg to advise that we have been paying for
pig-iron during the last year between $65 and $75 per ton of 2,000 lb." This would be between
$73 and $84 per long ton. On October 19th he quotes the Industrial Commissioner of Vancouver
as saying: " The prevailing prices during the past two years have been from $45 to $69 per ton,
which is the price at the present time for Hamilton pig-iron delivered at Vancouver. The present
quantities required in British Columbia will run approximately from 7,000 to 10,000 tons per year.
I have been unable to get an estimate of the quantities that will be required in the next two or
three years." Mr. Griffin subsequently ascertained for me that these lower prices referred to
the long ton. L 24 Bureau of Mines. .1919
There are, in easily accessible parts of British Columbia, a number of deposits of magnetite
ore that appear to be suitable for electric smelting. In the absence of a regular demand for such
ores, scarcely any of these deposits have been opened up, and it is impossible to state with any
degree of accuracy the amount and analysis of the ore or the cost of mining it.
In view of these circumstances, it was arranged that Mr. Wm. Fleet Robertson and Mr.
Brewer would furnish me with the best information at their disposal with respect to thS ore-
bodies, and that I would use this information as the basis of my report; it being understood
that I am not accepting any responsibility with regard to the accuracy of such information.
I have, however, been able to obtain some independent data, which agree in general with those
furnished by the Government officials.
Amount of Ore needed.—As the ore may be assumed to contain, on an average, not much
more than 50 per cent, of iron, about 2 tons of ore will be needed for each ton of pig-iron. Thus
for a production of 50 tons of pig-iron daily we must have 100 tons of ore, or 35,000 tons per
annum. A supply of 50,000 tons per annum for ten years, or 500,000 tons in all, would appear
adequate for the present inquiry.
Location of Deposits.—It is assumed, for the purpose of this report, that an electric-smelting
plant would be erected at some point on tide-water within a reasonable distance of Vancouver;
its location being determined, among other considerations, by the need of obtaining electric power
from the lines of an electric power company. It follows from this that the ore-deposits selected
for consideration should be-those that are situated on tide-water within easy transportation
distance bjT water from Vancouver.
Available Ore-deposits.—A statement compiled by Mr. Wm. Brewer, and approved by Mr.
Wm. Fleet Robertson, will be found in this Appendix. It contains a list of the more important
deposits of iron ore that are likely to prove suitable for supplying an electric smelter. The
statement shows the distance of each deposit from tide-water, the estimated amount of ore, and
the percentage of iron, sulphur, phosphorus, and insoluble in samples taken from each deposit.
It appears from the statement that there are several conveniently situated deposits, any^one of
which may be expected to furnish the required amount of ore. There can be little doubt that
if two or three of these were opened up a sufficient supply of ore of reasonable richness and
purity would be obtained.
Nature of the Ores.—The ores available are almost all magnetites. Such ores are less easily
smelted in blast-furnaces than haematite ores, and it is usual, therefore, to provide for an admixture of haematite when smelting magnetites. It is quite likely that, in electric furnaces, hannatite
ores would smelt more readily than magnetites, although, as very little preliminary reduction of
the ore can be effected in such furnaces, the difference is likely to be less marked. It happens,
however, that the commercial smelting of iron ores in electric furnaces has nearly always been
carried out with magnetites, either alone or with small additions of haematites, so that we know
definitely that magnetite ores are suitable for electric smelting.
The ores available, while adequate in amount and convenient invocation, are neither as rich
in iron nor as free from impurities as the magnetite ores that have been smelted in electric
furnaces in Sweden or California. Many of the Swedish ores contain1 as much as 60 per cent,
of iron, and the Californian ore has nearly 70 per cent, of iron, but the ores available in British
Columbia cannot be assumed to average more than 50 or 55 per cent. The published analyses
of ore samples, including those contained in this Appendix, frequently show as much as 60 per
cent, of iron, but Mr. Fleet Robertson is satisfied that, if the ore-bodies are mined in a wholesale
way, and without any attempt to pick the best ore, it will not be safe to count on an average
richness of more than 50 to 55 per cent. of. iron. He informs me, however, that the gangue
accompanying the ore is limey in character, and that by taking a suitable proportion of the
rock with the ore a smelting mixture can be obtained having enough limestone to be self-fluxing,
and carrying at least 50 per cent, of iron.    It may be pointed out that for making a foundry iron
* A map to illustrate this Appendix  and the  enclosed report by Mr. Brewer has been prepared by
Mr. W.  F. Robertson, and should be bound with this report in the event of it being printed. 9 Geo. 5 Electric Smelting of Iron Ore. L 25
some silica is essential in the smelting mixture; thus, at Heroult, the ore was so pure that it
was necessary to add quartz. Moreover, a certain amount of slag must be produced to flux off
the sulphur which is present in the ore. Greater economy would undoubtedly result, however,
if the smelting mixture could be made to contain as much as 60 per cent, of iron.
The Swedish ores are exceptionally pure, containing usually from 0.01 to 0.02 per cent, each
of phosphorus and sulphur, and the ore at Heroult, in California, containing only 0.01 per cent,
each of phosphorus and sulphur. The available ores in British Columbia are reasonably free
from phosphorus, containing as a rule less than 0.03 per cent, of this element, so that Bessemer
iron can. be made from them. The sulphur is, however, somewhat higher than is desirable.
Some of the ores, notably those from Texada island, contain some tenths of a per cent, up to
1 per cent, of sulphur, but it seems probable that a supply could be obtained that would not
contain more than about 0.1 per cent, of that element. This amount of sulphur will not interfere
at all seriously in the production of a good foundry iron, but it will render the ore less valuable
for making special grades of " charcoal " iron.
From among the various deposits three groups have been selected—namely, those on Texada
island, Nos. 1, 2, and 3; those on Redonda island, Nos. 9 and 10; and those at Nootka sound,'
Nos. 13 and 14. Mr. Brewer has prepared estimates of the cost of mining the ore from each of
these deposits and transporting it to a port on the east coast of Vancouver island, or in the
neighbourhood of Vancouver. He finds that, including a royalty of 50 cents per ton to the owner
and miner of the ore, the cost of ore delivered at the smelter will be about $4 per net ton. As
about 2 net tons of ore will be needed for each long ton of pig-iron, the cost of the ore will be
about $8 per ton of pig. This is a very serious item of cost, and is far higher than the usual
cost of ore at Eastern furnaces. In view, however, of the nature of the ore-bodies, the moderate
scale of mining and transportation, and the high cost of all operations on the Coast, it does not
appear that any material reduction can be expected, at any rate during the next few years.
If the ore were being mined for sale, there should be added the Provincial Government tax of
37% cents per ton; but in the present case it appears reasonable to count this as a deduction
from the bonus of $3 per ton paid by the Government for pig-iron produced locally from British
Columbia ores.
' Iron Ores of British Columbia.
(Data compiled by  Wm. M. Brewer,  Resident Engineer,  Western  Mineral Survey  District,
Nanaimo, B.C., June Sth, 1918.)
The accompanying tables show:—
First: The estimated cost for mining and transporting iron ore mined from the most
accessible properties to any established port on the east coast of Vancouver island or at
Second: The names and locations of the various properties, with the distance from deep
water, also the available tonnage, very roughly estimated, in three classifications—" actual,"
" probable," and " possible" ore. Owing to the lack of development-work it is impossible to
measure the ore reserves with any degree of accuracy. Where a star is placed beside the name
of a property it indicates that it is impossible to make any estimate of available tonnage at
Third: The nature of the ore and assay results obtained from the samples collected at
various times, together with the names of the collectors.
Estimated Cost of Mining and Transporting Iron Ores.
Three deposits only have been considered in the following table, viz.: Those located on
Texada and Redonda islands and at Nootka sound. These are selected.because, owing to their
accessibility, together with the quantity and quality of the ore, they would be the natural choice
as the first sources of supply.
Texada Island, Nos. 1, 2, 3—
Estimated cost of 3-drill plant   $ 5,000
Estimated cost of transportation     10,000
Estimated cost of bunkers and docks     10,000
Total estimated cost of installation    $25,000 L 26. Bureau of Mines. 1919
Estimated Cost of Mining and Transportation per Ton of 2,000 Lb.
(Figuring 50,000 Tons per Annum).
Interest and depreciation on installation at 20 per cent  $0 10
Estimated cost of mining   2 00
Estimated cost of tramming   25
Estimated cost of freight   1 00
Estimated cost of unloading   25
$3 60
Royalty to owner per ton          50
Cost of ore at smelting plant  $4 10
Redonda Island, Nos. 9 and 10—
•    Estimated cost of 3-drill plant  $' 5,000
Estimated cost of bunkers and docks '   10,000
No transportation required.
Total estimated cost of installation  $15,000
Estimated Cost of Mining and Transportation per Ton of 2,000 Lb.
(Figuring 50,000 Tons per Annum).
Interest and depreciation on installation at 20 per cent   $0 06
Estimated cost of mining     2 00
Estimated cost of loading         15
Estimated cost of freight     1 00
Estimated cost of unloading        25 •
$3 46
Royalty to owner per ton          50
Cost of ore at smelting plant   $3 96
Nootka Sound, Nos. 13 and 14—
Estimated cost of 3-drill plant ..'..■   $ 5,000
Estimated cost of tram-line     10,000
Estimated cost of bunkers and docks     10,000
Total   '.  $25,000
Estimated Cost of Mining and Transportation per Ton of 2,000 Lb.
(Figuring 50,000 Tons per Annum).
Interest and depreciation on installation at 20 per cent  $0 10
Estimated cost of mining by large quarry   1 50
Estimated cost of tramming   25
Estimated cost of freight  1 50
Estimated cost of unloading ...'  25
$3 60
Royalty to owner per ton          50
Total    $4 10
Note.—The estimated cost for freight is based on transportation by scows or barges from
the Texada Island and Redonda Island deposits, and by freight-steamers properly equipped for
hauling iron ore from the Nootka Sound deposits in cargoes of 500 tons and upwards.
(After consultation with Mr. R. H. Stewart, Mr. Brewer has decided to increase his estimate
for a 3-drill plant to $12,000 in view of present conditions.    This change will only represent a few
cents per ton added to the estimated cost of mining.) 9 Geo. 5
Electric Smelting of Iron Ore.
L 27
Names and Locations of Properties.
Name oi Property.
Approximate  Distance from Deep
Iron River*   	
Quinsam   Lake  Iron
Iron Crown*   	
Black Warrior*   	
Eagle and Sunrise  ....
Glengarry and Stormont
Western   Steel*   	
Bald  Eagle*    (
Crown Prince   	
Black Prince	
Henderson Lake  	
Baden Powell and Little
Prince's Iron*  	
Britton and Monarch . .
North    Pacific    Iron
Glen  Iron Mine   	
Darby and Joan*	
Iron    Mountain    and
Texada island  	
Texada island	
Texada island  	
Branch of Quinsam river, east coast of V.I	
Upper Quinsam lake, near east coast of V.I	
Nimpkish (Klaanch) river, near Nimpkish lake, V.I.
Wigwam   bay,   Seymour   inlet,   Queen   Charlotte
South   shore   of   Seymour  inlet,   Queen   Charlotte
West Redonda island	
West Redonda island	
Louise island of Queen Charlotte group  	
West arm of Quatsino sound, V.I	
Head bay, Nootka sound, west coast of V.I	
Head bay, Nootka sound, west coast of V.I	
Sechart, Barkley sound, west coast of V.I	
Sechart, Barkley sound, west coast of V.I	
Sechart, Barkley sound, west coast of V.I	
Sarita river, Barkley sound, west coast of V.I.  . .
Tzartoos island, Barkley sound, west coast of V.I.
Uchucklesit harbour, west coast of V.I	
Henderson lake, west coast of V.I	
Handy creek, Alberni canal, V.I	
Gordon river, near Port Renfrew, V.I	
Gordon river, near Port Renfrew, V.I	
Bugaboo   creek,   tributary   of   Gordon   river,   near
Port Renfrew, west coast of V.I.
Gordon valley, west coast of V.I ■
West arm, Quatsino sound, west coast of V.I.  . ..
Chromium   creek,   tributary   of   Klinaklina   river,
flowing into Knight inlet, mainland coast
Limonite   (Summit)   creek,   tributary  of Zymoetz
river, Skeena Mining Division
Cherry   bluff,   Kamloops   lake,   13   miles   west   of
East Sooke, V.I	
Alberni  canal   	
Kennedy lake,  V.I	
1,000 feet.
About one mile.
About iy2  miles.
13 miles.
About 25 miles.
About 21 miles.
On shore.
On shore.
On shore.
114 miles.
1% miles.
2 miles.
2 miles.
2 miles.
1% miles.
y2 mile.
% mile.
1,000 feet to lake,
12 miles to
deep-sea harb'r.
1 mile.
5 miles.
9 miles.
9 miles.
7 miles.
2 miles.
60   miles   from
G.T.P. Rly.
Adjoins C.P.R.
1 mile.
% mile.
18 miles.
Quantity Roughly Estimated.
McConnell's estimate.
McConnell's estimate.
McConnell's estimate.
Brewer's estimate.
(See report by George Clothier,
M.E., Minister of Mines' Report, 1917, p. 64.)
Brewer's  estimate. L 28
Bureau of Mines.
}iiantity Roughly Estimated—Concluded.
250,000    -
Brewer's  estimate.
Brewer's  estimate.
Provincial Mineralogist's estimate.
Brewer's estimate.
Brewer's estimate.
Brewer's estimate.
Brewer's estimate.
Brewer's estimate.
Brewer's estimate.
McKenzie's estimate. (See
Lindeman's report in Vol. I.,
p. 30, " Iron Ore Occurrences
in Canada," Can. Dept. of
Mines, 1917.)
Totals . .
Nature of Ore and Assay Results.
Per Cent.
Per Cent.
Per Cent.
Per Cent.
1 J
Magnetite   "lime
Average across face of adit 430
gangue "
feet below the highest outcrop.    Brewer's sample.
Sopper, nil; manganese, 0.08% ;
McConnell's sample.
Copper, 0.14; McConnell's
Copper, 0.14; McConnell's
Lindeman's sampling.
Lindeman's sampling.
Copper, 0.08% ; Lindeman's
Geol. Survey of Canada, 1886,
p. 37b.
Fulmer, Geol. Survey of Washington.
Tenth Census, U.S.  Represented
lot of 600 tons smelted at Iron-
dale by Puget Sound Iron Co.
Magnetite   "lime
gangue "
Copper, 0.3%; McConnell's
Copper, 0.22%; magnesia,
1.13% ; lime, 1.32% ; alumina,
0.66% ; Lindeman's sample.
Magnetite   "lime
gangue "
Brewer's   grab   sample   from
Copper,   trace;   McConnell's
Copper, 0.08%; alumina,
1.17% ; lime, 3.82% ; magnesia, 1.05% ; L i n d e m a n's
sample.   .
Copper, 0.7% ; alumina, 2.07% ;
lime, 3.77%; magnesia,
1.25% ; Lindeman's isample.
Property owned by Canadian
Collieries (Dunsmuir), Ltd.
Lindeman's  sample. 9 Geo. 5
Electric Smelting of
Iron Ore.                                      L 29
Nature of Ore and
Assay Results—Gout
Per Cent.
Per Cent.
Per Cent.
Per Cent.
Magnetite, lime, and
garnetite gangue
Brewer's sample from dump.
Lindeman's sample.
Copper, trace; alumina, 1.74% ;
lime,   0.80% ;   magnesia,
1.86% ; Lindeman's sample.
Clothier's   sample,   Minister   of
Mines' Report, 1917.
Alumina,    7.6%;   lime,   1.8% ;
combined   water,   0.11% ;
magnesia,    trace;    Clothier's
Lindeman, Vol. II., " Iron Ore
Occurrences in Canada,"  Can.
Dept. of Mines, 1917.
No samples reported.
Lime, 1.0% ; Minister of Mines'
Report,    1911,    p.    77,    and
Lindeman's    in    " Iron    Ore
Occurrences in Canada," Can.
Dept. of Mines, 1917, p. 18.
Lindeman's sampling.
Lindeman's  sampling.
Magnetite    limestone gangue
Brewer's sample.
Lindeman's sample.
No samples reported.
Magnetite    limestone gangue
Lindeman's sample.
Magnetite    limestone gangue
Lindeman's sample.
Brewer's sample.
Magnetite    limestone gangue
Brewer's sample.
Brewer's sample.
Carmichael's sample.
Lindeman's sample.
Magnetite    limestone gangue
Brewer's sample.
Carmichael's  sample.
Lindeman's sample.
1.3     .
Brewer's sample.
Carmichael's  sample.
Lindeman's sample.
Brewer's sample.
Carmichael's  sample.
Magnetite     limestone gangue
Gold, trace; silver, 1.2 oz.; copper, 3.3% ;  Brewer's sample.
Brewer's sample.
Brewer's sample.
Hand sample reported by Car-
Lindeman's sample.
Lindeman's sample.
2.75     -
Lindeman's sample.
Lindeman's sample.
Lindeman's sample.
Carmichael's sample.
Galloway's sample.
Galloway's sample.
Galloway's sample  (selected). L 30
Bureau of Mines.
Nature of Ore and Assay Results—Concluded.
Per Cent.
Per Cent.
Per Cent.
Per Cent.
First four samples by
Ma"nganese,   0.85;   water   combined, 18.54.
Manganese,   0.51;   water   combined, 16.02.
Manganese,   0.39;   water   combined, 20.47..
Manganese,   0.70;   water   combined, 19.61.
Brewer's sample.
Owner's sample.
Owner's sample.
Owner's sample.
Owner's sample.
McEvoy's samples.    (See "Iron
Ore Occurrences in Canada,"
Can.   Dept.   of  Mines,   1917,
p. 31.)
Ore carries too much copper to
be suitable for iron-making.
Lindeman's sample.
Carmichael's sample.
Brewer's sample.
Lindeman's sample.
(End of Mr. Brewer's report.)
Iron Ore from Head Bat.
In view of the importance of obtaining more exact information in regard to the richness and
other characteristics of the available ore, I discussed with Mr. W. F. Robertson the possibility of
having a quantity of ore taken from one or more of the* deposits, and sending large samples to
Victoria for analysis and for tests in regard to magnetic concentration. Mr. Robertson considered that it was not necessary to undertake this at the present time, but he instructed Mr.
Brewer to obtain a large general sample of ore from the deposits at Nootka sound, Head bay.
In a letter from Mr. Robertson dated August 12th, 1918, and enclosing an assay certificate dated
August 9th, he informs me that Mr. Brewer took nine samples from various parts of the deposit,
including two near the margin. He also took a sample of the foot-wall. The nine samples were
assayed separately for iron and were found to contain: G3 per cent., 70 per cent, 67.2 per cent.,
63 per cent., 63 per cent., 44.8 per cent., 47.8 per cent., 67.2 per cent, and 68.2 per cent. The
samples containing 44.8 and 47.8 per cent, were taken near the margin of the deposit. A composite sample was made up containing equal amounts of each of the above'nine samples and of
the one foot-wall sample.    This composite sample was analysed and was found to contain:—
Per Cent. Per Cent.
Iron  '   57.1 Sulphur   Trace.
Silica     15.5 Phosphorus        0.05
Lime        0.6
The average richness of the ore itself is 66 per cent, of iron, and the average richness,
including the two near the margin, is 61.6 per cent. The composite sample contained
57.1 per cent, of iron, from which it can be calculated that the wall-rock would contain 16.8
per cent, of iron. If we assume that the samples are representative of the deposit, we learn
that the rich ore contains 66 per cent, of iron, and that a general sample, including ore near
the margin and some of the wall-rock, contains 57 per cent, of iron. We may apparently conclude from this that in general mining an ore of at least 55 per cent, of iron can be expected.
It appears, further, that the gangue-matter is siliceous and contains very little lime, and that
the ore is free from sulphur and below the Bessemer limit in phosphorus. 9 Geo. 5 Electric Smelting of Iron Ore. L 31
The Head Bay deposits appear as Nos. 13 and 14 in Mr. Brewer's list, but Mr. Brewer
does not state from which of these properties his present samples were taken, or whether the
samples were taken from both properties. The weight of the samples is also not mentioned.
Mr. Robertson considers that the above results are higher than would be obtained from an
average shipment of ore from this deposit.
Notes from the B. L. Thane Company.
The following notes on four deposits of iron ore in British Columbia were given me by the
B. L. Thane Company, of San Francisco, and are of value as supporting the conclusion that
there is available an adequate supply of magnetite ore. The analyses quoted indicate a higher
grade of ore than that on which I have based this report.
Texada Island.—Deposit of magnetite owned by the Puget Sound Iron Company. The
deposit contains 1,000,000 tons and probably an additional 2,900,000 tons. The ore is loaded
into ships near the mine.    The ore contains:—
Per Cent. Per Cent.
Iron    62.9 Magnesia        0.75
Silica       6.66 Nickel       0.014
Phosphorus        0.016 Cobalt      0.005
Sulphur        0.51 Copper     0.13
Alumina       1.4 Titanium     Nil.
Lime        2.0 Arsenic       Nil.
The estimated cost (pre-war) at a Puget Sound port was :—'-
Mining   $0 56
Land transportation         10
Sea transportation           50
Royalty    ,.        25
Fixed charges   .:         20
Export duty          50
Total   $2 11
Or $3.18 per ton of pig-iron.
The assumed output was 200,000 tons a year for twenty years. A tram from the mine of
1.1 miles would cost $10,000;  equipment and development of mine, $290,000;   total, $300,000.
Cumsheica.—A deposit of magnetite on Louise island, owned by. H. K. Owens, contains
570,000 tons, with a probable 344,000 tons more. The ore is loaded into ships near the mine.
The ore contains :—
Per Cent. Per Cent.
Iron    60.0 Sulphur     0.020
Silica      7.0 Lime       2.0
Manganese        0.83 Titanium        0.07
Phosphorus        0.008.
Pre-war cost:—
Mining      $0 75
Land transportation    •         15
Sea  transportation         75
Fixed charges          71
Export duty          50
Total    .-   $2'86
Or $4.86 per ton of pig-iron.
Assumed output, 100,000 tons per annum for nine years. An aerial tram of 1.5 miles from
mine to wharf would cost $20,000; purchase of mine, $200,000; equipment and development,
$100,000;  total, $320,000. L 32 Bureau of Mines. 1919
Head Bay.—A deposit of magnetite on Vancouver island, owned by Glengarry, Canadian
Collieries (Dunsmuir), Limited, and Clarence Dawley, Clayoquot, 'contains 150,000 tons, with
a probable 250,000 tons more.    Ship from Nootka sound.   It contains:—■
Per Cent. Per Cent.
Iron    60.0 Phosphorus    ■  0.008
Silica         8.0 Sulphur   0.013
Pre-war post:—
Mining      $0 90
Land transportation         10
Sea transportation           65
Royalty         25
Fixed charges            30
Export duty         50
Total    :   $2 70
Or $4.27 per ton of pig-iron.
Assumed output, 60,000 tons per annum for seven years.    Would need an aerial tram of
1.5 miles from mine to wharf, costing $20,000;   development and equipment,  $50,000;   total,
Quinsam Lake.—A  deposit of magnetite owned by Jones & Thomson,  probably  contains
500,000 tons.    Ship from Campbell river.    It contains :—
Per Cent. • Per Cent.
Iron      60.0 Lime     1.7
Silica      4.0 Phosphorus     0.002-0.976
Manganese     0.65 Sulphur     0.005-0.068
Alumina       2.6
Pre-war cost:—
Mining   $090
Land transportation         60
Sea transportation           50
Royalty    ,         25
Fixed charges        2 12
Export duty          50
Total      $4 87
Or $7.71 per ton of pig-iron.
Assumed output, 60,000 tons per annum for eight years. Needs a twenty-mile aerial tram,
costing $220,000;   development, $60,000;   total, $280,000.
With regard to the estimated cost of mining and transporting these ores, we find (excepting
the last in view of the unusually heavy fixed charges) the total costs to be $2.11, $2.86, and
$2.70 per ton of ore. Deducting the export duty! of 50 cents, these become $1.61, $2.36, and
$2.20 per ton. Messrs. B. L. Thane consider that the 1918 costs for labour, materials, transportation, and capital charges would all be doubled, thus leaving a duty-free cost of $2.97, $4.22,
and $4.15 per ton, or an average cost of $3.78 per ton. Remembering that these relate to outputs
of 200,000 tons, 100,000 tons, and 60,000 tons respectively, it does not appear that Mr. Brewer's
estimate of $4 a ton on an output of 50,000 tons is at all too high.
Notes on Cost of Mining and Transportation.
I. Mr. W. M. Brewer in a letter dated July Sth, 1918, writes me that he has had interviews
with Mr. R. H. Stewart in regard to the cost of mining and with Captain Simon MacKenzie in
regard to the cost of transportation.
Mr. Stewart stated that where the iron ore would be mined by quarrying and there would
not be very much development-work and only a reasonable amount of sorting, the cost of mining
iron ore at the deposits on Texada island, Redonda island, and Nootka sound (Head bay) should
not exceed $1 per ton, even when a quantity of only 100 tons a day was -being mined. He also
said that Mr. Brewer's estimate of $5,000 for the cost of installing a 3-drill compressor plant at
any of these mines should be increased to about $12,000 in view of present conditions.. 9 Geo. 5 Electric Smelting of Iron Ore. L 33
Captain MacKenzie stated that Mr. Brewer's estimate of $1 per ton for transporting iron
ore from Texada island or Redonda island to the neighbourhood of Vancouver was reasonable,
provided that good dispatch were given in loading and discharging, and that a regular business
could be ensured averaging not less than 700 tons a week. He also stated that if the ore was
only to be hauled a short distance, as, for example, from the west coast of Texada island or
Redonda island to -the east coast of Vancouver island, say in the neighbourhood of Union bay,
the charge for transportation should not exceed 50 cents or at the outside 75 cents per ton, provided that regular business, handling 700 tons a week, were established with reasonable dispatch,
say ten hours for loading and twenty-four hours for discharging cargo. Captain MacKenzie
considered that Mr. Brewer's estimate of $1.50 per ton for transporting iron ore from Nootka
sound to the neighbourhood of Vancouver would be all right under reasonably normal conditions,
although at the time of writing the transportation companies were asking about $3 per ton in
cargoes of 700 tons.
II. I have received from Mr. Robertson, under date of July 6th, 1918, the following memorandum re transportation of ore, etc., from Mr. H. L. Drummond, Manager, North-west Lighterage
Company, Seattle.
Iron Ore from, West Coast, Vancouver Island— ..
In lots of 1,000 tons .- Estimated at $1.50 to $2 per ton.
In lots of 2,000 tons Estimated at $1.50 per ton.
Iron Ore from Texada Island (on Long Contract)—
In lots of    500 tons 90 cents per ton.
In lots of    800 tons   80 cents per ton.
In lots of 1,000 tons  65 cents per ton.
The Drummond Lighterage Company are transporting:—
Coal from Comox to Seattle at 90 cents per ton.
Coal from Nanaimo to Seattle at 75 cents per ton.
They take 1,200 tons per trip and from 15,000 to 18,000 tons per month.    The charge for
carrying copper ore from Sidney inlet to Tacoma is from $3.50 to $4 per ton.
Conclusions.—(1.) Raising the estimate for the 3-drill plant from $5,000 to $12,000 will
increase the cost of equipping each mine by $7,000, but will only increase the cost per ton of ore
by about 3 cents.
(2.) The original transportation estimate of $1 a ton from Texada and Redonda and $1.50
a ton from Nootka sound are supported by the above notes.
(3.) With reference to the cost of mining, Mr. Robertson considers that, in view of the need
of obtaining an ore of reasonable richness, the cost of mining would certainly be higher than
Mr. Stewart's estimate of $1 per ton, and that $2 is as low as can safely be estimated under
present conditions. We may reasonably suppose, however, that in course of time, when the
industry becomes better established, and if the ore-deposits are found to be large enough, the
cost of mining may possibly come down to about $1 per ton, even with the present rates of wages.
Notes on Various Iron-ore Deposits.
I. Iron-deposit at Sarita River.—I received from the Hon. Wm. Sloan a letter dated June 7th
from Mr. J. F. Bledsoe, Manager of the Central Iron Committee of Vancouver Island, enclosing
a note from Mr. Wm. Lorimer, of 576 Toronto Street, Victoria, B.C., in regard to the iron-ore
deposit at Sarita river. Mr. Lorimer, under date of June 6th, states that this deposit has been
mined to the extent of forming a dump of ore, and suggests that some of this ore should be sent
to the laboratory at Victoria for treatment. He offers to sack and ship as much ore as may be
required, and would make no charge for this beyond his expenses. This deposit is No. 18 in
Mr. Brewer's list. It is estimated to contain probably 30,000 tons, with a possible 25,000 tons
additional. The deposit is one mile and a half from deep water. It would certainly be of
interest to have a quantity of this ore supplied for chemical analysis and other tests, but it will
be more worth while to open up some of the larger deposits which are situated close to deep
water. Moreover, the samples received from this deposit have been rather high in sulphur, as
is shown in Mr. Brewer's report.
II. Kitchener Group, West Redonda Island, and other Deposits.—Mr. Nichol Thompson, of
Vancouver, has placed at my disposal certain information respecting the iron-ore deposits in*
3 L 34 Bureau of Mines. 1919
British Columbia. This includes a general synopsis of the iron-deposits in British Columbia,
and reports with regard to the Kitchener group, the Elsie claim, on West Redonda island, and
other claims, from which I extract the following:—
The Kitchener group (No. 7 in Mr. Brewer's list) is located on Wigwam bay, Seymour inlet,
Queen Charlotte sound. A report by G. A. Clothier, February, 1918, shows vein No. 2 to contain
65.5 per cent, iron, 4.6 per cent, insoluble, and 0.5 per cent, sulphur; and vein No. 3 to contain
64.4 per cent, iron, 1.8 per cent, insoluble, and 0.1 per cent, sulphur. Further surface work
would be needed to prove the continuity of the ore-shoots on the surface before diamond-drilling
to prove them at depths would be justified. A sample of the Kitchener ore supplied by Mr.
Thompson on July 24th, 1916, was found to contain:— Per „    .
Peroxide of iron     64.35) Iron, 64.5
Protoxide of iron     25.161 per cent.
Protoxide of manganese       0.47
Alumina       0.96
Lime       1.00
Magnesia       3.89
Sulphur      Slight trace.
Phosphorus   Slight trace.
Insoluble       4.70
Total      100.53
A report of the Elsie claim, on West Redonda island (No. 9, Mr. Brewer's list), by Alexander
Sharp, Vancouver, October, 1917, contains the following summary: " The Elsie mineral claim
has a well-defined magnetite-iron ore vein, fully 30 feet wide, probably extending from the east
to the west boundary, and to depth. The ore is high grade, almost free from sulphur, phosphorus,
and other impurities. Situated on tide-water, where the largest ocean-going ship can be loaded
at any tide, the mineral can be easily and cheaply mined."
Mr. Sharp quotes the following analyses for this ore:—
Per Cent. Per Cent.
Iron      65.0 Iron    61.10
Sulphur      None. Silica      7.31
Insoluble     9.20 Lime        3.10
Phosphorus        0.015
Sulphur     0.30
Some 626 tons of this ore was shipped to the Oswego Iron and Steel Company's furnace in
Oregon. The average iron content was 60.8 per cent., and the ore was reported to work well
in the puddling-furnace.
Mr. Thompson also supplied me with reports by J. H. Scott, of London, and W. Newman,
of Vancouver, with regard to the Shoo Fly and Nellie C. claims of iron ore situated near Cardero
channel, in the Coast District of British Columbia, 120 miles north of Vancouver City. The
reports speak very favourably of the amount and nature of the ore, but the analyses they quote
show only 50 per cent, of iron and as much as 2 per cent, of sulphur, which does not support
their statements with regard to the value of the ore.   The complete analysis quoted is:—
Per Cent.
Ferric oxide       51.80
,   Ferrous oxide  '•     25.63
Silica      19.50
Sulphur       2.10
Phosphorus        Nil.
Titanium          Nil.
Water and oxygen       0.97
Total   100.00
Three samples assayed for sulphur showed: 1.75 per cent, 4.5 per cent, and 0.71 per cent,
respectively. Eight samples assayed for iron showed: 59.7 per cent, 57.5 per cent, 54.6 per
cent., 58.8 per cent, 54 per cent., 59.3 per cent., 51 per cent., and 53.2 per cent, respectively. 9 Geo. 5 Electric Smelting of Iron Ore. L 35
In smelting low-grade ores of iron, it is sometimes economical to dress the ore before
smelting it, in order to eliminate most of the barren rock-matter, and thus to reduce the cost
of the smelting operation. This preliminary dressing is particularly desirable in the electric
smelting of iron ores, on account of the small size of the furnace and the, high cost of the
smelting operation. Magnetite ores of iron are readily concentrated by means of an electric
magnet which picks out the magnetite mineral and leaves the rock. It is necessary, however,
to crush the ore sufficiently fine to separate the grains of magnetite from the grains of rock,
and the concentrate must therefore be briquetted, or sintered into lumps, to make it fit for the
smelting operation.
In the case of an ore containing 50 or 55 per cent, of iron, and costing $4 per ton delivered
to the furnace, it would scarcely pay to concentrate, obtaining a product of 65 to 70 per cent of
iron, because the extra cost of the ore (as some is lost in the tailing) and the cost of the operation would about equal the economies to be gained in the smelting. If, however, by mining the
ore in a more wholesale manner the cost of mining can be considerably reduced, and if the
dressing operation is carried on at the mine or loading-wharf, so that the freight is only charged
on the concentrated ore, there is a possibility of obtaining a smelting concentrate at a moderate
We may assume, for example, that the ore can be mined to contain 40 per cent, of iron at
a cost of $1 per ton, where the 50-per-cent ore cost $2 to mine. Adding the fixed charge of
10 cents and the royalty of 40 cents (50 cents for a 50-per-cent. ore), the crude ore will cost
$1.50 per ton. The crushing to 80 mesh and magnetic concentration may cost 80 cents per ton,
making a total of $2.30. Suppose that 2 tons of ore yield 1 ton of a 70-per-cent. concentrate,
then the cost will be $4.60 per ton of concentrate. To this we must add a charge of, say, $1
for sintering and $1 for freight, making a total of $6.60 per ton. This corresponds to $9.45 per
ton of pig-iron, which is $1.45 more than the cost using raw 50-per-cent. ore at $4 a ton. The
saving in the smelting process, due to the use of a richer ore, would be in the order of $3 a ton
of iron, thus making a saving of about $1.55 per ton. The items of cost mentioned above have
been made higher, than usual on account of the increased cost of labour and supplies at the
present time.*
Messrs. Beckman and Linden in their report (Appendix XL) claim a net saving of $3 a ton
of iron by dressing a 50-per-cent ore up to 65 per cent, of iron. They consider the 65-per-eent.
ore to cost: 1.3 tons of ore at $4=$5.20, and cost of crushing, dressing, and sintering, $1.25 per
ton of concentrate, or. a total of $6.45 per ton, or $9.43 per ton of iron. In view of the loss of iron
in the tailings, they would probably need about 1.5 tons of ore, costing $6, while the crushing,
dressing, and sintering will cost, at present rates, about $2, making a cost of $8 per ton of concentrate, or $12.30 per ton of iron. This is an increase of $4.30 over the cost of using the raw
ore, and the saving in the furnace operation will be $2 or $3. Messrs. Beckman and Linden find
a gross saving of $4.79, but I believe this is an overestimate. In any case, even allowing for some
error in my own estimate, it appears that no material advantage would be gained by dressing
a 50-per-cent. ore to obtain one of 65 per cent.
In the Swedish practice a moderate proportion, perhaps 25 per cent, of concentrated ore,
" slig," is used unbriquetted in admixture with lump ore, but finely crushed concentrates canuot
be used to any great extent in the charge. If the preliminary reduction process (Appendix XII.)
is found to be practicable, the ore will have to be crushed, and magnetic dressing will form an
essential part of the scheme. The metallized powder can be melted without briquetting, because
it will be, largely, a simple melting operation and there will not be a great production of gas
in the furnace.
* The foregoing figures refer to a short ton of iron instead  of a long ton,  but as  the discussion  is
comparative no serious error has thus been introduced. L 36 Bureau of Mines. 1919
The possibility of the commercial operation of an electric-smelting plant for the production
of pig-iron from iron ore depends on an adequate supply of electric power at a moderate rate.
For the electric smelting of iron ores a large amount of power is needed, the amount varying
somewhat with the richness of the ore, the grade of iron to be produced, and the kind of furnace
employed. Under usual conditions the consumption of electrical power for each long ton of
pig-iron lies between one-third and one-half of a horse-power year. For the production of
foundry iron from rather low-grade ores, and in a simple pit furnace, it will not be safe to
count on the production of more than 2 long tons of iron per annum for each electric horse-power
supplied to the works. For a production of 50 tons of pig-iron daily some 8,000 or 9,000 electric
horse-power will be needed, arid if provision is made for the production of ferro-alloys and the
making of steel in electric furnaces, some 10,000 to 15,000 horse-power must be provided.
It was recognized that such a supply could be obtained by developing certain water-powers
on Vancouver island or on the mainland, but in view of the need of establishing the smelting
' industry at the earliest possible date, and of the extreme difficulty and expense of new development-work under present conditions, it was decided, if possible, to use power that was already
developed for the initial operation of the plant, and to defer until later the development of fresh
power for the permanent operation of the industry.
With this in view a letter was written from the Department of Mines to the general manager
of each of the power companies of British Columbia, as follows:—
June 4th,  1918.
Dear Sir,—Will you kindly furnish me at your very earliest convenience with the following
information :—
Whether your company is in a position to supply electrical power, starting, say, at 15,000
electrical horse-power, in the hope of increasing the power within a few years up to 50,000 electrical
At what point could you supply it?
The cost for the same, showing how the cost is estimated.
The voltage  and  frequency of  the  electric  current.
The extent to which a constant supply can be depended' on.
I desire to have this information in order to be prepared with the statistics requisite for a
thorough investigation into the possibilities of establishing electric iron-furnaces in British Columbia,
which will be investigated by Dr. Alfred Stansfield, of Montreal, who is expected to arrive here on
the 10th inst.
Yours faithfully.
The following replies were received :—
British Columbia Electric Railway Co., Ltd.,
. Hastings and Carrall Streets,
Vancouver, B.C., June 10th, 1918.
The Hon. Wm. Sloan,
Minister of Mines,
Parliament Buildings,  Victoria, B.C.
Dear Sir:
Power for Electric Furnaces.
With reference to your letter dated June 5th, enclosing questions regarding the power available
from my company's plants for the operation of electric-smelting furnaces, the following data may
assist Dr. Alfred Stansfield in his investigation of this subject:—.
Our hydro-electric plants are now developed to supply a greater demand for power than exists
at the present time, and a portion of this energy might be used for the operation of electric furnaces.
You give no information regarding the load factor or power factor at which this energy could be
taken, and the amount of power which we could supply necessarily depends on these factors. It is
probable, however, that we could furnish 15,000 electrical horse-power with the power-factor and
load-factor conditions under which electric furnaces generally  operate.
As regards increasing the supply of power from 15,000 horse-power to 50,000 horse-power during
the next few years, our Coquitlam-Buntzen power scheme is now fully developed, and it would not
be possible to install additional machinery at either of our Lake Buntzen plants. We have, however, in view other water-power schemes on which stream-flow data is now being obtained and which
could be developed in the future as the need arises.    It might also be possible for us to purchase an 9 Geo. 5 Electric Smelting of Iron Ore. L 37
increasing amount of energy if the load conditions on our system warranted such action. My
company is therefore in a particularly favourable position to supply the energy which would be
required for a large power-load, subject to great expansion.
From the point of view of power-supply, an electric-furnace plant should he located, if possible,
in close proximity to the power-house supplying energy for its operation.
Our water-power plants are located on the east shore of the North arm of Burrard inlet, about
fourteen miles from the city of Vancouver. The North arm is almost entirely surrounded by high
mountains which slope steeply to the water's edge, and there is therefore comparatively little level
ground available on which buildings or other structures could be erected. There is, however, a small
piece of level ground, triangular in shape, and about % acre in extent, at the north end of our No. 1
Power-house, but whether this piece of ground would be sufficiently large I do not know. The
advantages of locating the electric-furnace plant adjacent to our power-house may be summarized as
follows :—
(1.) Power could be supplied directly from the power-house bus-bars at 2,300 volts, or possibly
at a slightly higher voltage. The use of transformers to step up to a voltage suitable for transmission would thus be avoided, and the construction of additional transmission-lines would be
unnecessary. If power were taken at any point on our existing transmission-lines, the voltage would
be approximately 34,600.
(2.) Two or more of our generating units could be set aside to supply the furnaces, and this
load could therefore be entirely independent of our transmission system. In order to make a similar
arrangement for any other location of the furnace plant, the construction of a separate transmission-
line from the power-house, to the furnaces would be necessary. The operation of the furnace plant
independently of the remainder of our system would have obvious advantages, both from the standpoint of the consumer vand of the power company.
(3.) A substantial concrete wharf equipped with a power-operated derrick is available at No. 1
Power-house. There'is sufficient depth of water at this wharf to allow large scows and steamers of
fair size to tie up.
(4.) An abundant supply of pure fresh water at a low temperature and at a pressure of
approximately 175 lb. per square inch is available at Power-house No. 1.
On account of the location of this plant, the air is clean and contains fewer impurities than
would be found in air nearer the city.
If the location at the north end of Power-house No. 1 does not provide sufficient area, another
site might be found about half a mile north of No. 1 Power-house. The construction of a plant at
that point, however, would involve the building of a short piece of transmission-line over very rough
country and the use of transformers, etc.
It is extremely difficult,to reply by letter fully and satisfactorily to your questionnaire, but we
shall be glad to go into this matter with Dr. Stansfield on his arrival in British Columbia should
he desire to investigate the capacity of our plants.
Yours faithfully,
(Signed.)     George Kidd,
General Manager.
Western Power Company of Canada, Limited,
Vancouver, B.C., June 13th, 1918.
Hon-. Wm. Sloan,
Minister of Mines, Victoria, B.C.
-Dear Sir,—I have your communication of June 5th," asking for information in respect to the
possibility of a considerable power-supply for electric iron-furnaces, and I must apologize for delay in
making answer.
/ Western Power Company of Canada, Limited, has now in operation in its plant at Stave Falls
three 13,000-horse-power units capable of supplying a maximum demand of about 25,000 kilowatts.
Of this power the British Columbia Electric Railway Company may demand 15,000 kilowatts, and
the balance is nearly all taken up by the company's other customers.
The company has the greater part of the machinery on hand for the installation of the fourth
13,000-horse-power unit, which can be installed when necessary at a comparatively small cost. The
turbine for this unit is, however, at the factory in Zurich, Switzerland, where it was built, and
there is some question as to when it could be shipped. If this unit were installed. Western Power
Company of Canada, Limited, would be in a position to sell 7,000 to 9,000 kilowatts more than at
The company has a second site lower down on the Stave river which, if developed in conjunction
with the existing plant, could be built very economically, and from this site there could be produced
about 40,000 horse-power continuously.
There is nothing in the development of this lower site which would cause the construction to take
longer than usual for this class of work.
Power could be delivered from either of these plants at any point between Stave Falls and
Vancouver. The most economical point of delivery, so far as power is concerned, would, however, be
at Ruskin, which is close to the power-site. In some ways Ruskin would be an advantageous spot
for the establishment of an iron-smelter, but if a point on or near Burrard inlet were selected the
transmission-line would not be more than twenty-five miles long.
With the above-mentioned developments a very reliable and constant supply of power could be
depended upon,  for the  power plant has a storage-reservoir twenty-four square miles in area and L 38 Bureau of Mines. 1919
25 feet deep; besides, the large snow-field and glaciers which feed the Stave river tend to give great
regularity in the annual flow, and no trouble of any kind is experienced in operating the plant in
winter on account of ice.
The electric current supplied by Western Power Company of Canada, Limited, is of frequency
60 cycles and can be supplied at 60,000 or 12,000 volts. The company has just connected up a 6-ton
electric furnace, which has been installed at the works of the Aetna Iron and Steel Company, at Port
Moody, and this furnace, which is now producing pig-iron from scrap, is operating very satisfactorily
on the 60-cycle current.
For the supply of electric power for smelting iron ores the question of the " cost of power " is
more difficult than the question of " quantity of supply." All the plants in the neighbourhood of
Vancouver have been designed and built for the supply of general power business, and it is a question
whether the electric-smelting furnace could pay a price for the power that would be remunerative to
the power companies.
For smelting steel the quantity of power required per ton of product is such that the steel-makers
can pay rates which, though low, are remunerative to the power companies. The amount of power
required per ton of iron produced from the ore is, however, so much greater than that required,for
merely melting iron or steel that the price of power for smelting would have to be very low, and it
is difficult to see how a price that would have to be secured for smelting would be remunerative to
the British Columbia Electric Railway Company or Western Power Company of Canada, Limited.
Western Power Company of Canada, Limited, is selling power to the British Columbia Electric
Railway Company at a price which is equal to three mills per kilowatt-hour, and while it would be
impossible for the company to sell more power at this low price, it might be possible to do something
in co-operation with the British Columbia Electric Railway Company.
It is difficult to present the whole situation in a letter, but the financial organization of Western
Power Company of Canada,- Limited, is very simple, and its costs are shown very clearly upon its
books and monthly statements, so that it would be an easy matter to show Dr. Stansfield exactly
how the situation stands. I would very much like to have the opportunity of explaining our costs
and possibilities in an interview, either with yourself or with Dr. Stansfield, as my company is
interested in doing everything possible to establish the industry of electric smelting, and any information which we have will be at your disposal.
I am, dear Sir,
Yours very truly,
Western Power Company of Canada, Limited.
(Signed.)    R. F. Hayward,
General Manager.
Canadian Collieries  (Dunsmuir), Limited,
Victoria, B.C., June 21st, 1918.
Hon. Wm. Sloan,
Minister of Mines, Victoria, B.C.
Dear Sir,—Replying to your letter of June 5th re information required re electric iron-smelting
inquiry :
In reply to your question No. 1, we have developed on the Puntledge river about 10,000 horsepower, composed of two units of 5,000 horse-power each. One unit is^about working to its capacity,
the" second being kept in reserve. We would not be able to supply anything like the power ^you
mention without adding further units. The plant is partly developed for another 10,000 horse-power,
which would be the total capacity of the plant owing to the volume of water that can he taken out
of Comox lake.
I would be glad some time at your convenience to discuss the power situation with you with
a view to any iron-development taking over the power plant as a whole and our installing individual
steam plants at each mine.
Yours  truly,
(Signed.)    J. M.  Savage,
General Manager.
The West Kootenay Power and Light Co., Ltd.,
Rossland, B.C., June 13th, 1918.
Hon. Wm. Sloan,
Minister of Mines, .Victoria, B.C.
Dear Mr. Sloan,—I beg to acknowledge receipt of yours of the 7th re power-supply for electric
At present our developed power is all contracted for, and to supply 15,000 horse-power it would
be necessary to extend our hydro-electric plant at Bonnington, and for your information would state
that we would be able to supply up to 50,000 horse-power.
It will take some time to prepare an estimate as to the cost of developing the power required,
and before starting on this I would be very pleased to meet Dr. Alfred Stansfield in order to get
further information.    In other words, if it so worked out that power could -be used at the point of 9 Geo. 5 Electric Smelting of Iron Ore. L 39
development, then we would be in a position to quote a lower price than if we were called upon to
transmit at any distance, and it appears to me that if you could arrange a meeting it would place
me in a very much better position to comply with your request.
Yours very truly,
West Kootenay Power and Light Co., Ltd.
(Signed.)    L. O. Campbell,
General- Manager.
During my visit to British Columbia I had interviews on this subject with Mr. George Kidd
and other officials of the British Columbia Electric Railway Company; with Mr. R. F. Hayward,
General Manager of the Western Power Company; and with Mr. J. M. Savage, General Manager
of the Canadian Collieries, Limited. In view of the necessity of locating the proposed plant on
or near tide-water, it was not worth while to discuss the possibility of obtaining power from the
West Kootenay Power Company.
The information obtained verbally from the above-mentioned officials was substantially as
The Western Power Company have some unused electric power, but this has been contracted
to the British Columbia Electric Railway Company. If this contract could be set aside, the
former company might be able to supply as much as 15,000 horse-power, at a rate of, say, $15,
for a few years until it was needed for better-paying purposes. On the other hand, the British
Columbia Electric Railway Company might be willing themselves to resell this block of power
for electric smelting. Although the development expenses of these companies have undoubtedly
been high, they could apparently make a reasonable profit by the sale of power at $15. As,
however, their usual sale price is not less than $25, it would not pay thdm to tie up power at
$15 which they might be able in a year or two to sell at $25. This argument would not hold
in normal times, because they could develop some of their reserve power to supply the growing
market; but at the present time it is very undesirable to have to undertake any fresh development, and the power companies naturally wish to sell their developed power to the best advantage.
It may be noted that $25 a horse-power year probably refers to an 80-per-cent load factor,
under which conditions the cost is substantially 0.5 cent per kilowatt-hour. Under regular
working conditions an electric-smelting plant should use about 90 per cent, of its maximum
load, and $25 power would then cost about 0.43 cent per kilowatt-hour, or, conversely, 0.5-cent
power would represent nearly $30 a horse-power year.
The British Columbia Electric Railway Company have some unused power on Vancouver
island, but the amount is less than they have on the mainland, and the supply on the island is
less dependable owing to the danger of dry seasons.
The Canadian Collieries, Limited, have a water-power on the Puntledge river of which
10,000 horse-power has already been developed, and a further 10,000 horse-power is available
for development. Of the 10,000 horse-power now developed, some 5,000 horse-power is employed
at the mines, leaving only 5,000 horse-power unused. The management are considering the use
of steam-power at the mines in place of electrical power on account of its greater reliability
and its small cost, using coal from the mine. It is therefore possible that, if they could obtain
a market for the 10,000 horse-power now developed, they might decide to make the above change.
I have at present no information with regard to the price at which they would be willing .to
sell this power. Such an arrangement would afford an immediate supply of 10,000 horse-power,
and an additional 10,000 horse-power when development-work again becomes possible.
As it appeared that the surplus developed power of the Western Power Company was controlled by the British Columbia Electric Railway Company, I discussed the situation fully with
Mr. George Kidd, of the latter company, and wrote him the following letter:—:
Vancouver, B.C., June 18th, 1918.
Dear Mr. Kidd,—I have been appointed, as you are aware, by the Provincial Government to
obtain information in regard to the commercial possibility of smelting the magnetite ores of British
Columbia by means of electrical power, and for this purpose I should be greatly obliged if you could
furnish me with information with regard to the amount and cost of electrical power which it would
be possible for your company to place at the disposal of any firm undertaking such operations.
In the smelting of iron ore by electrical energy, the amount of power needed per ton of pig-iron
is somewhat high, being in the order of 0.4 electrical-horse-power year, and it is therefore necessary,
in order to produce pig-iron commercially, that the cost of this power shall be as low as possible, and
shall be considerably below the prices at which such power is sold for mechanical use. L 40 Bureau of Mines. - 1919
Speaking from memory, the cost of power in Sweden, which is the only locality in which the
electric smelting of iron ores has become a commercial fact, is below $10 per eleotrical-horse-power
year, but it seems reasonable to suppose that in this Province, in view of the higher price of pig-
iron and supplies generally, a somewhat higher figure would not be out of the question, say as high
as $15 per horse-power year. I understand that you could not offer a figure so low as that under
ordinary commercial conditions, but only by some special arrangement, as surplus power which you
would not guarantee to supply for any definite length of time.
My impression with regard to the development of such a project would be that a furnace using
perhaps 2,000 kw. would first be installed, and that after the experimental stage larger furnaces
would be put in so as to use 5,000 or 6,000 horse-power, with the expectation of increasing the consumption to about 10,000 horse-power, or possibly as much as 15,000 horse-power. At the latter
figure the production of pig-iron would be about 100 tons per day, which is, I believe, as much as
would be needed in the near future in this locality.
For the commercial smelting of iron ores electrically it will undoubtedly be desirable to locate
the plant ultimately at some point remote from a large city, where the power could be developed
specially for this purpose at the cheapest rate and without any cost for transmission. In view,
however, of the fact that the electric smelting of iron ore has not reached its final condition in
regard to details of furnace-construction, and possibly even in more fundamental respects, it seems
undesirable in the start to undertake a new development of power for this purpose, and the more
satisfactory method appears to be to obtain power from your own or other developed system for a
period of, say, four or five years, with the intention of obtaining a fresh source of power and
rebuilding the plant at the end of that period.
With respeot to the details of the supply, I may say that the load factor for electric iron-
smelting purposes has been very satisfactory, and would probably be as high as 90 per cent, after the
initial difficulties of a new plant had been overcome. I have no definite information with respect to
the possibility of modifying the demand so as to avoid the peak-load of a distributing system, but in
my opinion this would be possible, so that, for example, if the furnaces were using 10,000 horse-power
the draught could be reduced to perhaps two-thirds of this amount during three or four hours of the
day during the peak-load. It would be possible, further, to run a larger number of furnaces during
the winter months, when your water-supply was ample, than in the summer months, when there
might be a shortage of water, but this would, of course, reduce the output from a given cost of
electrical installation.
The power factor of these furnaces has been found to be very high in Sweden, where the
supply is one of 25 cycles, but in California, using a 60-cyele supply, the power factor of the furnace
has been found to vary from nearly unity when the furnace is empty to as low as 65 per cent, when
the furnace is ready for tapping. I should think, however, that if special attention were paid to this
side of the design of furnace, it could be made to keep the power factor above 80 per cent, at all
With respect to the voltage of the supply, I may point out that in these furnaces the regulation is effected by a series of taps on the primary of the service transformers, there being usually
three such transformers for each furnace which are independently regulated'. On account of this the
transformers are of special design, and the primary voltage would not be more than about 10,000,
and preferably in the order of 2,000.
With regard to the location of an electric-smelting plant, I cannot speak at all definitely, but
as a basis for discussion it would be satisfactory for you to take the site at Port Moody, adjacent
to the present electric-furnace plant.
Further, with regard to the date at which the use of power might be expected to commence, it
will require a month or two for the completion of this report, and for the Government to study dt,
after which, if action were decided on immediately, I understand that in view of the difficulty of
obtaining electrical supplies it would be necessary to allow as long as twelve months for the construction of the plant, which would thus place the possible start of operations in the fall of 1919.
I believe that the above will give you the more essential facts with regard to the possible use of
electric power for smelting iron ores. I expect in the course of a week or ten days to be back in
Vancouver, and will then be able to give you further information in view of the conditions which I
expect to find in California. I should be very glad if in the meantime you could draw up some
memorandum which would give me information in regard to the price and amount of power which
might be available for this purpose and any available particulars with regard to the conditions of
the supply.
I remain,
Yours very truly,
(Signed.)    Alfred Stansfield.
In view of the fundamental importance of the information asked for, I was hoping to receive
a reply before leaving British Columbia. On returning from California early in July, I found
that no reply had been prepared, and that the street-railway strike would make it impossible
for the company to supply the information in the near future. I was therefore obliged to prepare
my report without any definite information in regard to the price at which power could be
obtained. Under the circumstances, I made the provisional assumption that some 10,000 kw.
.of electrical power could he obtained at a cost of $15 per electrical-horse-power year of about
85 or 90 per cent, load factor. \ 9 Geo. 5 Electric Smelting of Iron Ore. L 41
On September 19th, when my report was nearly completed, I received the following letter
from Mr. George Kidd:—
British Columbia Electric Railway Co., Ltd.,
Vancouver, B.C., September 12th, 1918.
Dr. Alfred Stansfield,
Department of Metallurgy,
McGill University, Montreal.
Dear Sir :
Electric Smelting of Iron  Ores.
With reference to your recent visit to this Province and in regard to the information then
promised you respecting the supply of electric power available in the districts served by this company
on the mainland and Vancouver island for the purpose of smelting iron ores, I regret that there has
been unavoidable delay in submitting this data at an earlier date.
Mainland (Vancouver and Districts).—Since our representatives discussed with you the power
situation there has been a very considerable change in local conditions, caused by contracts having
been entered into disposing of our excess electrical energy on a surplus-power basis. Any contracts
entered into would not, therefore, have to be made on a commercial-rate basis.
We would be willing to enter into short-term contracts to furnish power from 2,000 to 10,000
kw. for restricted service during this company's peak-load periods from its water-power plants at a
rate of 0.5 cent per kilowatt-hour, based on a power factor of 80 per cent. Should the average
monthly power factor fall below 80 per cent., then this rate of 0.5 cent per kilowatt-hour would be
increased in the ratio of 80 to the actual average monthly power factor at which the furnace is
operated. The minimum charge would be 50 cents per month per connected horse-power, based on
the full capacity of the furnace installation.
There are two sites on the east shore of Burrard inlet which may prove suitable for an electric
iron-ore-smelting plant. One of these is at a distance of half a mile north of No. 1 Power-house;
the other is about five miles south of No. 1 Power-house, in the vicinity of Bidwell bay. There is no
data available regarding the areas of vacant land at these places, and it is impossible to say whether
sufficient level ground could be obtained.
The site half a mile north of No. 1 Power-house would be most suitable from the power-supply
standpoint, and would involve the construction of only half a mile of transmission-line.
The Port Moody location, referred to by you, would be satisfactory from a rail-transportation
point of view, and by the time an electric-smelting plant would be ready for operation we would
probably arrange to supply the necessary power at that point.
Vancouver Island (Victoria and District).—On Vancouver island we have at present an excess
of power of about 2,000 kw. which we are prepared to dispose of on a surplus-power basis at $15
per electrioal-horse-power year, in blocks of not less than 500 kw. and the power factor to be not
less than 80 per cent. This figure is not a commercial rate, but an experimental rate, and could
only be granted for a short-term contract, and, of course, subject to peak-load restrictions and depending upon the amount of storage-water which we may have available in our reservoirs during the dry
This amount of power could not be reserved, and would only be available after the filling of all
requirements for electrical energy for the company's use and those of its present and future
In respect to available sites on the island, there are several which may be found suitable. One
at Jordan river, near our power plant; another at Brentwood, on the Saanich peninsula, adjacent
to our steam auxiliary power plant.    Other sites might be found at Sooke harbour or near Esquimalt.
Covering both the mainland and island systems, 3-phase, 60-cycle, alternating current would be
supplied at or near our existing transmission-lines, which are of sufficient capacity to supply the
furnace plant; the transmission-line voltage would be 34,600 or 11,000, depending upon the location
on the mainland,  and 60,000 volts on the island.
I trust the above will generally cover the information desired, and should there be any further
particulars needed we shall be very glad to supply same upon hearing from you in this matter.
Yours faithfully,
(Signed.)    George Kidd,
General Manager.
Before leaving British Columbia I wrote the following letter, at present unanswered, with
a view to obtaining further information about the supply of power from the Canadian Collieries,
Victoria, B.C., July 9th, 1918.
Honourable William Sloan,
Minister of Mines, Victoria, B.C.
Sir,—In the letter to yourself of June 21st from the Canadian Collieries with regard to power
for electric smelting, Mr. Savage states that he might be willing to install steam plants at each of
his mines and to turn over the whole of the hydro-electric power for the purpose of iron-smelting.
This would apparently supply 10,000 horse-power already developed, with a further 10,000 horse-power
now partly developed. L 42 Bureau of Mines. 1919
I should be glad to learn, for the purpose of my report, at about what price per horse-power year
of 80 per cent, load factor he would be able to supply these blocks of 10,000 or 20,000 horse-power for
the purpose of electric iron-smelting at a point on tide-water in Comox harbour or Baynes sound.
I regret that owing to Mr. Savage's absence from the city I have not been able to discuss these
matters with him personally.
I have the honour to be,
Your obedient servant,
(Signed.)    Alfred Stansfield.
With a view to the future development of the electric-smelting industry, I obtained information with regard to water-powers in British Columbia that could he developed for the purpose of
electric smelting. In general, it appeared that there was ample power available, and that some
of these powers could be developed so cheaply as to yield electric power for smelting purposes
at about $10 per continuous horse-power year. Mr. H. K. Dutcher, of Vancouver, considered
that the following powers could be developed at about that cost:—
Campbell river   100,000
Cheakamus river, Howe sound  200,000
Stamp falls, Alberni       40,000
Mr. William Young, Comptroller of Water Rights, Victoria, gave me the following particulars
with regard to the Campbell River and Stamp Falls power-sites:—
Memorandum re Campbell River Power-site.
The drainage area is approximately 520 square miles; no definite precipitation data are available, but the British Columbia Hydrometric Survey report a variation from 80 inches at the mouth
to 130 inches at headwaters.
Gore & McGregor's second report proposes the erection of a dam at Irene pool, mean water-level
at this place being 415 feet; the power-house to be situated on the canyon, with an assumed flood-
level of 98 feet.    The proposed  elevation of the  dam is 440 feet, giving a head of 342 feet.
A constant discharge of 2,700 c.f.s. is assumed, calculated to develop 78,000 to 80,000 horsepower, with another 6.000 horse-power by storage. This discharge is, however, too high, as the mean
over six years is 2,650 c.f.s., with a minimum of 450 c.f.s., and1 one low-water period of nine weeks
below 1,000 c.f.s. On the Strathcona survey map, tracing of part of which is attached, the level of
Lower Campbell lake and Mclvor lake is given as 543 feet.
Stamp  Falls Development—Summary  of Report by Ritchie-Agneio Power Co., Ltd.
Drainage  area    360 sq. miles.
Results of seven months' gaugings, continuous flow available  . . 2,394   cu.-sec.   feet.
Estimated run-off per square mile of drainage area   6 cu.-sec. feet.
Estimated storage per square mile of drainage area from short
mass diagram   716 acre-feet.
Estimated mean annual run-off   2,160 cu.-sec. feet.
Storage available on Great Central lake, dam 20 feet high 307,200 acre-feet, or
853 acre-feet per
sq. mile of drainage area.
Pipe-lines,   three   11   feet  diameter   and  one   7   feet  6   inches
diameter    600 feet long.
Intake dam, crest length 605 feet.
'Maximum height   90 feet.
Mean effective head ■ HO feet.
Power available based on 60 per cent, load factor, 80 per cent.
efficiency factor   35,000 horse-power.
Proposed installation, three units 10.000 horse-power;
5,600 kw.
Proposed installation, one unit 5,000   horse-power ;
3,000 kw.
Transmission-lines to Alberni, seven miles   12,000 volts.
Transmission-lines to Nanaimo, sixty miles   66;000 volts.
The Stamp Falls power is estimated at 35,000 horse-power on a basis of 60 per cent, load
factor. As, however, an electric-smelting plant would operate at 85 per cent, or even 90 per cent,
load factor, this will only correspond to about 24,000 horse-power or 18,000 kw. Such a power
could be developed and utilized entirely for electric smelting. The plant could, he located at or
near Port Alberni, with a seven-mile transmission-line, and could obtain iron ores from the
deposits around Barkley sound, from Nootka sound, and from the Renfrew district.    An alterna- 9 Geo. -5 Electric Smelting of Iron Ore. L 43
tive plan would be to transmit the power about fourteen miles to Deep bay, on the east coast
of the island, where ores could be obtained readily from Texada island and Redonda island.
The Campbell River estimate indicates about 84,000 continuous horse-power, or 100,000 horsepower, at 84 per cent, load factor. This would be more than could be utilized for electric
smelting in the near future, and it would be necessary to develop it for use in part by some other
large consumer of electric power. An electric smelter placed on tide-water within a short distance
of the proposed power-house would be supplied with ore very readily from Redonda island, and
also from the deposits No. 4 and No. 5 in the Quinsam Lake district.
The water-power available on'the Cheakamus river is estimated at 200,000 horse-power,
which is twice as large as the Campbell River power, and would need development in conjunction
with other power-users. It is' not situated so conveniently with regard to the ore-supplies as the
powers on Vancouver island, and it may ultimately be needed for the development of Vancouver
City.   .
With regard to the general estimate that these water-powers would yield electric power for
smelting at about $10 a continuous horse-power year, it will be understood that such development
would'be out of the question at the present time in view of the high cost of labour and supplies
and the difficulty of obtaining apparatus. In view of the present unsettled state of labour, it
is useless to try to predict how long it may be before these costs become low enough to permit
of economic construction, or whether costs will ever again revert to pre-war levels. It seems
probable, however, that within a few years after the termination of the war, wages and costs in
general will arrive at some more settled condition; and even if these are twice as high as before
the war, that will not prevent construction-work, as the price of commodities generally will also
be much higher than before the war and will tend to assume a definite relationship to the
enhanced cost of labour and supplies.
The bearing of this consideration on the electric smelting of iron ores in British Columbia
may be stated as follows: Before the war with electric power at $10, and other costs as they
were then, the cost of a ton of electric pig-iron, using the Swedish process, would be between
$20 and $25, leaving only a-small profit, as pig-iron was selling at $25, unless a higher price could
have been obtained for electric pig-iron. If, after the war, prices were to settle down at double
the pre-war figures, electric power would cost $20 and pig-iron would bring $50, while labour
would be about as high as at present. The cost of making electric pig-iron might be about $45,
leaving the same proportionate profit as before the war. The reason which makes electric
pig-iron making profitable at the present time is the temporary dislocation of prices during which
the cost of pig-iron and steel has risen more rapidly than the cost of power, labour, and other
In regard to the cost of power for electric smelting, it may be pointed out that in developing
a power for this purpose the turbines and electrical machinery will cost less per kilowatt-hour
utilized than in the case of a power plant for ordinary power-users. This is because the load
from a smelting plant can be kept almost constant for twenty-four hours daily and 365 days in
the year, whereas an ordinary plant has to supply a very varying load, and so the machinery
is not used to the best advantage. It follows that electrical power for smelting purposes can
be developed to cost considerably less per kilowatt-hour than when developed for ordinary use.
In the electric smelting of iron ores, carbonaceous material is needed for reducing the ore
to the metallic state and for supplying carbon to the pig-iron. The amount needed varies from
about % to % ton per ton of pig-iron produced. For this purpose either charcoal or coke may
be used, but charcoal is preferable on account of its greater purity—that is, freedom from
sulphur and ash—and because its physical condition renders it more suitable for electric-furnace
operation.    For the production of special grades of pig-iron charcoal would always be preferred, L 44 Bureau of Mines. 1919
but for ordinary grades a good quality of coke, if obtainable at a low price, might be employed
on account of its smaller cost. In British Columbia, however, nearly all the coals are abnormally
high in sulphur and ash, and the cost of coke produced from them is so high that there is no
inducement to use it instead of charcoal in a country where timber is so abundant. While,
however, charcoal should be regarded as the normal supply of reducing carbon, coke can be
used to some extent in admixture with charcoal as a substitute without seriously affecting the
operation of the furnace, and it can be used in this way in case of shortage of charcoal.
There is at present no large-scale production of charcoal in British Columbia, and the small
quantities now obtainable cost in the order of $30 a ton, a price which would be prohibitive for
iron-smelting. The production of 20 or 30 tons of charcoal daily constitutes an important
industry, utilizing 50 to 70 cords of mill-waste and yielding by-products that will meet a
part of the cost of operation. The problems involved are many and complicated, and before
discussing them in detail it may be stated: (1) That the mill-waste of Douglas fir should be
suitable for the production of charcoal for electric smelting; (2) that while the lumber-mills
in and near Vancouver utilize their waste very largely, there are mills situated at more remote
points from which an adequate supply of waste could be obtained at a nominal cost; (3) that
the by-products from this material are not so valuable as to make it desirable to treat the
wood in retorts for the recovery of turpentine, etc., regarding the charcoal as a by-product, but
that it should be possible to char the wood on a large, scale for the production of charcoal and
still to recover a part of the by-products; such a plant would be located at or near one or more
sawmills, and the charcoal would be transported by water to the smelting plant; (4) if a
charcoal industry were established in suitable relationship to the lumber industry, charcoal
should be produced and delivered to the smelter at a cost of about $6 or $8 per ton, corresponding
to $3 or $4 per long ton of pig-iron.
An electric iron-smelting industry in British Columbia will almost certainly use charcoal,
wholly or in large part, for the reduction of the iron ore. The establishment on an economical
basis of a charcoal-making industry will therefore be essential to the commercial production of
electric pig-iron.
Methods of Charcoal-making.
Charcoal is used in some parts of the world for the production of " charcoal-iron " in small
blast-furnaces. In general, hard woods are preferred for making this charcoal, because the
resulting charcoal is stronger and better able to stand the load in the furnace without crushing,
and because hard woods yield more valuable by-products in their distillation, which meet to a
considerable extent the cost of the operation.
For the electric smelting of iron ores the strength of the charcoal is less important, because
the height of the shaft is less, even in the Swedish furnace, and because, unlike the blast-furnace,
no blast of air need be forced through the charge, although in the Swedish furnace there is a
circulation of the furnace gases.
In Sweden the charcoal for electric smelting (as well as for blast-furnaces) is made from
soft wood, and the charcoal-making is carried on at numerous points throughout the country,
using in part the waste wood from the lumbering industries.
E. Arosenius (International Institute of Agriculture, Rome, January, 191S) gives some
particulars of the Swedish charcoal industry. He states that the raw materials used in Swedish
sawmills are soft woods, mainly Scotch pine and spruce. He estimates as follows the production
and uses of charcoal h\ Sweden during 1.913:— Bushels
Forest wood charred in ovens       8,000,000
Wood-waste charred in piles       29,000,000
Wood-waste charred in ovens        1,300,000
Forest wood charred in piles  (about)        75,500,000
Charcoal imported from Finland and Norway       3,300,000
Charcoal used in metallurgical works   117,300,000
For rough purposes we may assume a bushel of charcoal to weigh 20 lb., so that the consumption in Sweden must be over 1,000,000 tons.    If this were .all used in electric smelting it 9 Geo. 5 Electric Smelting of Iron Ore. L 45
would represent a production of at least 2,000,000 tons of pig-iron. Actually, however, a large
proportion is still employed in charcoal blast-furnaces and in the production of wrought iron,
for which purposes the consumption of charcoal per ton of iron is much larger.
I have not been able, in the time available, to obtain full particulars of Swedish charcoal-
making, but I would recommend that such information should be obtained before deciding on
the methods to be used in British Columbia.
In the Coast districts of British Columbia the largest production of any variety of timber
is the Douglas fir. In 1917 some 676,000,000 board-feet of this wood was cut in these districts.
The Douglas fir appears to be suitable for the production of charcoal, and I have, for my own
information, made a small amount of satisfactory charcoal from a sample of this wood.
Apart from the use of " piles," which we need scarcely consider, charcoal is made in " kilns;"
in " retorts," and in " ovens."
Kilns.—These are large brick structures holding as much as 50 cords of wood. The heat
needed is furnished by the combustion, within the kiln, of part of -the volatile products and a
little of the charcoal itself. A part of the by-products can be recovered, the loss of charcoal is
not very great, and this is probably the cheapest method of making charcoal in cases where the
by-products are of secondary importance.
Retorts.—These are small, expensive to operate, and only warranted when large amounts
of valuable by-products are obtainable.
Ovens.—These are large retorts. The wood to be charred is contained in cars which are
run into the ovens, and after the operation the cars, which now contain the charcoal, are run
out and placed in large steel boxes where they can cool out of contact with the air. The ovens
are heated externally by means of waste wood and the distillation gases. Ovens give a maximum
production of the volatile by-products and the- charcoal, and are largely used for charring hard
In the charring of hard woods, such as beech, birch, and maple, considerable amounts of
valuable by-products are obtained. These are wood-alcohol, acetate of lime, and tar. At the
present time the value of these products is greater than that of the charcoal, and it pays to treat
such woods in ovens in order to obtain the by-products. The soft woods have different distillation products, and it does not always pay to char them in ovens. Some of these, such as the
long-leaf pine, yield considerable amounts of turpentine, pine-oils, and tar, while the production
of alcohol and acetic acid is usually too small to pay for their recovery. The following is an
average yield from 1 cord of pine-wood (United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service
Circular 114, 1907) :—
Refined turpentine      7-12 gallons.
Total oils, including tar  :  50-75       „
Tar     40-60
Charcoal     25-35 bushels.
The. turpentine is of inferior quality and the operation has often been unsuccessful
In British Columbia the Douglas fir is the w'ood that would probably be used for charcoal-
making. Tests have been made on the production of turpentine and pine-oils from this timber,
and by the use of selected resinous material considerable quantities of these products have been
obtained, both by the ordinary charring process and by steam distillation—the latter being preferable for the production of turpentine and oils. The latter process has appeared particularly
attractive because the oils have been found to be suitable for use in the flotation process.
Careful investigation has shown, however, that the yield of these by-products from the average
run of Douglas fir is so much less than is obtained from the southern pines that the process
holds out little hope of commercial success. In view of this it would seem best to char the wood
in the cheapest possible manner for the production of charcoal, and either to ignore the byproducts altogether, or to save only such as could be obtained at slight additional expense.
Reference may be made to a paper on the "Destructive Distillation of Fir Waste," by
George M. Hunt, of the Forest Products Laboratory of the United States Department of Agriculture, Madison, Wisconsin. The paper deals specially with the yields of valuable products obtained
by the distillation of Douglas fir. The following is the result of a series of experiments on the
destructive distillation of mill-waste:— L 46
Bureau of Mines.
Table I.—Average Yields of Valuable Products per Cord of 3,800 Lb. of Douglas Fir Mill-waste.
SO per
80 per
Acetate of
Still Tar.
Lake Washington  ..
Grays Harbour   ....
Average for State
The yield of turpentine and other oils is far less than is obtained from the southern pines,
and the combined value of the by-products is too small to warrant the use of the expensive retort
or oven process for their recovery.    Mr. Hunt states:—
" In the destructive distillation of Douglas fir the value of the charcoal obtained will be
more than the value of all the other products combined. Good charcoal, however, can be
produced by burning in kilns and allowing the by-products to go to waste. The simplicity of
a charcoal-kiln and the large units which may be employed make its first cost and subsequent
operation much cheaper than the operation of a complete distilling and refining plant, and,
unless the value of the extra products obtained at a complete plant is greater than the additional
cost of operation, there is no advantage whatever in saving them. The yields obtained in these
experiments do not show that there is any advantage."
He draws the following conclusions :— *
"(1.) The steam and extraction process is not applicable to Douglas fir on account of the
very low yield of turpentine and resin and the inferior quality of the latter.
"(2.) The utilization of Douglas fir stumps by destructive distillation is at present impracticable on account of of low yields and high cost of handling the raw material. The yields are
practically the same as from mill-waste, which can be more readily obtained and more cheaply
"(3.) The utilization of Douglas fir mill-waste by distillation has not in the past proved
successful, and under present market conditions, and with the methods of distilling and refining
now in use, it is of doubtful feasibility:—
"(a.) Because the yields are,  on the whole,  considerably lower than  those of the
southern pine and Norway pine, which are hard to distil at a profit:
"(b.) Because the products have not been standardized and successfully refined, and
are hard to sell:
"(c.)  Because there is only a limited market on the whole Pacific coast for  wood-
distillation products."
It will be seen from Table I. that a cord of mill-waste, weighing 3,800 lb. yields about
1,100 lb. of charcoal when treated in a retort.   The yield in a kiln woulcl be slightly less than
this, but it seems safe to assume that 2% cords of such waste would suffice for the production
of a net ton of charcoal.
The regular charcoal-kiln is a circular brick structure holding about 50 cords of wood. It
is charged and discharged by hand, and the volatile by-products are partly saved by being drawn
through condensers; the permanent gases being returned and burnt in the kiln. If a battery
of these kilns were established at a large lumber-mill so that the waste wood could be delivered
mechanically to the kilns, the production of a ton of charcoal might cost:—
2V2 cords of mill-waste at $1    $2 50
Labour and other expenses of operation after deducting the value of the
by-products       2 50
Carriage of charcoal to smelter      1 00
Total  $6 00
For the electric-smelting plant about 40 tons of charcoal would be needed daily. Each kiln
would yield 20 tons, but as the process is slow, requiring about fifteen days, some thirty kilns 9 Geo. 5 Electric Smelting of Iron Ore. L 47
would be needed. The consumption of mill-waste would be about 100 cords daily. The lumber-
mills in Vancouver are able to dispose of their waste as firewood in the city, but it seems reasonably probable that an adequate supply could be obtained at a nominal price by locating at one or
two mills away from the city. In regard to mill-waste, it should be remembered that a large
part of this is " slab-wood," and this consists largely of bark, which yields an inferior charcoal.
I made some charcoal from Douglas fir bark and found that the charcoal, although light and
weak, was coherent, and could probably be used for electric smelting in the open-pit type of
furnace in admixture with wood charcoal. The wood charcoal is extremely pure, containing
scarcely any ash, but the bark charcoal from my experiment contained as much as 3 per cent,
of ash. This probably indicates an appreciable amount of phosphorus, which would be undesirable when smelting for low-phosphorus pig-iron.
For the economical charring of mill-waste it seems likely that a kiln could be devised that
would allow of mechanical charging and discharging, and thus reduce the Charge for labour,
which must be the largest item in the cost of charcoal-making. I have given some attention
to the design of such a kiln, but realize that numerous, problems are involved, and that much
experimental work would be needed before a full-sized kiln could be constructed. The recovery
of by-products can be effected very economically by the use of the Cottrell electrical-precipitation
process. Dr. J. G. Davidson has made a special study of this, and expects to continue his
experiments at the plant of the Electrical Turpentine Syndicate in Vancouver.
One recent process for the production of charcoal is that of W. Thomas, which depends on
forcing heated distillation gases through the charge of wood. I met Mr. Thomas and visited
his plant in Nanaimo, but he had not at that time any information on which I could base a
conclusion in regard to the cost at which he could make charcoal. Messrs. McPherson and
Fullerton Bros, have, however, carried out a preliminary test with this process, and have sent
me figures from which I conclude that if mill-waste could be supplied at $1 a cord, charcoal
could be made at a cost of about $6 per net ton.
In regard to the possibility of establishing an electric-smelting plant in some more remote
location, such as the Campbell river, and in view of the difficulty and expense of carrying so
bulky and fragile a material as charcoal, it might be necessary to cut timber specially for
charcoal-making near the plant. Such timber felled, carried to the charcoal plant, and cut into
pieces of suitable size would be likely to cost at least $3 a cord, and allowing 2% cords per ton
of charcoal, the wood alone would cost $7.50. Taking the net cost of charring as $2.50, after
allowing for the value of the by-products, the 'final cost of a net ton of charcoal would be $10.
Charcoal Consumption per Ton of Pig-iron.
For the production of pig-iron in the electric furnace, I estimate on a consumption of 0.4 net
ton in the Swedish furnace, or 0.5 net ton in the open-pit furnace, per gross ton of pig-iron. In
view of the statement, frequently made, that only % ton of charcoal is. needed, I may explain
why the higher estimate should be accepted.
It is recognized that in the open electric furnace reduction of iron oxide is effected substantially by means of carbon, with the liberation of carbon monoxide, which burns above the charge
and is wasted. Theoretically, 1 ton of foundry pig-iron will need 0.269 ton of carbon for its
reduction from magnetite and about 0.035 ton for its carburization, assuming it to contain
3.5 per cent, of carbon. It will also need 0.026 ton of carbon for the reduction of 3 per cent,
of silicon. The combined carbon requirement will thus be 0.33 ton per ton of pig-iron. On
account of the well-known purity of wood charcoal, it is often assumed that it contains at least
90 per cent, of carbon, and that some 0.38 ton of charcoal will be sufficient per ton of pig-iron.
Actually, however, charcoal contains from 70 to 75 per cent, of fixed carbon; the average over a
long period in Sweden being 73 per cent.; the balance being volatile matter and moisture, and accordingly some 0.44 to 0.47 ton of charcoal must be provided. In view of the custom of weighing
iron by the long ton and charcoal by the short ton, it appears that % net ton of charcoal will
be required. There is, indeed, a small amount of reduction by carbon monoxide, even in the
open furnace, but this will be balanced by the combustion of charcoal at the top of the furnace
and the other mechanical losses. Assuming that 5 per cent, of the carbon monoxide is utilized
in the open furnace and 25 per cent, in the Swedish furnace, we find that 0.4 net ton of charcoal
should be enough in the latter type of furnace. Mr. Gronwall, in his estimate, quoted in my
report on " Electrotherinic Smelting of Iron Ores in Sweden," allows 0.370 metric ton of charcoal L 48 Bureau of Mines. 1919
per metric ton of foundry iron, and this would be 0.414 net ton per long ton of pig-iron. It will
be seen, therefore, that my estimate is supported both by theoretical calculations and by the
results of practice in Sweden.
I place here an account of my experimental production of charcoal from Douglas fir and
of my investigation of Mr. Thomas's processes for the production of coke and charcoal.
Charcoal from Douglas Fir.
(Test made at McGill University, August, 1918.)
I was furnished by Dr. Bates,  Superintendent of the Forest Products Laboratories, with
samples of wood and bark of the Douglas fir, on which the following tests were made:—
I. Piece of Wood.—14 inches long, 6 inches wide, and 4.75 inches high.    The piece was not '
square, but of the section shown.    Weight,. 3,375 grammes;   moisture, 14.74 per cent, of dry.
wood or 12.85 per cent, of moist wood.
The wood was placed in a muffle-furnace and heated slowly to a temperature of 440° C
The operation lasted in all about seven hours, and it remained at the highest temperature for
about one hour. When cool the charcoal came out in three pieces, it having broken transversely.
The pieces put together measured 13 x 5.5 x 4 inches, or 71.6 per cent, of the original volume,
and the weight was 1,134 grammes. This is 33.6 per cent, of the original weight, or 38.5 per cent,
of the wreight of the dry wood. The charcoal was tested by heating to redness in a covered
crucible and lost 28 per cent, of its weight; as the ash is very small, this means 72 per1 cent, of
fixed carbon. The charcoal, while not quite as dense as hardwood charcoal, was satisfactory in
character, except that a part of the interior was soft and spongy. This was not due to a difference
in the wood itself, as this was uniform, but to the decomposition of the issuing gases, which
consolidated the outer portions of the charcoal. These denser layers varied from 0.25 to 1.5
inches in thickness, and occurred on all the surfaces. The ash in this charcoal was extremely
low, being only 0.1 per cent.
II. Piece of Bark.—12.25 inches long, 6.75 inches wide, and 4.4 inches thick, of the shape
shown in section. Weight, 2,595 grammes; moisture, 16.73 per cent, of dry bark or 14.34 per
cent, of moist bark.
The bark was placed in the muffle-furnace and heated like the wood, except that the final
temperature was a little higher, being about 500° C. Next morning it was found that air had
entered through cracks and had burned part of the charcoal, which was actually ignited when
taken out. The charcoal was in one piece and measured 11.25 x 6.5 x 4.5 inches, or 91 per cent,
of the original volume. It will be noticed that the bark had swelled somewhat in a radial
direction while charring. The weight was 882 grammes, and it would probably have been 890
grammes if no combustion had taken place; 890 grammes would be 34.3 per cent, of the original
bark or 40.1 per cent, of the dried bark.
The charcoal lost 19 per cent, of its weight on ignition in a closed crucible, which would
correspond to 78 per cent, fixed carbon, allowing for the ash. The ash was 3 per cent, of the
The charcoal was light and weak, so that it would crush easily under a load; it was
reasonably coherent and did not crumble very, much on handling.
Conclusion.—The slow charring of Douglas fir wood yields a charcoal which, though not
as strong and dense as hard-wood charcoal, would be quite satisfactory for. use in electric
smelting. The charcoal is extremely free from ash, from which it may be inferred that the
phosphorus will be very low. The bark yields an inferior charcoal which, however, might be
used in admixture with the wood charcoal. The high percentage of ash makes it probable that
the phosphorus would also be high, and indicates that bark charcoal should probably be excluded
in the production of specially pure low-phosphorus pig-iron.
Comparative tests were made on the density of pieces of charcoal from Douglas fir and
from hard wood. The volume of each piece was determined by surrounding it with fine sand.
The following results were obtained:— Specific Gravity.
0.394 )
Douglas fir charcoal  \ „'„„„ > mean 0.38.
0.363 j
Douglas fir bark charcoal  \ \ mean 0.31.
/ 0.289 \
( 0 441 )
Hard-wood charcoal J      •    ( mean 0.46.
) 0.486 f 9 Geo. 5 Electric Smelting of Iron Ore. L 49
I wish to express my thanks to Mr. Stokes, of the Forest Products Laboratories, who made
the moisture determinations and prepared the pieces of wood and bark for the test.
A Note on the Walter Thomas Processes for Making Carbonized Fuel.
At the request of the Honourable Mr. William Sloan, I made a short investigation of these
processes and of the plant at Nanaimo where some of them have been tested.
In general, these processes are for the purpose of producing coke from coal and charcoal
from wood. The general principle employed is to heat the coal or wood in a closed vessel by
passing through it hot gases obtained by distillation from the same material; these gases being
heated in,a pipe stove or a regenerative brick stove. The distillation products from the fuel
are cooled and treated by the Cottrell electrical-precipitation process, thus obtaining oils and
other condensible by-products; the permanent gases being then reheated and forced into the
coal or wood, as stated above; the chief advantage to be gained being the production of certain
oils which would not be obtained by the usual high-temperature distillation. Another claim is
that the passage of the distillation gases through the fuel causes the deposition of carbon, and
thus increases the yield and improves the quality of the coke or charcoal. It is also claimed
that the operation will be more rapid, as the heat is conveyed by the gases directly into the fuel
to be treated instead of by conduction through the walls of a retort.
Another process for the production of charcoal from sawdust is carried out in a revolving
drum, which is heated by burning the permanent gases from the distillation in flues in the walls
of the drum. The charred product is briquetted with tar, and is heated in a carbonaceous gas
in such a way as to produce a very dense charcoal.
I visited the plant at Nanaimo on July 4th, 1918, in company with Mr. Walter Thomas and
Mr. Wm. Brewer. The plant occupied two or three rooms in an old brewery, and consisted of
the following apparatus :—
(1.) A distillation retort consisting of a vertical iron cylinder about 14 feet high and 5 feet
in diameter. It was lined with bricks, so that the internal diameter was about 3 feet at the
top and about 3 feet 6 inches at the bottom. The retort was intended for treating coal, which
was introduced through a door in the top, while the resulting coke was withdrawn through a
lateral door near the bottom. The coal rested on a perforated iron plate level with the bottom
of this door, leaving a space below the plate for the removal of the products of distillation.
(2.) A pipe stove consistiug of some iron pipes heated by a Are of wood, through which the
permanent distillation gases passed on their way to the retort.
(3.) A condenser consisting of some water-cooled pipes for cooling the vaporous products
of distillation.
(4.) A " treater-tube" or electrical-precipitation apparatus, consisting of a vertical pipe
containing centrally an insulated piece of piano-wire, which could be charged to 60,000 volts,
for precipitating the oil and tar vapours.
(5.)  A fan or blower for causing the circulation of the gases.
(6.) A series of pipes connecting the several apparatus together, and permitting by means
of valves various changes in the circulation system.
When the plant was in operation a charge of coal was placed in the retort, which was then
tightly closed. The blower was started and the pipe stove heated. The air contained in the
system was forced in a heated condition into the top of the retort; it passed down through the
coal and passed out at the bottom, after which it passed through the condenser and the " treater-
tube," and so back to the blower and again through the pipe stove to the retort. As the coal
became hotter, gases would be given off, which would replace the air in the system, and thus
after a time the blower would be forcing distillation gases through the stove and retort.
The plant was not in operation at the time of my visit, but had previously been tried with
about 9 tons of coal from the Nicola valley. I understand that the charge of coal in the retort
was'about 3 tons. Difficulty was experienced in making the gas pass through the coal in the
retort, using a pressure on the inlet side and a suction on the outlet side of about 10 inches of
water. Oils were obtained, amounting to about 60 gallons for the 9 tons of coal, and a semi-
coked smokeless fuel was obtained from the retort; but as far as could be observed there was
no production of permanent gas.
4 L 50 Bureau of Mines. 1919
The above-mentioned test was made about February, 1917, and lasted for about five weeks.
Dr. J. R. Davidson, of the University of British Columbia m Vancouver, installed and operated
the electrical-precipitation apparatus and supervised the whole test. I have discussed the matter
with him, and he stated that the non-production of any permanent gas was inexplicable to him,
as there was not enough leakage to account for it, and that in view of this it was not desirable
to attempt to draw any definite conclusions.
Speaking generally, however, I may point out that the processes have the following drawbacks :—
(1.) When treating coking-coal it will be difficult to pass the gas through it at all rapidly,
and the coking will consequently be extremely slow.
(2.) The circulating gases have not a great heat capacity, and a very rapid circulation will
be needed to obtain even moderate rapidity of operation. This will be less serious in the case
of wood than of coal, as the necessary temperature is so much lower.
(3.) The thermal efficiency of the system will be small, as much of the heat produced in
the pipe stove will go up the chimney, and the fuel-consumption will in consequence be high.
(4.) The pipe stove will be costly to build and to maintain, as the pipe will burn out rather
(5.) It does not seem probable that the circulating gases will deposit carbon in the coke or
charcoal, as claimed, because they must first pass through the pipe stove, which must be at a
higher temperature than the fuel, and they are more likely to decompose and deposit carbon
in the pipe stove. It is conceivable, however, that the coke or charcoal may in some way cause
the deposition of carbon in itself, even though the gas has previously been exposed to a higher
Mr. Thomas has shown me samples of his carbonized charcoal, which is certainly a very
satisfactory product. He has not, however, as far as I am aware, published or patented his
method of making this dense product, and I have no reason for supposing that it can be done
economically on a large scale.
In conclusion, although I am not prepared, on the information at my disposal, to recommend
the processes-and apparatus of Mr. Thomas for commercial operation, I recognize his ingenuity
as an inventor, and think it quite likely that some of his ideas, if carefully tested and applied,
may prove fruitful. Since returning to Montreal I have heard from Messrs. McPherson and
Fulierton Bros., of Vancouver, who have taken over the Thomas patents and have been making
some tests at the Nanaimo plant. I have received from them samples of charcoal made from
fir-wood in the large retort. The operation was stated to occupy only six hours and the charcoal
appears to be of satisfactory quality. I have also received from them some small briquettes
made from charcoal powder by the Thomas process. They state that they can obtain mill-waste
for a few cents per cord;  and apparently they can make charcoal at a cost of about $5 per ton.
Substitutes for Charcoal in Electric Smelting.
Coal and Coke.—For the purpose of this investigation I have been furnished by Mr. Wm.
Fleet Robertson and others with "information with regard to the supplies of coal and coke in
British Columbia. In view of my belief that charcoal will be the main reducing agent in the
electric smelting of iron ores in this Province, I have not paid much attention to the supply of
other fuels. Coke can be used to some extent in admixture with charcoal, and coal or oil would
be needed for the operation of open-hearth and other furnaces.
The following information with regard to the supply, analysis, and price of coal and coke
was supplied by Mr. W. F. Robertson under date of June 5th, 1918:—
Vancouver Island.—Monthly coal production, 145,000 tons; price per ton, $2.50 to $5.86,
depending on grades.    Monthly coke production, 3,000 tons;   price, $10.25 per ton.
The coke contains 74 per cent, fixed carbon, 3 per cent, volatile matter, 23 per cent, ash, and
1 per cent sulphur; but under improved conditions coke could be made that would contain 84
per cent, fixed carbon, 3 per cent, volatile matter, 13 per cent, ash, and 1 per cent, sulphur.
The following information with respect to the Nicola Valley coal was supplied to me by
Mr. Nichol Thompson under date of June 10th, 1918:— 9 Geo. 5
Electric Smelting of Iron Ore.
L 51
" The Nicola Valley coal produces a superior metallurgical coke with well-developed cell-
structure and ample strength for iron-furnace stacks. From English coking tests the following
results were obtained:—
Raw Coal.
Coke peodoced  in :—
Per  Cent.
Per  Cent.
Per  Cent.
1 00
7 00
From another source in England:—
"The coal sent to me and numbered lis a very fine coal for metallurgical, steaming, or
domestic purposes. We can take away every trace of sulphur if necessary, and it would then
remain a splended metallurgical coke, supposing you had a steel plant in British Columbia.
I should imagine that this No. 1 sample is about the highest-grade coal you have in Canada,
and it should be used as a superior coal when British Columbia has commenced steel production.
In other words, it is a coal which will find higher values as British Columbia develops. The
other coal, main coal and numbered 2, seam 1, carried 38 and 40 per cent, volatile matter, and
are excellent for oil and motor-spirit production, and for the production also of an excellent
coke either for ordinary household fuel or for metallurgical work. The oil extracted from the
coal would depend entirely on the grade of coal which you wished to produce. The coal could
be distilled to destruction or any stated quantity of hydrocarbons could be left in the coke.
I enclose you a sheet showing the product from 1 ton of Nicola Valley" coal obtained from a
by-product oven. There is no question as to the success of the by-product coke-ovens, as
evidenced by the fact that the entire coal product of Germany previous to the war was made
into coke so that the products might be saved."
Mr. Thompson gave me further Information with regard to the chemical by-products obtainable in the coking of the Nicola coal, but it does not seem suitable to discuss these in the present
Gas-retort Residue.—The electric-smelting plant at Bay Point, San Francisco, employs for
reducing reagent in the production of ferro-alloys a carbonaceous residue produced in the manufacture of illuminating-gas from oil. This material is practically ash-free, it contains about 70
per cent, of fixed carbon, and is obtainable at a nominal price of about $4 a ton. It is not very
satisfactory physically, but in view of the scarcity of charcoal and coke in that locality the
management have been obliged to use this residue and have overcome the difficulties attending
its use.
Comparison of Coke and Charcoal.—The comparative values of these as reducing materials
depend in the first place on their fixed-carbon content. Thus, if charcoal contains 73 per cent,
of fixed carbon and coke 84 per cent, the coke would appear to be the more valuable. The
remainder of the charcoal, however, is volatile matter and moisture, which is driven off harmlessly in the furnace, while the coke would contain some 13 per cent, of ash, which has to be
melted, and will usually necessitate the addition of a flux. The sulphur in the coke also will
need fluxing, in addition to lowering the purity of the resulting pig-iron. It follows, from these
and other considerations, that charcoal is somewhat more valuable than coke as a reducing
reagent. Referring to Mr. Gronwall's estimate in my Swedish report, the following figures show
the relative consumption of fuel and of electric power for 1,000 kilograms of pig-iron, according
as charcoal or coke are employed:— '
Using  Chabcoal of  73
,    Per Cent.  Carbon.
Using Coke of 85
Pee Cent.  Carbon.
Kilos Fuel.
H.P. Year.
Kilos Fuel.
H.P. Tear.
0.42 It will be clear from this table that not only is there a larger consumption of coke than of
charcoal per ton of iron, but the power consumption is larger with coke.
In localities where coke is of good quality, cheap, and abundant, while charcoal is expensive
and scarce, it may be worth while to use coke on account of its greater cheapness. In British
Columbia, however, it appears that charcoal should be made at a cost of $6 to $8 a ton, while
coke would cost about $10 a ton. As long as these conditions last there can be little doubt that
charcoal will be preferable as a reducing agent in electric smelting.
Electrodes are needed in most electric furnaces for conducting the electric current into the
furnace. They should be good conductors of electricity and poor conductors of heat, and they
should be strong and capable of withstanding high temperatures. Electrodes are usually made
of some form of carbon, and their wear in the furnace, from exposure to air or to other oxidizing materials, constitute a serious source of expense. The cheapest kind of electrodes are
" carbon " electrodes, which are made of some form of carbon, such as crushed anthracite coal,
bonded together with pitch, and baked. " Graphitized" electrodes are obtained by heating
carbon electrodes to a very high temperature in an electric furnace. The process converts the
amorphous carbon of the electrode into graphitic carbon, which is a much better conductor of
electricity, and is superior in some other respects. Graphitized electrodes cost about three times
as much per pound as carbon electrodes, and the latter are therefore more generally used in
electric smelting.
The electrodes used in the Swedish furnaces at the time of my visit in 1914 were 24 inches
in diameter and 4 or 5 feet long. They were provided with threaded ends, so that fresh lengths
could be added as the electrodes wore away. They were of amorphous carbon and cost about
4 cents per pound. The consumption of electrodes, when making white pig-iron from high-class
ores, was about 10 to 15 lb. per ton of pig-iron; thus costing about 50 cents per ton of product.
In melting lower-grade ores for foundry iron the consumption might be from 15 to 20 lb.; at
present prices in British Columbia this would mean about $1.50 per ton of pig. A furnace of
3,000 kw. uses six of these 24-inch electrodes.
At Bay Point, California, the 3,000-kw. open-pit furnace, smelting ferro-manganese, uses three
24-inch carbon electrodes. The consumption is 100 lb. per ton of ferro-manganese, and Beckman
and Linden expect that in using this furnace for making pig-iron the consumption would be 20 lb.
per ton.
It will be noticed that the Swedish furnaces have twice as many electrodes as the Californian
furnace. The size and number of the Swedish electrodes are in agreement with the generally
accepted formulae of Dr. Hering, and it seems likely, therefore, that the Californian furnace
should have more electrodes if it is to be used for iron-smelting. Beckman and Linden do not
agree with this suggestion, and, of course, these points must ultimately rest on practical demonstration, but it must be remembered that they have not as yet applied their type of furnace to
'smelting iron ores.
At Heroult, California, a 3,000-kw. ferro-manganese furnace is furnished with four 12-inch
graphitized electrodes, which would be about the same in effect as the three 24-inch carbon
electrodes at the Bay Point plant. Judging by the consumption of electrodes at this point, it
appears that it would be preferable to use carbon electrodes, and I understand that this change
will be made.
Under ordinary conditions carbon electrodes cost 3 or 4 cents per pound, but at the present
time the price in the East is about 8 cents and on the Pacific coast nearly 10 cents. In view
of the expense of shipping electrodes across the continent it is desirable to make electrodes
locally, but this should not be undertaken until the smelting plant is in good running-order,
because the manufacture of electrodes is not easy, and the use of poor electrodes might delay,
seriously, the operation of the plant Messrs. Beckman and Linden have put up an electrode
plant at the Bay Point plant, and they are trying to make electrodes from the carbon residue,
which they use as reducing material in the furnaces. They prepared for me the following
estimates of the cost of plant and of making electrodes:— 9 Geo. 5 Electric Smelting of Iron Ore. . L 53
300-ton-per-month Electrode Plant.
Baking-kilns complete, including all burning apparatus    $ 20,000
Hydraulic press  (500 tons per month, 600-ton pressure)     6,000
Mixers  (two)     6,000
Moulds '  5,000
Calciner complete  40,000
Building complete  25,000
Crane  8,000
Conveying equipment and elevators   2,500
Crushing and screening apparatus   3,000
Kiln-sand  1,000
Tools, chains, etc  1,000
Contingencies, 10 per cent       11,850
Beckman & Linden Engineering Corporation fee        15,000     ,
Total   $145,350
Cost of making 2,000 Lb. of Electrodes.
Anthracite coal, calcined, crushed, and sized   $20 00
Pitch at $20 per ton put into electrodes  5 00
Baking fuel, pound per pound ratio  . 4 50
Labour, 50 cents per hour  -. ■  12 75
Operating superintendence   1 85
Supplies     1 00
Maintenance  2 00
Plant office expense  •'• 75
Main office expense • • 4 00
Total      $51 85   .
Cost per pound, $0.0258.
The iron-smelting plant under consideration for British Columbia was to have two 3,000-kw.
furnaces making pig-iron and three 300-kw. furnaces making ferro-alloys. The consumption of
electrodes in these furnaces would amount to 1,000 or 1,500 lb. daily, or about 20 or 25 tons
per month. This is less than one-tenth of the output of the plant described above, and the cost
of making electrodes in a smaller plant would necessarily be somewhat higher, say 3 or 4 cents
per pound.
Although a supply of competent labour is essential to the success of any industrial undertaking, and although the variations in the wages that must be paid may mean the difference
between profit and loss, it is impossible for me at the present time to put forward any really
reliable information with regard to labour conditions in British Columbia.
The Department of Labour in Victoria has furnished me, through Mr. W. Fleet Robertson,
with a statement of the supply, nature, and cost of labour in the Coast District of British
Columbia; this statement is added in the following pages. It will be seen that there is a fail-
supply of labourers at nearly $4 a day, and that most skilled men are scarce at about $6 a day.
The cost of labour per ton of iron depends very much on the size and output of the plant. Thus,
at the figures mentioned, in a fully equipped plant making 50 or 60 tons of pig-iron, and steel
and ferro-alloys as well, the cost of labour might be $4 or $5 per ton of iron, but if only one or
two furnaces were operating the labour cost might be about $7 per ton of iron.
While electric furnaces offer difficulties and dangers of their own, it appears to me that a
well-established electric-smelting plant, such as those I saw in Sweden, presents far less difficulty L 54
Bureau of Mines.
and discomfort to the workman than the average blast-furnace plant, and that the management
should experience less difficulty in keeping a good crew of men.
On page 34 of my Swedish report it is stated that at Hagfors three 3,000-horse-power
furnaces are operated by fifty men, working eight hours daily, at a wrage of about 12 cents
per hour. At this rate, with bonuses and the higher rates of foremen, the cost would amount
to about 80 cents a ton of pig-iron. In a plant of three 3,000-kw. furnaces in British Columbia
fifty men might be assumed to cost: Thirty at $4 and twenty at $6, or $240 a day. With an
average output of 75 tons daily of foundry iron this would mean $3.20 per ton. A plant of this
size would probably need a few additional men, say ten or twelve, which would increase the
charge for labour to about $4 a ton.
Messrs. Beckman and Linden have given me a list of the men needed daily for one 3,000-kw.
furnace of the open-pit type. I have added to these the rates of pay, estimated with the aid of
the attached memorandum :—
Daily Labour for One 3,000-kiv. Pit Furnace.
One furnace foreman at $S    $    8 00
Twelve furnacemen at $5   60 00
One chief electrician at $6  6 OO
Three sub-station operators at $5    15 00
Three mechanics at $6  18 00
Six mixing-men at $4  24 00
Six metal-handlers at $4  24 00
Two locomotive-crane men at $5 ! 10 00
Total   $165 00
With an output of 25 tons per day this would mean $6.60 per ton of iron, which agrees with
Beckman and Linden's estimate in Appendices X. and XI. This charge is unduly high, because
they figured on a single furnace only. A plant having three furnaces would only need about twice
as many men as a plant with one furnace, so that the cost for labour would be about $4.40
per ton.
Memorandum prom Department of Labour, Victoria, B.C., June 10th, 191S.
Supply, Nature, and Cost of Labour,  Coast, District of British Columbia, such as would be
required at Plant for Electric Smelting of Iron.
Normal Pre-war
Wages per Day of
Eight  Hours.
Present Conditions.
Supply Plentiful
or   Scarce.
Wages per Day of
Eight  Hours.
Engineers, 1st  	
Engineers, 2nd	
Machinists'  helpers   	
Boiler-makers'   helpers   	
Blacksmiths' helpers   	
Plumbers and pipe-fitters	
Plumbers' and pipe-fitters' helpers  ....
Electrical workers   	
Electrical workers'  helpers   	
Operators   of   electric,   steam,   or   air
winches and donkeys
Engineers in charge of boilers  	
Sheet-metal workers   	
About $15 less than
at  present
per day
per day
quite sure)
per day
per day
per day
per day
per day
per day
per day
per day
per day
per day
4.00 per day .
(Not quite sure
$3.00 per day   .
Scarce .. .-	
No great supply
No great supply
No great supply
Very scarce ....
Very scarce ....
Supply fair ....
$225 per month of
26 working-days.
$165 per month of
26 working-days.
$6.00 per day.
4.50 per day.
6.00 per day.
4.30 per day.
6.00 per day.
4.50 per day.
6.00 per day.
4.00 per day.
5.50 per day.
6.00 per day.
4.00 per day.
6.60 per day.
5.50 per day.
3.85 per day.
6.60 per day.
6.60 per day. 9 Geo. 5 Electric Smelting of Iron Ore. L 55
The furnaces that have been in commercial use, or that seem suitable for the electric smelting
of iron ores, are ::—
(1.)  The Electric-Metals furnace used in Sweden:
(2.)  The Helfenstein furnace tried in Sweden.
"7 '      (3.)  The Noble Electrie Steel Company's furnace used at Heroult, California;  and
(4.) The 3-phase open-pit furnace used for ferro-alloys.
The simplest of these is No. 4, the open-pit furnace. This furnace has no roof or cover and
has three electrodes, which are supported from above and are surrounded with the material to
be smelted. The main objection to this furnace is that heat and gases escape from the furnace
and are lost, besides creating a nuisance. As far as I am aware, this furnace has not been used
commercially for smelting iron ores. Nos. 2 and 3 are like No. 4, except that the top of the
furnace is closed in, thus lessening the loss of heat and enabling the gases to be drawn away
through flues and used elsewhere for heating. Both these furnaces have been used on a commercial scale, but full particulars of their operation are not available. No. 1 is more elaborate
than the others and resembles an iron blast-furnaee with an enlarged hearth. In this type, not
only is the furnace closed to retain the heat and the gas from the smelting charge, but the gases
are made to pass up a shaft, so as to heat and reduce the iron ore; being, Indeed, returned again
to the furnace for this purpose after escaping at the top. This furnace has been in successful
commercial use for a number of years in Sweden, and some are now being built in other countries.
In this Appendix I give references to a number of descriptions of these furnaces, and
compare the available data with regard to their operation.
I. Electro-Metals Furnace.
An illustrated account of the furnace and plant at Trollhattan, entitled " Recent Progress
in Electrical Iron-smeltiDg in Sweden," is given by T. D. Robertson in Amer. Electrochem. Soc,
1911, Vol. XX., page 375. Full illustrated reports of the work at Trollhattan by J. A. Leffler,
E. Odelberg, and E. Nystrom are given in Swedish in the Jern-Kontorets Annaler for 1911, 1912,
and 1913. Translations of parts of these appeared in Iron and Coal Trades Review, .June 9th
and 16th and November 10th, 1911, and May 2nd, 1913, Vol. 86, page 744. Articles entitled
" Electric Iron Smelting " by Jens Orton-Boving appeared in the Canadian Engineer, December
18th, 1913, Vol. XXV., page 877, and in Iron Age, May 21st, 1914, Vol. 93, page 1269. The
Swedish and other furnaces for the electric smelting of iron ores are described in my book,
" The Electric Furnace," 1914 edition, pages 174-211, and in my report on " Electrothermic
Smelting of Iron Ores in Sweden," Ottawa, 1915.
The following account of the Swedish furnace and process is from a memorandum by J. O.
Boving dated July, 1915 :—■
" Reduction of Iron Ore.
" The methods and processes for obtaining pig-iron by electric reduction have mainly been
worked out and put to commercial use in Sweden, but in a smaller degree the United States of
America and Canada have contributed towards the experience gained. (Experiments have also
been carried out in France and in Switzerland, but no commercial results have matured so far.)
The reason for this is fairly obvious, as the development is based on the following cardinal
conditions:   Presence of cheap water-power and suitable charcoal.
" Sweden's iron trade has been based on the production of high-class charcoal pig since the
earliest days of established industry, and it is chiefly.on account of the high quality thus
produced Sweden became famous for these products.
" Before the new processes of making steel in open-hearth and Bessemer converters were
known, Sweden commanded high prices for her iron, but prices fell with the development of
newer methods, and Sweden had to seek other ways in order to cheapen the cost of production
and at the same time maintain the quality. Such means were found in the electric-reduction
furnace. Sweden has an abundance of cheap water-power, and there are few countries in the
world that have taken such beneficial advantage of it. L 56 Bureau of Mines. " 1919
» " The first electric-reduction furnaces were established in 1907. Now a great number of
them are working and giving splendid results, as will be seen below.
" In Russia there are large districts where the conditions are similar to those in Sweden,
and I am strongly of the opinion that developments could as profitably be made in the Urals,
and maybe also in the Caucasus. The iron industry is already well established in the Urals.
The ore is good. There is an abundance of water-power which would be easy to harness, and
the supply of wood for charcoal is practically unlimited.
"As mentioned above, the development of electric reducing has been most marked during
the last few years in Sweden. At present some fourteen high furnaces are in operation, and
the total output represents about 140,000 tons of pig-iron per annum. This pig is of the highest
quality that can be made, and it commands, therefore, high prices. It is mostly used in Sweden
for producing high-grade steel, but a certain amount is also sold to the Sheffield market.
" There are, further, many more installations contemplated, and it is s'afe to say that
wherever there is cheap water-power the old blast-furnace will be replaced by electric producers.
Generaly speaking, it holds good that wherever 1 horse-power per annum can be produced cheaper
than the cost of 2 tons of charcoal or coke (depending upon the class of iron to be made) it is
a commercially successful undertaking to substitute electric heat for fuei-heat.
" The system of furnace which is used throughout Sweden is that patented by Electro-Metals,
" It will be seen that the furnace consists of two principal parts—the furnace-shaft and the
hearth or crucible. The shaft, which is of similar design to an ordinary blast-furnace shaft
(but, of course, without any blast-tuyeres), is supported independently on an iron framework
or on heavy girders resting on the walls of the furnace-house. It consists of a shell of steel
plates and is lined with firebrick. It is provided with a closed furnace-top, the charging-bell of
which is raised or lowered by means of an electric motor and winding-drum. The hearth, which
is situated immediately below the shaft, is so constructed that when it is expanded by the heat
the central hole in the arch which covers it fits closely around the neck of the shaft.
" The hearth also consists of a strong shell of steel plates lined with refractory material and
is covered by an arch, the weight of which may be supported entirely on the circular lining of
the hearth, or else partly in this manner and partly by iron straps riveted to the shell of the
" The electrodes are preferably of circular, section and provided with screw-joints for joining
up end to end. They pass through the arch of the crucible at a slight inclination from the
vertical. Water-cooled stuffing-boxes with asbestos packing are provided to prevent leakage
of gas around the electrodes. The electrodes project into the hearth through the free space
between the roof and the charge, which on descending into the hearth falls at an angle from
the lower end of the shaft. The electric current is supplied to the electrodes through bronze
contacts. Only carbon electrodes have, so far, been used owing to the high costs of graphite
" The Electro-Metals furnaces are generally provided with an arrangement for gas-circulation,
the gas being drawn by means of a fan from a gas outlet at the upper end of the shaft and
forced through a number of nozzles into the free space between the roof of the crucible and the
descending charge. The object of this gas-circulation is twofold—viz., to prevent overheating of
the roof of the crucible and to facilitate the reduction process in the shaft. As regards the latter
object, it is evident that the gas which becomes highly heated in the crucible assists in conveying
heat to the charge in the shaft, thus extending the reduction zone and rendering it more effective
through the increased volume of gas passing through.
" In this manner the percentage of CO, in the furnace gas can be kept higher than if no
gas-circulation were used, and it is evident that this indicates a reduction in the fuel-consumption.
" The furnaces are placed in the central bay. On one side all the electrical gear is placed—
transformers, switches, regulators, etc.—and this part is isolated from the metallurgical part.
The power is derived from' a hydro-electric plant nine miles and a half away, which power-
station belongs to the company. The voltage of the line is 12,000 volts and is reduced to low
pressure by transformer and adjusted by regulators to between 50 to 100 volts, as required.
"Each furnace has six electrodes, cylindrical in shape, and arranged to be used continuously
without waste by using a screw-joint. 9 Geo. 5 Electric Smelting of Iron Ore. L 57
" The pouring-bay is fitted with electric overhead travellers, as well as trolly-tracks for
transporting iron and slag. The iron can either be poured to pig or conveyed in ladles to the
Bessemer and open-hearth furnaces. The slag is run into block moulds and makes excellent
" The crushing-room is at the end of the furnace building. There are three crushers of the
ordinary jaw type. There is a railway-track outside, and the daily requirements are supplied
in the trucks, so that there is no need for large storing-bins. One of the crushers is fairly large,
with wide enough jaw-space for the biggest lumps, and the ore passes from this crusher to the
smaller ones, and thence by a bucket elevator to a belt-conveyor above the charging-platform, so
that the raw material may be unloaded where required. There is a small ore-store, but this
only contains some limited reserve amounts of the various kinds of ores used. The charcoal is
transported from the. stores by a ropeway.
" Three different kinds of pig-iron have been produced:—
(1.)  Pig-iron for open-hearth treatment.
(2.) Pig-iron for Lancashire treatment.
(3.) Pig-iron for Bessemer treatment.
" The quality which is desired from the open-hearth pig is semi-spiegel and contains:
Si, 0.40 to 0.60 per cent.; Mn, 0.30 to 0.50 per cent.; P, 0.011 to 0.018 per cent.;  S, 0.015 per cent.
" It will be seen that it is more economical to produce spiegel iron in the electric furnace,
and arrangements have been made to alter the open-hearth furnaces so as to use spiegel iron
" It has been assumed in various quarters that it would probably be difficult to maintain a
constant product in an electric furnace.    Experience has proved, on the contrary, that a much
more constant product is obtained from the electric furnace than from the old blast-furnace.
One reason for this is that there is such a large receiver or'collecting-basin in the lower part'
of the electric furnace that it acts as a regulator on the quality.
" The Lancashire pig required is quite white and has the following analysis: Si, 0.20 to
0.30 per cent.;  Mn, 0.20 to 0.30 per cent.;  P, 0.011 to 0.018 per cent.;   S, 0.015 to 0:020 per cent.
" During the early operation of the plant in question there was a tendency for the sulphur
to be unduly high, but this was remedied by making the slag more basic whenever the furnace
was run for Lancashire pig.
" The analysis of Bessemer pig used was as follows: Si, 1.00 to 1.40 per cent.; Mn, 2.50 to
3.00 per cent.;  P, 0.015 to 0.019 per cent.;   S, 0.005 per cent.
" Excellent Bessemer has repeatedly been made of this pig. The early attempts were not
good, but it was soon found that Si and Mn had to be increased. It had been assumed that
the amount would be normal, but apparently the lower temperature of the electro-Bessemer pig
as compared with ordinary Bessemer pig from blast-furnaces necessitates a higher content.
" General experience points to the following results: It is cheaper to make spiegel than
grey pig, because: (1) More current can be put through the furnace; (2) the current consumption is lower (per ton of product); (3) thus the production is higher; (.4) the electrode
consumption is lower;   (5) the repair costs are lower.
"It may further be stated that rich charges give better (economic) results than poor ones.
The quality of the pig however, is not influenced by the percentage of iron contents .of the ore.
" For some time past the gas from the furnaces has been used as fuel in the open-hearth
furnaces, and it is estimated that the value of the gas is from 2 to 3 shillings (50 to 75 cents)
per ton of pig-iron produced.
" Finally, regarding the influence of the electric pig on the finished steel, experience has
shown that the change tends to make better steel; this applies both to Bessemer and soft and
hard open-hearth steels.
" The steel produced at Hagfors is of the highest quality and is mainly used for locomotive-
boiler tubes, piano-wires, and high-tension wires generally.
" In Sweden, generally, the electric reduction of iron ore is regarded as revolutionizing this
industry, and preparations are being made for constructing mills of considerable capacity.
Recent experience has shown that large electrodes can be used at the same time as the current
intensity on the electrodes is increased. Large furnaces will therefore be designed, and some
of those now building have a capacity of 8,000 horse-power each. L 58 Bureau of Mines. 1919
, " The general experience has been that the handling of the electric-reduction furnace is
considerably simpler than an ordinary blast-furnace. More even quality is obtained without so
careful watching. The quality can be changed easily, and the various grades from grey pig to
spiegel can be obtained by simple manipulation. Less attention and less labour are required."
During the present investigation I have been in correspondence with Messrs. Electro-Metals,
Limited, 56 Kingsway, London, W.C. 2, and reproduce the following extracts from two of their
Letter from J. O. Boring, June 28th, 1918.
" We have received your kind letter of the 5th inst., with regard to electric reduction of
iron ore in Canada. It was exceedingly pleasant reading to the writer personally, who has for
many years been in touch with various parties in Canada and could never understand why the
electric reduction had not made any progress in a country where the conditions are so singularly
suitable for the development of this industry.    .    .    .
" Since you were in Sweden very great developments have taken place, and this has, of
course, been especially accentuated by the war, when importation of coke has. been difficult, and
therefore the power existing in the country has been of greater value than ordinarily for electro-
thermical operations.
" You will probably remember most of the plants you visited in Sweden, but we shall here
recapitulate what has been done as far as we are acquainted up to now.
" There are two furnaces at Trollhattan—the original one and another of 3,000 kw. capacity.
" There are five at Hagfors—the two original ones and three later of 4,000 kw. capacity.
" There are three at Domnarfvet (the Helfenstein furnace was found quite useless and has
been pulled out)—one of 7,000, one of 3,000, and one of 2,000 kw. capacity—and there are two
more building of 3,000 kw. capacity.
" There is one at Soderfors of 5,000 kw.; one at Ljusne of 3,000 kw.; two at Porjus of
3,000 kw.;  and three at Lulea of 3,000 kw.
" Some have been built in Norway, two in Switzerland, and two or three in Japan.
" The most important plant we have tackled is, however, the one in the Aosta valley, Northwest corner of Alpine, Italy<- Here we are erecting for the firm of Ansaldo & Co. (the largest
armament firm of Italy) a reduction plant consisting of six units each of 3,000 kw. capacity.
Two of these furnaces will be run on charcoal and four on coke. Half of the furnaces are built
here and the half to our drawings in Italy.
" We are going to work out a revised estimate of the cost of this plant as applied to
Canadian conditions and send along as soon as possible. This will give you a good idea of
what you could look forward to. We shall also give you data regarding power-consumption,
electrodes, labour, charcoal, and other supplies.
" Whilst we write you about reduction-furnaces, we think it is only right that we should
inform you about the most remarkable developments which have been achieved with our steel-
" The electric steel-furnace is undoubtedly the easiest apparatus existing to-day for melting
steel and purifying it afterwards. The great flexibility of the electric heat and the possibility
of applying it at the right point makes the removal of impurities, such as phosphorus and
sulphur, and further complete deoxidation a very easy matter, and steel-makers in Europe are
now unanimously of the opinion that as soon as the war is over electric furnaces will be installed
by all large steel-mills, even for ordinary grades of steel. The process will be that whilst open-
hearth furnaces and Bessemer converters will be maintained, these will only be used for taking
the steel a certain part on the way towards perfection, and the final touch up will be made in
the electric furnace. Treating molten steel in the electric furnace and refining it from impurities
requires for a large unit between 80 and 100 kilowatt-hours per ton. This consumption is not
prohibitive even under conditions such as are prevailing in this country, where power under
ordinary conditions is available at a price of about one-third of a penny (0.7 cent). But it is
a remarkable fact that even now during the war, when price for power ranges from 1 to 2 cents
per unit, certain manufacturers, such as Brown-Bayley, Hadfield's, Ca-mmell-Laird, and the
Partington Steel Works, find it profitable to use our electric furnaces for treating ordinary
carbon steel, starting from the cold. It should be, of course, remembered that this can only
be done in fairly large furnaces having a capacity of at least 5 tons, because the current consumption increases very rapidly for small units.   Thus, whereas a 1-ton furnace requires about 9 Geo. 5 Electric Smelting of Iron Ore. L 59
1,200 units for melting and refilling 1 ton of scrap, a 5-ton furnace only requires about 750 units
for the same work, and a 10-ton furnace round about 600 units.
" When we come to consider electric furnaces receiving their power from hydro-electric
installations, the question comes into quite a different plane. In many cases it is possible to
supply the current at the rate of 0.1 cent, and the price of the total current consumption is thus
so reduced that the whole process compares very favourably with the most economical coal-gas-
fired open-hearth furnaces.
" In connection with Messrs. Ansaldo's Reduction Works a large steel-works is also being
installed. The rich gases from the reduction-furnaces are used- in the steel-works, but there
will also be a battery of ten 15-ton electric steel-furnaces, all energized by water-power. You
may be interested to know that Ansaldo's metallurgical engineer is Professor and Dr. Giolitti
(of carburizing-of-steel fame), and their steel-works are regarded as obtaining higher quality
results than any other works.
" On the coast of Norway there are also a number, of electric steel-furnaces energized by
water-power, and these undertakings are paying extremely well, turning out fine steel and
making huge profits."
Letter from. J. Bibby, September 21st, 1918.
"The production costs given in our letter of August 19th (see Appendix X.) are for the
manufacture of white pig-iron as you surmise, and these are to be obtained in the large plant
at Messrs. Ansaldo's about which we wrote you. For the manufacture of grey foundry pig-iron
in this large plant the consumption will be approximately 0.37 horse-power year per ton of
pig-iron, assuming that the ore contains between 65 to 70 per cent, of iron.
" For a plant consisting of only one 4,000-horse-power furnace, for instance, the consumption
would be from 5 to 10 per cent, higher, as the diversity factor would be greater. For the case
you mention of 9,000 tons per year you could assume a consumption of 0.41 horse-power year
per ton of grey iron produced from ore containing 65 per cent, of iron.
" With reference to the sintering mentioned on page 4 of your letter, it is quite a common
practice in Sweden to employ as much as 50 per cent, sintered and 50 per cent, lump ore and
obtain satisfactory results.
" With reference to the price of current in British Columbia, wo do not see why the cost
there under similar circumstances should greatly exceed what is being done in Sweden, where
current is being regularly supplied at the equivalent of $8 per horse-power year. The electric
suppliers must take into account the favourable nature of an electric-furnace load as regards
power factor and load factor. Under the circumstances you give of a 60-cycle supply running
one furnace, the power factor would be as high as 0.92.
" With reference to charcoal, we are in a position to supply drawings and specifications for
charcoal plants to suit any given requirements, and if desired we could quote you a fee for this
"We are pleased to learn that you are contemplating a new edition of your valuable book,
on electric furnaces, and we believe that you will consider a description of our recent developments worthy of notice. We are therefore preparing a description of the various improvements
we have made since your book was published, and will send this on to you in due course. These
improvements consist in the employment of a new 2-phase system for small furnaces up to 7 tons,
and a new 4-phase system for furnaces between 7 and 30 tons capacity. We have also made
improvements in the way of automatic regulators, electrode economizers, etc., all of which we
will give you particulars. In the meantime we enclose you two electrical diagrams which no
doubt will be quite clear to you.
" As regards the 6-phase arrangement, this is applied to our 3,O0O-kw. reduction-furnace.
As before, we employ three transformers which each supply two diametrically opposite electrodes,
but we so connect the transformers that we obtain six independent phases in which the relationships are definitely fixed."
In conclusion, I may say that the Electro-Metals furnace is undoubtedly the most efficient
appliance that has so far been applied to the electric smelting of iron ores, but that in view of
the large consumption of power by even this type of furnace it will be unwise to put up an
elaborate plant of this kind unless an adequate and permanent supply of electric power can be
obtained at a moderate price. L 60 Bureau of Mines. 1919
Unfortunately, some of the earlier reports gave exaggerated ideas of the economy of electrical
power and charcoal that had been obtained with these furnaces, and I myself made the mistake
of taking these reports literally when writing the 1914 edition of my book on " The Electric
Furnace." After visiting Sweden and investigating the conditions obtaining there, I arrived at
more conservative figures as put forward irnny 1915 report. In Mr. Bibby's letter of September
21st, quoted above, he states that with a single furnace of 4,000 horse-power producing 9,000 tons
per annum, the consumption would be " 0.41 horse-power year per ton of grey iron from an ore
containing 65 per cent, of iron." It will be obvious that from the available ores, which do'; not
contain more than 55 per cent, of iron, the figure I am assuming of 0.45 horse-power year will
not be too high.
Although the Swedish furnace is more economical than any other electric ore-smelting furnace,
there still remains a considerable margin for further possible improvement, and I hope that some
process of low-temperature reduction of iron ores may be worked out which will show a decided
improvement over the Swedish process.
II. The Helfenstein Furnace.
The Helfenstein furnace was originally devised for the production of calcium carbide and
ferro-silicon. (See R. Taussig, Faraday Society, V., 1910, page 254; Soc. Chem. Ind., XXXIX.,
1910, page 435; Met. and Chem. Eng., X., 1912, page 686.) A 18,000-horse-power furnace of
this type for iron-smelting was started at Domnarfvet in May, 1913, and was in experimental
operation at the time of my visit in 1914. A more recent account appeared in Iron and Coal
Trades Review (London-), February 23rd, 1917, and in Met. and Chem. Eng., May 1st, 1917,
page 509, from which I have taken the following particulars:—
When charcoal was used, the consumption of power, etc., was 2,170 kilowatt-hours, 380 kg.
charcoal (70 per cent, carbon), and 5 kg. of electrodes per metric ton of pig-iron. When coke
was used, the consumption was 2,600 to 2,700 kilowatt-hours, 310 to 320 kg. of coke, and 4 kg.
of electrodes. The consumption of 2,170 kilowatt-hours with charcoal corresponds to 0.392 horsepower year at 85 per cent, load factor. This is probably for the production of white iron from
high-grade ores, though at the time of my visit ores of 50 per cent, iron were being smelted.
It does not appear that the efficiency is any better than that of the Electro-Metals furnace, and
it should be noticed that the use of coke causes the consumption of a far greater amount of
electrical power.
The idea of this furnace is to increase the output and efficiency by using a far larger amount
of power in a furnace of a given size than was possible in the Electro-Metals furnace. The
furnace gases were not used to reduce the ore in the furnace, but were employed for other
purposes in the plant. It is unfortunate that we have no detailed account of the operation of
this furnace, or of the reasons which caused it to be abandoned.
III. The Noble Furnace. i
At Heroult, in California, electric smelting of iron ores was undertaken in 1907, and was
continued, experimentally, until about 1914. The first furnace was designed by Paul Heroult,
and was a 2,000-horse-power rectangular furnace, with three vertical electrodes alternating with
four vertical chutes for supplying the ore charge. The furnace had an arched roof and the
chutes were heated by the escaping gases. The chutes became choked with the heated ore, the
roof broke down or melted, the furnace could only be worked with an open top, and was finally
given up. Professor D. A. Lyon experimented in 1908 with a single-phase furnace of 160 kw.,
and in 1909 put up a furnace of 1,500 kw., substantially like the earlier Swedish type of furnace.
Work with this furnace was continued until 1911, when it was finally given up, possibly on
account of difficulty in controlling the nature of the product. The Noble Company then reverted
to the rectangular type of furnace, using four electrodes and five charging-chutes, which, however,
were not heated. A 2,00O-kw. furnace was built in 1911, and an additional furnace of 3,000 kw.
in 1912 or 1913. The best account of this furnace was written by John Crawford, the plant
manager, in Met. and Chem. Eng., July, 1913, Vol. XL, page 383.
Mr. Crawford states that the tall-shaft furnace built in' 1909 could probably have been made
economically efficient, but that it could not be made to respond readily to changes in the burden,
as would be essential for making consistently high-grade foundry iron. He explains the necessity
in electric smelting of controlling accurately the addition of carbon in the charge, as an excess 9 Geo. 5 '    Electric Smelting of Iron Ore. L 61
of carbon cannot be burnt off as in the blast-furnace, and a deficiency results in low-grade iron.
This difficulty of controlling the amount of carbon does not interfere with the production of a
low-silicon iron—such as is used in Sweden—but in his experience it caused great difficulty in
the production of foundry iron. In view of this the shaft-furnace was abandoned, and a 2,000-kw..
3-phase furnace of the long and narrow type was tried. This furnace had four electrodes, delta-
connected and suspended between five charging-stacks. He considers that this type, of furnace,
which was operating in 1913, is the one best adapted to their needs. The second furnace of this
kind, having 3,000 kw. capacity, consists of a rectangular steel shell 28 feet long and 10 feet wide,
lined with standard firebrick. This is surmounted by five charging-stacks 18 feet high, and
between the stacks the top of the furnace is arched over. The electrodes are of Acheson graphite,
12 inches in diameter, and enter vertically through the arch between each adjacent pair of
charging-stacks. The furnace gases are not used for preheating or reducing the ore, but are
led away and used under lime-kilns and charcoal-retorts. The electric current is supplied to
the furnace at a voltage of from 40 to SO. He found that coke was less satisfactory than charcoal in this furnace, but that if the coke was crushed a mixture of 60 per cent, coke and 40
per cent, charcoal could be used with fair efficiency. The following is an analysis of a 200-ton
lot shipped to a foundry for making steel castings :— „    Cent
Silicon    2.88
Combined carbon     0.09
Graphite carbon    3.38
Sulphur   .... :  0.028
Phosphorus       0.031
Mr. Crawford does not consider this type of furnace as efficient as the shaft type, but states
that he has kept the power-consumption as low as 2,200 kilowatt-hours per ton of pig in a
furnace of 300 kw. This would equal 0.40 horse-power year at 85 per cent, load factor. He
states, however, that the long and narrow type offers the possibility of building several furnace
units on to each other, like copper blast-furnaces, and this would lessen the radiation and electrical losses and increase the efficiency. It would also enable part of the furnace to be repaired
while the remainder was still in operation.
Since Mr. Crawford's article scarcely anything has been published about the Noble smelting-
furnace, but I learn that the production of pig-iron was discontinued about the year 1914.
This may not have been caused by any technical difficulty, because the commercial situation at
Heroult, which can never have been very good, became impossible when the charge for power
was raised from $12 to $25 per horse-power year. The plant is situated on the Pitt river, in
Shasta County, and is reached by an independent line of rails from Pitt Station, on the Southern
Pacific Railroad. The iron ore is about the only element of their supply which can be obtained
cheaply at the works; there is not enough timber left near the plant for charcoal-making, and
wood for this purpose has to be brought in by rail. All their general supplies and their products
have to be shipped over two railroads from or to San Francisco or other industrial centre.
IV. The Open-pit Furnace.
For the production of calcium carbide and ferro-alloys a simple type of open-topped furnace
has been developed, and this is recommended by Messrs. Beckman and Linden for the smelting
of iron ores. The 3,000-kw. furnace erected by this firm at Bay Point for the production of
ferro-manganese may be taken as typical. It consists of a rectangular steel box, about 17 feet
long, 9 feet wide, and 7 feet high, suitably braced outside, and lined around the sides with
4% inches of firebrick. The bottom lining is about 3 feet thick, composed of blocks of carbon,
and the furnace is supported on piers to permit of air-cooling. The top of the furnace is open,
and the three electrodes, which are of amorphous carbon, hexagonal in section, 24 inches in
diameter and 7 feet long, are hung in the middle line of the furnace, being spaced 3 feet 6 inches
apart from centre to centre. The lower ends of the electrodes are surrounded and covered by
the ore and other materials when the furnace is operating. The upper ends of the electrodes
are held by water-cooled metal-holders, which support the electrodes at the correct height and
supply, the electric current to them. The height of the electrodes is controlled and regulated
by automatic machinery, which is designed to keep a constant electrical load on the furnace.
Three-phase electrical power at 22,000 volts is supplied to three 1,000-kw. transformers, from
which the working-current, at 70 to 100 volts, is led by flexible conductors to the three electrode- L 62 Bureau of Mines. 1919
holders. A charging-platform extends around the furnace about 3 feet below the top, and the
mixture of ore, carbon, and flux is shovelled into the furnace from this platform. The molten
ferro-manganese and slag are allowed to run out of the furnace periodically by means of a
spout and tapping-hole opposite the centre electrode.
There can be no question that charcoal pig-iron of any desired grade can be made in this
kind of furnace, which is easily and cheaply built and repaired, and should be able to run for
a long time without need of repair. By providing an ample supply of power the efficiency should
be satisfactory, and may be expected to approach fairly closely to that of the Swedish furnace.
The charcoal-consumption will certainly be higher, but, as a poorer quality charcoal can be
used, this need not cause any additional expense. The power-consumption will probably be
higher; but it is impossible to speak positively on this point, because the loss in heat, due to
the open top and the absence of a stack, may be largely balanced by the greater efficiency of
a higher-powered furnace, and by the fact that stoppages for repairs will be fewer and less
prolonged. The consumption of electrodes will probably be larger per ton of pig-iron, because
they are somewhat exposed to the air, and perhaps also on account of the greater current density
used in these electrodes. Although, in general, the furnace has much to recommend it as a
simple and effective means for making iron, it must be remembered that the furnace gases are
allowed to burn above the charge; thus not only are they wasted, but they create a serious
nuisance. It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that, in operating such a furnace for the commercial production of pig-iron, the management would ultimately be obliged to close in the
furnace-top, so as to remove the gases from the furnace-room, even if the value of the gases
were neglected. The furnace, so closed in, would then resemble the Helfenstein or the Noble
furnace, already described. If, then, it is decided to smelt in ah electric furnace other than the
Swedish type, it would be practicable to start with a simple pit furnace as, used for ferro-
manganese, and to add to this, if it seems desirable, provision for retaining the heat and gases
and supplying the charge in a more mechanical manner.
If it is found practicable to reduce the crushed ore to a metallic powder in some gas-fired
furnace, this powder can be melted down very simply and cheaply with additions of carbon and
ferro-silicon to produce foundry pig-iron. A simple electric furnace provided with a cover will
probably be the best for this purpose.
General Considerations.
(1.) We have seen that in view of the limited market it is undesirable at present to consider
the production of more than 20 or 30 tons of pig-iron daily for use in foundries.
(2.) The cost of production on so small a scale would be very high, and, as there will not
be a great profit in making pig-iron, it seems doubtful whether a plant of that size could pay
its way under ordinary conditions.
(3.) If, however, we include in the plant furnaces for the production of steel and ferroalloys, which can probably be made with a greater profit, and apart from this will help to carry
the general overhead charges, there is more probability that the plant can be made to operate
at a profit.
Electro-metals Plant.
Messrs. Electro-Metals, of London, are installing an iron-smelting plant for Messrs. Ansaldo
& Co. in the Aosta valley in Italy, and I have received from them the following estimate of the
cost of building a similar plant in Canada.
The plant would consist of six electric furnaces of the Swedish type, each using 3,000 kw.
and producing 10,000 tons of pig-iron a year. This is for the production of a low silicon or
white pig-iron from an ore of about 65 per cent. iron. The plant would consist of a large furnace
building, divided lengthwise into three bays. One of these contains the transformers and other
electrical apparatus, the central bay would contain the six electric furnaces, and the remaining
bay would be devoted to the disposal of the pig-iron and the slag.    Besides these, there would 9 Geo. 5 Electric Smelting of Iron Ore. L 63
be a storage-house for the charcoal, and stores for electrodes and other supplies, with bins or
storage-space for the ores, fluxes,  and pig-iron.    No  mention is made of unloading piers or
wharves, or of railroad-tracks, or of the land on which the works would be erected, and it seems
probable that further charges should be made for these.
The plant of 18,000 kw. is estimated to cost:—
Six shafts complete with charging-bells and pipes   $170,000
Twenty  (1,000 kw.)  transformers  (two spares)        150,000
Switch-gear          40,000
Elevators       15,000
Pumps and water plant       40,000
Blowers, fans, and ducts        20,000
Motors         5,000
Buildings    -.'     100,000
Total     $540,000
This is equal to $9 per ton of yearly output.
For present consideration we may take a plant, producing pig-iron alone, of half this size;
that is, of 9,000 kw.. This would make more pig-iron than we need, but would be of about the
right effective size and expense. Such a plant, with additional charges for the land, unloading-
wharf, tracks, and rolling-stock, would cost in the order of $350,000 to $400,000. The estimated
output for this would be 30,000 tons per annum, but this should be corrected (1) for the ore
being of 53 per cent, iron instead of 65 per cent, which will probably reduce the output from
30,000 tons to 26,000; (2) a further correction, in view of the production of foundry instead
of white iron, will reduce it to 24,400 tons, or 8,100 tons for each of the three furnaces.
It is probable, however, that the estimated output of 60,000 tons from a six-furnace plant
was a conservative figure, and it appears reasonable to assume an average daily output per
furnace of 25 tons of foundry iron, even from the low-grade ores of British Columbia. Twenty-
five tons a day per furnace would be 9,000 tons per annum for each furnace, or 27,000 tons for
the whole plant, and I shall base my calculations on this.
By way of comparison, I add an estimate, made for me in 1914, of the cost of building
in Canada a 9,000-kw. plant of the Swedish type. The estimate was prepared by Mr. Assar
'Gronwall, of Ludvika, in Sweden. It is probable that the firm have introduced some economics
since the date of this estimate, but the cost of construction, especially in British Columbia, has
increased rapidly, and it seems likely that a complete plant, including land, wharf, and rolling-
stock, will cost in the order of $400,000, or $15 per yearly ton of output.
Plant of Three Electric Furnaces of 3,000 Kw. each.
Excavation, levelling, railway-tracks, store-house for ore and coke or
charcoal, foundations for buildings and furnaces   $ 30,000
House of light iron construction for three furnaces       60,000
Crusher-plant house, laboratory, inclusive of appliances, workshop
for repairs, and storehouse, and various smaller shops       12,000
Three,furnaces at 4,000 horse-power, with fans and gas-pipes       75,000
Electric transformer instruments with low-tension conductors ....    100,000
Moulds, ladles, tools, and instruments        10,000
Travelling crane of 5 tons capacity .         6,000
Ore-crusher,   apparatus   for   transporting   crushed   ore   to   the
furnace-top          7,000
Side-tracks for transport and other transporting devices         7,000
Water-pipes and waste-pipes         5,000
Drawings, supervision during construction, and unforeseen expenditures       48,000
Total     $360,000 L 64 Bureau of Mines. 1919
If the Electro-Metals type of furnace is used there would probably be only two of these
built, and the remaining power would be devoted to the production of ferro-alloys and to steel-
Plant with Open-pit Furnaces.
I visited in California a plant at Bay Point, San Francisco, and another at Heroult, in
Shasta County, where ferro-manganese and other ferro-alloys are made in electric furnaces.
The largest furnace used was a rectangular open-pit furnace, using 3,000 kw. and having three
24-inch carbon electrodes which are suspended in the furnace. Messrs. Beckman and Linden,
who built and operated the plant at Bay Point, consider that furnaces of this type would give
entire satisfaction for the production of pig-iron, and that such furnaces would have the added
advantage that they could be employed at any time for the production of ferro-alloys. These
furnaces would undoubtedly be cheaper to build and the repairs would be less costly, but, on
the other hand, they would also certainly be less efficient than the Swedish furnaces. Messrs.
Beckman and Linden prepared for me an estimate of the cost of a plant of this type, having
one 3,000-kw. furnace for the production of pig-iron and other smaller furnaces for ferro-alloys.
I have changed a few of their figures to provide for the construction of two 3,000-kw. furnaces.
7,000-kio. Plant for Pig-iron and Ferro-alloys.
Two 3,000-kw. 3-phase furnaces, installed, including casing, electrode-
holders, jib-cranes, regulators, and foundations  " $ 30,000
. Seven 1,000-kw. single-phase, 33,000-volt primary, 60-cycle oil-insulated
and water-cooled transformers, installed, with from 60 to 120 volts
in 5-volt steps on the secondary side  (one of these transformers
is spare), at $6,500       45,500
Two sets low-tension busses-for 3,000-kw. furnaces, installed       10,000
Two sets high-tension busses for 3,000-kw. furnaces, including oil-
switches, switchboard, and meters        12,000
Three   300-kw.   furnaces,   single-phase,   installed,   including   casing,
electrode-holders, and regulating device       10,000
Four 300-kw. 33,000-volt primary, 60-cycle, single-phase, oil-insulated
and water-cooled transformers, installed, with a range of from 70
to 100 volts in 5-volt steps on the secondary side        10,000
Three 50-kw. single-phase, 60-cycle, 33,000 volts to 440 volts, air-cooled
transformers, installed, with switchboard (to be used for industrial purposes around plant)            2,000
One 25-kw. motor-generator set for regulators, etc., installed         2,000
Three sets low-tension busses for 300-kw. furnaces          1,500
One furnace building, built entirely of reinforced concrete, including
electric travelling crane, tracks, metal-handling equipment, etc...      45,000
One transformer building, built entirely of reinforced concrete       13,000
One shipping-store building of wood and stucco exterior finish _         7,000
One laboratory with complete equipment          7,500
One store-room and change-room building, built of wood and exterior
stucco   finish,   including   steel   lockers,, toilets,   wash-basins,   and
shower-baths          8,000
One machine-shop with equipment        10,000
One office building          3,000
One gate-house with time-clock and time-keeper's office '. 500
Railroad-tracks, industrial track, ore-handling equipment, water-
supply, sewerage, fence, and industrial lighting, etc       25,000
Land, 4 acres        4,000
Engineering and contingencies, 20 per cent       -49,200
Total of Beckman and Linden's estimate   $295,200 9 Geo. 5 Electric Smelting of Iron Ore. L 65
,  Brought forward    $295,200
Additional items—
Dock with unloading locomotive, crane; etc  30,000
Charcoal storage  8.000
3- to 10-ton ladles for handling metal  ;  6,000
Flues and stack  '  25,000
Total     $364,200
Say a total of $350,000.
In the above list I have added to Messrs. Beckman and Linden's estimate a few items that
should apparently be included. A dock and unloading plant would be needed for economical
operation on a large scale, a storehouse would be needed for the charcoal, and it will probably
be desirable to use large ladles for handling the molten metal. In the plant at Bay Point the
furnace gases escape and burn in the furnace-room, creating a very serious nuisance. I would
advise the construction of suitable flues and stack for the removal of furnace gases and the
collection of the dust blown out by the furnaces. These flues can be placed below the eharging-
The above estimate represents the cost of a complete plant having one furnace making
foundry iron for sale, a second making white iron for steel-making, and three smaller furnaces
for ferro-alloys. As, however, we are considering in the first place the cost of production of
pig-iron alone, I have rearranged the estimate for this purpose, so as to represent a plant
of 9,000 kw. making foundry iron in three 3,000-kw. furnaces. This estimate should then be
comparable with the Swedish estimates for a 9,000-kw. plant.
Beckman and Linden's Estimate modified for a 9,000-kw. Plant making Pig-iron.
(For details see previous estimate.)
Three 3,000-kw. furnaces    $ 45,000
Eleven 1,000-kw. transformers (two spares)    71,000
Three sets low-tension busses   15,000
Three sets high-tension busses   18,000 -
Three 100-kw. transformers, etc  3,000
One 25-kw. motor-generator, etc  2,000
One furnace building, etc  35,000
One transformer building    15,000
One shipping-store  '  7,000
One laboratory  7,500
One store-room    8,000
One machine-shop  10,000
One office building  3,000
One gate-house    500
Railroad-tracks, etc  25,000
Land  5,000
Engineering, etc., 20 per cent       54,000
Total from Beckman and Linden's figures , . $324,000
Additional items—
Dock, etc  30,000
Charcoal storage     8,000
3- to 10-ton ladles    6,000
Flues and stack    25,000
Total  $393,000
The corresponding figures, derived from the Swedish estimate, were between $350,000 and
$400,000, but this does not mean that the Swedish furnace is the cheaper, as the estimates differ
in completeness and are based on different conditions.    We may, however, conclude that a com- L 66 Bureau of Mines. 1919
plete plant using 9,000 kw. for the production of pig-iron would cost about $400,000. It would
appear certain that with an equal completeness of construction the Swedish plant would be
somewhat more costly than the other, and for further calculation we may assume the cost of a
Californian plant of 9,000 kw. to be $400,000, and of an equally complete Swedish plant $450,000.
In order to obtain an independent judgment in regard to the general arrangement and cost
of an electric-smelting plant in British Columbia, I discussed the design with Mr. R. H. Stewart,
of Vancouver, and he contributed some general considerations in regard to the design and cost
data for the general portions of the plant, exclusive of the electrical furnaces and appliances.
The design was for a plant of 20,000 horse-power (15,000 kw.) for the production of 100 tons
of iron daily and 20 tons of ferro-alloys.    The plant was designed to handle daily the following
quantities :—
Iron ore  200
Charcoal     50
Limestone     20
Electrodes         2
Manganese ore     20
Quartz     10
Chrome ore     10
Scrap-steel     20
Although the plant as a whole was based on a daily capacity of 100 tons of iron and 20 tons
of ferro-alloys, the electrical and furnace equipment is only about half of this, corresponding to
a consumption of 10,000 horse-power or 7,500 kw., and a production of 50 tons of pig-iron and
5 tons of ferro-alloys:   provision being made for extension at a later date.
The furnace building wrould be 50 feet wide, 30 feet high, and 150 feet long. It would
contain along one long side two 3,000-kw. open furnaces for smelting iron ore and three 300-kw.
open furnaces for ferro-alloys. On the other side of this wall would be the transformer building,
30 feet wide and 30 feet high. The supplies of ore for the furnaces would be delivered by an
elevated track in front of the furnaces and level with the charging-platforms. The furnace gases
would be removed by flues below the charging-platforms. The pig-iron could be tapped into large
ladles and cast in sand or in a casting-machine or poured direct into a Bessemer converter for
steel-making. The ores and other supplies coming by water would be unloaded into storage by
a locomotive crane. The charcoal would need a large storage-shed, perhaps 300 feet long and
90 feet wide, which would contain a month's supply, stored not more than 10 feet deep.
The order of operations would be as follows:—■
(1.) Unloading from the dock directly into storage.
(2.)  Removal from storage, using the same crane, to crushing and sampling plant.
(3.)  Removal from crushing plant to the furnace charge-bins.
(4.) Delivering from charge-bins over weighing-hoppers to the charge-cars and thence to the
side of the furnace.
(5.)   Smelting for pig-iron or ferro-alloy.
(6.) Molten pig-iron received in ladle and handled by crane to casting-bed or casting-machine
or to steel-making furnace.
(7.) The slag would be received in a ladle and removed by a locomotive.
The following is based on Mr. Stewart's estimate for' the cost of buildings and general plant.
Items for the furnaces and electrical equipment have been added from Messrs. Beckman and
Linden's estimate:—
20,000-h.p. Plant with 1,000 Kw. of Electric Furnaces and Equipment.
Mr. Stewart's items—
Locomotive crane, buckets, and grab-buckets    $ 19,000
Dock, say   10,000
Electric locomotive, cars, and equipment for handling between the
wharf and the crushing plant   10,000
Crushing and sampling, say   17,000
Charcoal storage for one month's supply   8,000
Carried forward    $ 64,000 9 Geo. 5 Electric Smelting of Iron Ore. L 67
Brought forward    $ 64,000
Tracks, etc., for the above-mentioned equipment   3,500
Lifting-magnet for steel scrap, etc  1,200
Storage of manganese ore  3,500
Storehouse for electrodes and other supplies, including a small crane.. 6,000
Six furnace charging-bins, including weighing-hoppers and mechanical
feeders  9,000
Tracks, charge-cars, and locomotive, with supports for the overhead
track  10,000
Furnace building, including crane runway  25,000
Transformer building  12,000
3- to 10-ton ladles  6,000
Flues and stacks   25,000
20-ton crane, 50-foot span  18,000
Laboratory and equipment   6,000
Office  5,000
Machine-shop and blacksmith's shop'  12,000
Wash-house and change-room  3,000
Slag-handling equipment   8,000
Items from Messrs. Beckman and Linden—
Two 3,000-kw. 3-phase furnaces, installed ._  30,000
Seven 1,000-kw. single-phase transformers   45,500
Two sets low-tension busses for 3,000-kw. furnaces   10,000
Two sets high-tension busses, etc., for 3,000-kw. furnaces  12,000
Three 300-kw. single-phase furnaces, installed  10,000
Four 300-kw. transformers, installed  10,000
Three 50-kw. single-phase transformers    2,000
One 25-kw. motor-generator set for regulators   2,000
Three sets low-tension busses for 300-kw. furnaces  1,500
Land, say  6,000
Engineering and contingencies, 20 per cent, on $129,000  25,800
Total  $372,000
Modifying this estimate to represent a plant of 9,000 kw. making pig-iron only, we have :—
9,000-kw. Plant for Pig-iron.
Mr. Stewart's items    $217,000
Three 3,000-kw. furnaces  45,000
Eleven 1,000-kw. transformers    71,000
Three sets low-tension busses   15,000
Three sets high-tension busses, etc  18,000
Three 100-kw. transformers   3,000
One 25-kw. motor-generators '  2,000
Land  6,000
Engineering, etc., 20 per cent, on $160,000   32,000
Total  $409,000
These figures agree with the previous estimate of $400,000. '
Design and Cost of Complete Plant.
The foregoing estimates of the cost of a 9,000-kw. plant for making pig-iron are for use in
calculating the cost of smelting pig-iron.   Any plant actually constructed would be more complex
in nature, as it would include furnaces for ferro-alloys and for steel-making.
Such a plant, as has already been indicated, might suitably contain :—
Two 3,000-kw. furnaces making pig-iron.
Three 300-kw. furnaces making ferro-alloys. L 68 Bureau of Mines. 1919
This plant will produce daily about 25 tons of foundry pig-iron and about 30 tons of white
pig-iron for steel-making, together with about 3 tons of ferro-alloys. The plant would cost in"
the order of $370,000.
To make the plant complete and self-contained, there should be added electric or other
furnaces for making steel, and a steel-foundry and rolling-mill for handling the steel so produced.
I have obtained from Mr. W. G. Dauncey approximate figures for the cost of a steel-foundry
-and rolling-mill.    This plant would handle in all about 50 tons of steel per day.
Cost of Steel Plant.
Main   foundry   building,    including   drying-ovens,    core-ovens,   pits,
moulds, and a 25-ton overhead crane and runway   $ 60,000
Lean-to building for furnace-house  12,700
Three 6-ton (rated) electric furnaces  75,000
Transformers and electrical equipment for three furnaces  54,000
One 9-inch rolling-mill, including building, one continuous heating-
furnace, and three reheating-furnaces   125,000
Total   $326,700
Only two of the electric furnaces would be in operation at any one time, and they would
use between them about 3,000 kw., which would bring the total consumption in the whole plant
up to about 10,000 kw.
As an alternative to the above, Mr. Dauncey recommends a steel-foundry equipped with two
oil-burning open-hearth furnaces, specified as follows :—
Two 15-ton open-hearth oil-fired furnaces; three 15-ton ladles; one
overhead 25-ton travelling crane; twenty charging-trucks and
boxes;   storage oil-tanks and all necessary small equipment for
handling 90 tons of steel per twenty-four hours    $145,000
Necessary buildings for the above        35,000
Total     $1SO,000.
This second estimate is for steel-foundry only, without any rolling-mill, but, on the other
hand, it has a capacity of 90 tons of steel in place of some 50 tons provided for in the first
Collecting the figures together, we find for the complete plant:—
7,000-kw. electric-smelting plant for making pig-iron and ferro-alloys.. $375,000
3,000-kw. electric steel-foundry and rolling-mills       325,000
Complete iron and steel plant   $700,000
The final daily product of this plant, after allowing for the use of pig-iron and ferro-alloys
in the plant itself, would be about:— Tong
Foundry pig-iron  25
Ferro-silicon, ferro-manganese, and ferro-chrome      2
Steel castings and rolled steel  50
Although the output of foundry iron for sale will be only 25 tons a day, a further 25 or 30
tons of pig-iron will be made for conversion into steel, and additional power will be used for
steel-making and the production of ferro-alloys. Instead, therefore, of calculating the cost of
producing iron in a plant of 25 tons daily output, using some 3,000-kw., we may fairly figure
on a plant of three times this capacity, or 9,000 kw., with a production of 75 tons of foundry
iron daily. 9 Geo. 5 Electric Smelting of Iron Ore. L 69
The main items of cost in the production of foundry iron are: —
Iron ore of about 55 per cent, costing $4 per net ton.
Charcoal costing $6 to $8 per net ton.
Electric power, labour, and management.
It was understood that electric power could probably be obtained for about $15 per horsepower year, and the following calculations were made on that assumption. It now appears that
a charge of 0.5 cent per kilowatt-hour would be made for electric power, and a calculation on
this basis is given towards the end of this Appendix.
The cost of labour is discussed in Appendix VII. and in the following pages; it appears to
vary from about $4 to $8 per ton of pig-iron, according to the size and nature of the plant, and
with the probable variations in wages.
The following discussion is based on the production of foundry pig-iron by the usual electric-
smelting methods in furnaces of the Swedish or of the open-pit type in a plant having a total
production of 70 or SO tons daily. The cost of making electric-furnace iron by a method involving
the preliminary reduction or metallizing of the crushed ore is discussed in Appendix XII.
Cost with the Swedish Furnaces.
I have received from Messrs. Electro-Metals, of Sweden, the following estimate of the cost
of a ton of pig-iron made in a six-furnace plant of 60,000 tons per year. I quote this unaltered,
for interest, as showing the cost at which electric-furnace iron can be made under exceptionally
favourable conditions :—■
1.5 tons of ore at $1   $ 1 50
0.5 ton of lime at $1   50
0.33 ton of charcoal at $6        2 00
10 lb. of electrodes at 5 cents         '50
Electric current at $8 per horse-power year       2 50
Repairs and maintenance  50
Labour       2 00
. Management        1 00
Interest and depreciation        1 00
Total cost per ton of pig    $11 50
In this estimate the word " ton " probably denotes in each case the metric ton of 2,204 lb.,
which is nearly the same as the gross" ton of 2,240 lb.
The corresponding figures in British Columbia, in view of the higher costs of ore, power,
supplies, aud labour, the smaller scale of the plant, the lower grade of the ore, 'and the
production of foundry iron instead of white iron, would be about as follows for 1 gross ton
of iron in a plant of three 3,000-kw. furnaces making 27,000 tons of iron per annum:—
2 net tons of ore at $4  $ 8 00
0.4 net ton of charcoal at $8        3 20
15 lb. of electrodes at 8 cents       1 20
0.45 horse-power year at $15        6 75
Repairs and maintenance        1 00
Labour *       4 50
Management ._       2 00
Interest 6 per cent, and depreciation 10 per cent       2 60
Royalty to Electro-Metals  :  50
Total .  $29 75
It appears that by this system foundry iron can be made at a cost of about $30 per ton.
In regard to these figures it will be noted:— .
(1.) That the charge for ore ($8) is high, partly because of the high cost per ton of the ore;
this cost could probably be reduced to about $3 per ton of ore if the iron-mining industry should
in the future develop on a larger scale. - The charge is high, also, because the ore is low grade,
containing about 55 per cent, of iron, so that 2 tons of ore are needed to yield 1 ton of pig-iron.
If it were possible to obtain a 65-per-cent. ore at $3 per ton, the item of $8 for ore would be
reduced to $5. L 70 Bureau of Mines. 1919
(2.) I have assumed elsewhere that charcoal could be made from mill-waste at from $6 to
$8 per ton. For the open furnace I take the lower figure of $6, but for the Swedish furnace,
which requires a better grade of charcoal, I am taking the higher figure. I see no prospect of
a material reduction in this item. The amount charged (0.4 ton) is higher than in the previous
table, partly on account of the production of foundry iron instead of white iron, and partly
because charcoal is weighed by the short ton and pig-iron by the long ton, while the original
estimates are doubtless based in each case on the metric ton.
(3.) The electrode-consumption has been increased in view of the production of foundry iron,
and the price is that at which electrodes can be imported from Eastern makers. It is possible
that by making electrodes locally the cost could be reduced to 4 cents a pound, thus reducing the
item from $1.20 to 60 cents per ton of pig-iron.
(4.) The charge of $2.50 for power, estimated by the Electro-Metals Company, corresponds
with a consumption of 0.31 horse-power year per ton of iron. This figure must be raised by
about 0.05 on account of the lower grade of ore, and a further 0.05 on account of the production
of foundry iron, thus making 0.41; 0.45 appears to be as low a figure as it is safe to assume
under these conditions.* If in the future power could be obtained at $10 per horse-power year,
the item of $6.75 would be reduced to $4.50, effecting a saving of $2.25 per ton.
(5.) The items for labour, management, and maintenance have all been increased from the
Electro-Metals estimate in view of the high cost of labour and salaries at the present time.
It does not seem likely that any material reduction in these items can be expected during the
next five or ten years.
(6.) Interest at 6 per cent, was calculated on the cost of the plant, $400,000, and a working
capital of $100,000; and depreciation was calculated at 10 per cent, on the cost of the plant.
The output was taken at 27,000 tons per annum. Royalty to the Electro-Metals has been
assumed at 50 cents per ton, but I have no grounds for this figure.
(7.) If the economies indicated in (1), (3), and (4) could all be carried out, ttie cost of
making pig-iron would be reduced to about $24 per ton. In view of this, it would appear that
a plant making pig-iron in the Swedish furnace with $10 power should be able to continue to
operate at a profit even when prices fall considerably below their present level.
The following details of the cost of making electric-furnace iron (probably white pig-iron)
at Gellivare, in North Sweden, are contained, in a report by J. A. Leffler, which appeared in the
Iron Age, September 13th, 1917, page 605. I have changed the items from English to Canadian
Cost of One (Metric) Ton of (White) Pig-iron.
1.6 (metric) ton of ore (50 per cent, ore and 50 per cent, briquettes)
at $2.74    $ 4 38
Limestone  16
'     0.4 ton of charcoal at $12.50  5 00
0.272 kilowatt-year (0.365 horse-power year at $9.50)     3 46
Electrodes    44
Repair and upkeep   88
Wages  1 56
Management and sundries   54
Royalty  34
Sinking fund    86
Rents     1 38
Carriage to Lulea   1 16
Total   $20 16
Comparing my estimate for present conditions in British Columbia, it will be seen:—
(1.)  That we have to face an increase of $3.62 on the cost of ore.
(2.) The consumption of charcoal is taken as the same amount, but we should obtain
charcoal more cheaply, thus saving $1.80.
(3.) My power assumption is 0.085 horse-power year more than the above. This is justified
by the lower grade of ore used and the higher grade of iron to be made.    This difference, together
* A  discussion  of the  power-consumption will  be found in Appendix VIII. 9 Geo. 5 Electric Smelting of Iron Ore. L 71
with the increased cost per year ($15 instead of $9.50), produces an increase of $3.29 in the
charge for power.
(4.) Electrodes cost 76 cents more on account of the greater consumption and the higher
(5.) Repairs and maintenance are only 12 cents more. .
(6.)  Royalty is assumed at 16 cents more.
(7.) Interest and depreciation in my estimate come to 36 cents more than the charges for
sinking fund and " rents " in the Swedish estimate.
(8.) Labour and management come to $6.50 in my estimate, but only $2.10 in Sweden.
This difference of $4.40 is due partly to the smaller scale of the proposed plant, but mainly to
the very much higher scale of wages and salaries now obtaining in British Columbia.
It will be seen that the increased amount of my estimate (about $10 more than the Swedish
cost) is due, in about equal proportions, to the increased charges for ore, power, and labour.
Magnetic Concentration of the Ore.
It may be worth while to attempt an estimate of the results of concentrating the ore before
smelting it, so as to find whether any economy may be expected to result from this operation.
Assume the ore is a magnetite containing 50 per cent, of iron and costing $3 a ton at the
concentrating plant, with a further charge of $1 per ton freight to the smelter. The cost, using
the "undressed ore, is $8.80 per ton of pig-iron, as 2.2 net tons of ore would be needed. The ore
is crushed to a coarse powder at a cost of 50 cents a ton. One ton of the crushed ore will
probably yield 0.6 ton of 70-per-cent. concentrate and 0.4 ton of 20-per-cent tailings. The concentrate is sintered with cheap fuel on the Dwight-Lloyd machine and the briquettes shipped to
the smelter. The cost of dressing and sintering will be about $1 per ton of the concentrate.
The cost of the product per ton of pig-iron will be:—
2.4 tons of ore mined at $3   $ 7 20
2.4 tons of ore crushed at 50 cents       1 20
1.4 tons of concentrates, dressing and sintering at $1        1 40
1.4 tons of concentrates, freight at $1        1 40
.   " $11 20
2.2 tons of 50-per-cent. ore at $4       8 SO
Increased cost due to process   $ 2 40
On the other side we may expect the following economies:—
2% lb. of electrodes at 8 cents      $      20
0.08 horse-power year at $15       1 20
Repairs and maintenance   15
Labour    65
Management    30
Interest and depreciation  40
Total   $290
It does not appear, therefore, that a great saving could be effected by dressing a 50-per-cent.
ore if crushing and sintering were necessary, though Messrs. Beckman and Linden consider that
a net saving of nearly $3 per ton could be effected in this way. I may add that for this calculation I have assumed that the operation of sintering would remove the sulphur so completely that
it would not be necessary to form a slag for its removal, and also that a white iron would be
made and turned to foundry iron by the addition of ferro-silicon, so that it would not be essential
to have any silica in the furnace charge. An alternative plan would be to use about two-thirds
of sintered concentrates and one-third of undressed ore in the furnace charge, thus obtaining
enough silica for the production of foundry iron.
Although the above calculation shows only a small saving by the concentration of a
50-per-cent. iron ore, it is possible that a more important economy could be effected by
magnetic concentration in the manner indicated in Appendix III. L 72 Bureau of Mines. .    1919
Production of Foundry Iron.
On account of the fact that the Swedish furnace is generally used for the production of- a
white pig-iron containing not more than about 1 per cent, of silicon, we have no exact data for
the production of foundry iron of, say, 3 per cent, of silicon in this furnace. We are satisfied,
however, that there would be a decided increase on this account in the cost for power, charcoal,
electrodes, and maintenance, besides the general overhead, labour, and interest charges. In view
of this, it is worth while to consider what the cost would be of converting white iron into foundry
iron by the addition of ferro-silicon. One ton of iron containing 1 per cent, of silicon would need
the addition of 0.04 ton of 50-per-cent. ferro-silicon to raise its silicon content to 3 per cent.
This ferro-silicon would cost, made in the plant, about $85 per ton, or $3.50 for the amount
If the pig-iron were received in a large ladle and the ferro were thrown in red-hot, there
should be enough heat to effect a perfect mixture; and as the iron is cast into pigs for sale,
and then remelted in a cupola, any irregularity would be remedied before the final casting.
The saving in the cost of smelting through producing white iron instead of foundry iron would
about equal the cost of the ferro-silicon, and there would be the added advantage of making a
single furnace product and turning as much of this as was needed into foundry iron.
Mr. Gronwall, in his estimate made in 1914, places the difference in cost between grey and
white pig-iron as :—
0.03 ton of charcoal.
0.03 horse-power year.
5 lb. of electrodes.
10 cents for repairs.
7 cents for petty charges.
Under our conditions this would mean :—
Charcoal at $8   $0' 24
Power at $15           45
Electrodes at 8 cents          40
Repairs and petty charges          21
Total  c   $1 30
We must add, however, a proportion of the charges for labour, management, and fixed charges
amounting to about 60 cents, thus bringing the whole up to $1.90.    The additional expense may
easily be as much as 0.05 ton of charcoal and 0.05 horse-power year, and the increased cost
would then be about $3 a ton  (everything considered), or nearly as much as the cost of the
■ ferro-silicon addition.
The ferro-silicon used was found to cost $3.50, but, as it replaces an equal weight of pig-iron
costing $1, the net cost of the addition will only be $2.50 per ton of the resulting foundry iron.
The foregoing discussion is not intended to prove that the addition of ferro-silicon to white
iron is the best way of making foundry iron, but merely that the use of the Swedish furnace
for foundry iron would be perfectly safe, because ferro-silicon could be added without much
additional expense if it were found impracticable to make foundry iron directly.
Cost of Smelting in Simple Pit Furnace.
The following is an estimate of the cost of making a ton of foundry iron in a 3,000-kw.
furnace of the simple pit type. This estimate has been prepared by Messrs. Beckman and
Linden, depending on their commercial experience of the production of ferro-manganese in
such a furnace. As, however, they have no data with regard to the production of pig-iron,
they have accepted my figures for the probable consumption of power and charcoal in such a
furnace. These assumptions, which are based on calculation, are that the open furnace would
need 0.50 horse-power year of electric power, which is 0.05 more than I allowed for the Swedish
furnace, and 0.50 ton of charcoal, which is 0.1 ton more than I allowed for the Swedish furnace.
Messrs. Beckman and Linden argued, from general considerations, that the open furnace
would be at least as economical of power as the Swedish furnace, but were not prepared to
guarantee such a performance. I do not think it will be safe to assume any better figures than
those I have given until the performance of. this furnace has been demonstrated in commercial 9 Geo. 5 Electric Smelting of Iron Ore. L 73
operation over a considerable period. The figures they give for labour, general expenses, and
interest are probably too high, because they are considering a single 3,000-kw. furnace, while
the plant we have in view will employ about 10,000 kw. The output of the single furnace is
taken as 8,Q00 tons per annum.
Beckman and Linden's Estimate of the Cost of One Long Ton of Foundry Pig-iron made in
Open Furnace from a 50-per-cent. Ore*
Iron ore, 2 tons at $4 per ton    $ 8 00
Electrical power, 0.5 horse-power year at $15   7 50
Charcoal, 0.5 ton at $6 per ton   ._  3 00
Electrodes, 20 lb. at 10 cents per pound   ,2 00
Labour     8 00
Supplies  1 00
Plant and general office expenses  5 00
Interest and depreciation, 20 per cent, on $180,000  4 50
Total    $39 00
If we are considering this furnace as a unit in a plant of 10,000 kw., it seems probable that
the cost of labour would be about $6, the general expenses $3, and the interest and depreciation
$3. With these changes the total cost would he reduced to $33.50, or about $4 more than my
estimate with the Swedish furnace.
Messrs. Beckman and Linden consider that using 50-per-cent. ore at $4 they could obtain
a 65-per-cent concentrate at $6.45 per ton, including the cost for concentrating and sintering
of $1.25 per ton of concentrate. Using this concentrate, they estimate the following, assuming
an output of 10,000 tons per annum from a 3,000-kw. furnace:—
Beckman and Linden's Estimate of the Cost of Foundry Iron from 65-per-cent. Concentrate.
Iron ore, 1.54 tons at $6.45 per ton    $ 9 93
Electric power, 0.4 horse-power year at $15    6 00
Charcoal, 0.5 ton at $6  ' ,. 3 00
"   Electrodes, 20 lb. at 10 cents per pound   2 00
Labour .   6 40
Supplies  ...:  1 00
Plant and general office expenses  5 00
Interest and depreciation, 20 per cent, on $140,500   2 SI
Total  ....'   $36 14
This estimate shows a saving of $3 as compared with the cost of smelting the undressed
ore, but I am doubtful whether so small a degree of concentration would do more than barely
pay for itself. Thus, even assuming the small cost of $1.25 per ton of concentrate to cover the
crushing of the ore, the magnetic dressing, and the sintering of the concentrate, it appears that
Messrs. Beckman and Linden have figured ou a perfect dressing, losing no iron in the tailings.
If we assume the latter to contain even so little as 15 per cent, of iron, we would need 1.43 tons
of ore for each ton of concentrate, which with the above charge would work out at $6.97 per ton,
or $10.30 per ton of iron. The difference in power-consumption of 0.10 horse-power year per ton
was deduced from my own figures, but is probably rather too high; 0.075 would be a more probable
estimate. A mistake appears to have been made in the item for interest and depreciation, which
can hardly be reduced from $4.50 to $2.81 by the increased richness of the ore. I believe it
"would be found in practice that the enrichment of the ore from 50 to 65 per cent, would not effect
any considerable saving. On the other hand, as I show elsewhere, if an ore of, say, 40-per-cent.
could be mined decidedly more cheaply per unit of iron contents than a 50-per-cent. ore, a
concentrate of 65 per cent, or upwards could probably be made from this cheaper ore at such
a price as to offer a material saving. It should be added that the whole of the foregoing discussion depends upon the ease and completeness with which the ores of British Columbia can be
concentrated.    At present we have uo information on this subject.
* It will be found that, making reasonable allowance for losses, the ore would have to contain about
55 per cent, of iron in order that 2 net tons of it should yield 1 long ton of pig-iron. L 74 Bureau of Mines. 1919
An examination of the above estimate will show that the consumption of iron ore must be
taken as 2 long tons of 50-per-cent ore and 1.54 long tons of 65-per-cent. concentrate respectively
per long ton of pig-iron produced. They differ in this respect from my own estimates, which
are in short tons of ore per long ton of pig-iron. My estimates were made in that way because
the cost of ore, charcoal, etc., in British Columbia is quoted on the short ton, while pig-iron is
always sold by the long ton.
For the purpose of this report, I furnished Messrs. Beckman and Linden with the following
estimate of the commercial consumption of power and charcoal per long ton of foundry pig-iron
made in an open-pit furnace. This estimate may be regarded as too conservative, but I have no
data on which I could base a closer estimate. ,.-,. _,
ii.*". xear.       charcoal.
White charcoal iron from 65-per-cent. concentrate       0.35 0.45
White charcoal iron from 50-per-cent. iron ore     0.45 0.45
Grey charcoal iron from 65-per-cent. concentrate     0.40 0.50
Grey charcoal iron from 50-per-cent. iron ore     0.50 0.50
I have no reason for doubting the general correctness of these figures, which, of course, will
vary with the size of furnace and operating conditions, but for purposes of comparison I would
alter the power-consumption assigned to items 2 and 3 so as to make them equal. Thus the
power-consumption for white charcoal iron from 50-per-cent. ore and for grey charcoal iron from
65-per-cent. concentrate would each be 0.42 or 0.43 horse-power year.
Comparison with Blast-furnace Methods.
It may be of value to compare with my estimate of the cost of making pig-iron in the Swedish
furnace the following estimates by the B. L. Thane Company of the cost of making pig-iron in
a large blast-furnace near Puget sound at 1918 prices:—
B. L. Thane Company's Estimate of the Cost per Long Ton of Blast-furnace Pig-iron.
Iron ore, 3,457 lb. at $4.40 per long ton   $ 6 81
Coke, 2,485 lb. at $9.60 per net ton  11 93
Limestone, 1,000 lb. at $1.90 per long ton ,.  81
Labour  1 50
Materials  1 50
Capital charges  3 40
Total  $25 95
(1.) The charge for iron ore, $6.S1, is less than my estimate of $8, merely because the ore
is assumed to contain 65 per cent, of iron, whereas I have been advised that it will not be safe
to assume more than 55 per cent.; the price per ton of ore being the same ($4.40 per long ton
instead of $4 per short ton).
(2.) The charge for coke, $11.93, is more than the combined charges for charcoal, electrodes,
and power, $11.15.
(3.)  The capital charges are nearly the same, $3.40 and-$2.50, or including the royalty, $3.10.
(4.) The electric-furnace estimate is higher than the other on account of the heavy charges
for labour, $4.50, and management $2, compared with the single item of $1.50 for labour in the
blast-furnace plant This difference is caused mainly by the difference in the scale of operations;
a coke blast-furnace turning out at least 300 tons of iron daily, while the electric furnace would
scarcely make 30 tons.
In conclusion, there does not appear to be any cause, other than the different size of the
furnaces, why electric-furnace iron should cost more than blast-furnace iron under the conditions
we find on the Coast, and providing that power can be obtained at $15 or less.
Two other estimates by the B. L. Thane Company place the consumption of coke at 2,240 lb.,
costing $7.13 per net ton of coke or $7.98 per ton of iron, and at 2,625 lb., costing $12.20 per net
ton of coke or $16 per ton of iron; the total cost of a ton of pig-iron coming to $22 and $30.02
Since the above was written I have received a letter from the British Columbia Electric
Railway Company, which is reproduced in Appendix IV., stating in effect that they would supply
large blocks of power up to 10,000 horse-power in the neighbourhood of Vancouver for a charge 9 Geo. 5 Electric Smelting of Iron Ore. L 75
of 0.5 cent per kilowatt-hour. This charge is so high as to render impossible any large-scale
production of electric pig-iron in the Swedish or open-pit furnace, and unless some other method
can be devised that will need decidedly less power, all that can be done will be to make a small
amount of pig-iron during the present period of extreme high prices. In view of the necessarily
temporary nature of such operation, it would be impossible to install a plant of Swedish furnaces,
and we can only consider the simple open-pit furnace, because, although it uses more power
per ton of pig-iron, it can be installed more quickly and more cheaply, and can easily be converted
to the production of ferro-alloys, or even replaced by electric steel-making furnaces, when the
drop in the -price of pi%-iron shall render its production impossible.
In calculating the cost of making iron in the simple pit furnace with power at 0.5 cent,
I must, for comparison with the previous instances,-convert this figure into a charge for the
horse-power year. For this purpose I shall assume a load factor of 85 per cent., which provides
for stops for repairs, as well as the usual degree of irregularity of power. On this assumption
the horse-power year would cost $27.80. The cost of making a long ton of foundry iron in a
plant of 10,000 kw. would 'be about as follows :—
Cost of One Long Ton of Foundry iron using 0.5-cent Poiver.
Iron ore, 2 tons at $4 per ton  $ 8 00
Electrical power, 0.5 horse-power year at $27.80   13 90
Charcoal, 0.5 ton at $6 per ton  3 00
Electrodes, 20 lb. at 10 cents per pound   2 0O
Labour  6 00
Supplies    1 00
Plant and general office expenses  5 00
Interest and depreciation  . 3 00
Total   .:   $41 90
With so high a charge for power the operations would probably be on a smaller scale, and
it would be inexpedient to install as much labour-saving appliances, so that the cost would agree
more closely with Beckman and Linden's estimate of $39, corrected for the higher price of power.
This would come to $45.40 per ton of pig-iron.    Thus it appears that unless cheaper power can
be obtained the cost of making electric pig-iron in British Columbia will be in the order of $40
to $45 per ton.
The British Columbia Railway Company offer 2,000 kw. of $15 power on Vancouver island,
but this does not improve the situation materially, because the scale of operations would be so
small that the cost of a ton of iron would certainly be in excess of $40.
It should also be noted that the above offers of power carry some restrictions with regard
to the company's peak-load periods.    I have no particulars in regard to this, but no doubt it
would further increase the operating cost by reducing the output from a given electrical plant
and staff.
Introductory Note by Dr. Stansfield.
When undertaking the present investigation I considered that it was very important to
decide whether the high Swedish furnace or the simpler pit furnace used at Heroult would be
the more suitable under the conditions existing in British Columbia.
I was familiar with the Swedish furnaces, but not with the Californian furnace, and I therefore visited San Francisco and Heroult. At San Francisco I met Messrs. Beckman and Linden,
an engineering firm who have specialized in electric smelting and had recently erected a plant L 76 Bureau of Mines. 1919
for the production of ferro-alloys at Bay Point. Mr. Beckman is familiar with conditions in
Sweden as well as in California, and I therefore discussed with him the design of furnace and
plant for the production of pig-iron. In spite of his knowledge of the Swedish type, of electric
furnace, Mr. Beckman concluded that a simple pit furnace of the kind used for making ferroalloys would, on the whole, be better than the Swedish furnace for the conditions in British
Columbia. Such a furnace is substantially the same as the furnace that has been used at
Heroult, with the exception of the roof and charging-_chutes. In view of Mr. Beckman's knowledge of Sweden and California and of his experience in designing, erecting, and operating the
plant at Bay Point, I asked him to prepare a design for an electric-smelting plant in British
Columbia. The general outline of the plant was arranged between us, and I furnished him
with the necessary data in regard to the nature and cost of the ore, charcoal, power, and labour.
I understood that he would give an estimate for the consumption of power and charcoal per
ton of pig-iron, but Mr. Beckman finally decided to take my figures for these items as the basis
for his report.
I had in mind at that time a plant which would contain:—-
Three 3,000-kw. furnaces for smelting ore.
Three 300-kw. furnaces for smelting ferro-alloys.
Two 1,500-kw. furnaces for making steel.
At first, however, the building was to be large enough for two 3,000-kw. and three 300-kw.
furnaces; and only one of the 3,000-kw. furnaces, together with the three 300-kw. furnaces,
were at first to be installed. Unfortunately, Mr. Beckman based his design of the plant and
his estimate of the cost of making iron on the smallest equipment considered, which was only
intended to be temporary, and on this account his estimate of the cost per ton of making pig-iron
is higher than necessary.
Report by Beckman and Linden Engineering Corporation,  San Francisco, July, 1918.
General Remarks.
The following report is made at the request of, and is based upon figures which have been
supplied by, Dr. Alfred Stansfield, of McGill University, Montreal, and has reference to a
possible pig-iron industry in British Columbia. All of the conclusions reached are based upon
and deduced from information received in this manner.
Location of Plant.
In British Columbia there is available a considerable amount of developed hydro-electric
power and also a large amount of power which is awaiting development. It would be considered
advisable in connection with this investigation to locate the proposed pig-iron plant at a place
where already developed power is available, and in such locality that the raw materials essential
in this industry are obtainable with the least effort. We may take, for example, such a point
as Port Moody, -approximately ten miles distant from Vancouver. This community has access
to the Canadian Pacific Railway and also deep-water facilities. The British Columbia Electric
Railway Company, Limited, have transmission-lines already in Port Moody. Port Moody has a
small electric furnace operating for the manufacture of other products, which would facilitate
the obtaining of labour to some extent for the undertaking along the lines suggested.
General Outline of Project.
It is a well-known fact that in Sweden great quantities of pig-iron are manufactured by
means of reducing iron ore in electric furnaces, utilizing charcoal as reducing agent The
conditions existing in Sweden and those existing in British Columbia are very similar. It
therefore suggests itself that the manufacture of pig-iron in British Columbia should offer
opportunities similar to those in Sweden. The project here would be based on four units. The
first to be installed would consist of one 3,000-kw. furnace and possibly three 300-kw. single-
phase furnaces; the former furnace for the purpose of manufacturing pig-iron, and the latter
furnaces for the purpose of manufacturing ferro-alloys, such as ferro-molybdenum, ferro-chrome,
ferro-tungsten, and others. The next step would be the addition of a 5,000-kw. furnace for the
manufacture of pig-iron, or it might be thought more advisable to put in a 10,000-kw. furnace
for this purpose.    The difference in operation and equipment between a 3,000-kw. and a 5,000-kw. 9 Geo. 5 Electric Smelting of Iron Ore. L 77
furnace is not very material and would only involve an increase in production, while the operation and equipment of a 10,000-kw. furnace would be materially different and a distinct development over a 3,000-kw. furnace. Of course, the investment on a 10,000-kw. furnace would be
considerably greater than on a 5,000-kw.- furnace, and on that account it might be considered
advisable to take an intermediary step. The furnaces would be built in such a manner that
they could easily be adapted to manufacturing other alloys, such as ferro-silicon. The purpose
of this would be to make the plant as flexible as possible, so that in case the price of pig-iron
went down the plant could be used economically for other purposes.
Raw Materials.
In the manufacture of pig-iron the essential raw materials are:—
A. Cheap electric power.
B. Iron ore.
C. Reducing agent, such as charcoal.
D. Fluxing agent.
E. Electrodes.
A. Hydro-electric Power.—The amount of power necessary to produce 1 ton of pig-iron in
the electric furnace is dependent to a great extent upon the purity of the ores. The iron ore
which is available for this undertaking would consume approximately 0.5 horse-power per year
per ton of pig-iron. In case the ore was concentrated up to 65 per cent, iron content, it would
take 0.4 horse-power year per ton of pig-iron. It is apparent from the following cost data
that the power cost is one of the large items, and to make such an undertaking successful it
is essential that low power prices are obtainable. It is understood that the British Columbia
Electric Railway Company, Limited, has available 10,000 horse-power, 60-cycle power, that could
be put into service immediately. Later developments of this industry- would necessitate the
development of new hydro-electric power sites in close proximity to raw materials.
B. Iron Ore.—The raw material on which the whole industry is based is the iron ore. There
are a number of iron-ore deposits in British Columbia on the mainland, as well as on the islands,
and it would be a question of its availability to Port Moody which would partially govern as
to its use in this undertaking. The ore which has been suggested is a magnetite ore containing
lime of an average analysis of:— p    „   .
Iron    .- 50 to 55 (Fe,04 69-70%).
Silica       5 to 6
Alumina       4
Phosphorus     0.02
Sulphur      0.1
Calcium carbonate, etc ' 15 to 21
The ore is claimed to be practically self-fluxing and would on that account not necessitate
the use of any fluxing agent whatsoever. In a general way this ore is low in its iron content for
a very successful pig-iron operation. If there were some ore of higher grade available and at
a low price, it would be strongly advisable to consider these deposits in preference to the iron
ore under discussion. There is, though, a means by which this ore could be brought up to a
higher degree of purity, which would involve a concentrating plant and the sintering of the
obtained concentrates. This would, of course, increase the cost of the ore and would give a
higher iron content of ore material to work with, which would increase the output per horsepower year in the electric furnace. It would therefore appear that, if no other ore is available,
a concentrating plant would be advisable.
C. Reducing Agent.—In the Swedish practice where electric pig-iron is produced charcoal
is used as a reducing agent. This is obtained as a by-product from the large lumber and timber
operations in Sweden, where pine, spruce, and fir are handled, and there is no timber operation
in Sweden of any kind where the refuse is not turned into charcoal either in a by-product
charcoal-oven or by pit-charcoaling. British Columbia, as we understand it, has large timber
operations, as well as large stands of timber, that in many cases are worthless for timber
purposes. These waste lands might be gone over and the timber turned into charcoal, as well
as by-products, such as alcohol, acetic acid, creosote-oil, and also turpentine. The creosote-oils
are used extensively in flotation purposes where the metal values are separated from the gangue.
Charcoal obtained in such a manner, either in by-product coke-ovens or in pit-charcoaling,
contains approximately 73 per cent, fixed carbon. L 78 Bureau of Mines. 1919
British Columbia holds in its bituminous-coal deposits another reducing agent that under
special conditions may be used to advantage. It is high in ash and reported to contain 50 per
cent, fixed carbon.
It has also been suggested as a possibility to utilize some of the oil-wastes obtainable on the
Pacific coast as a reducing agent in making pig-iron. This material contains practically no ash
and about 70 per cent, of fixed carbon.
D. Fluxing Agent.—As has been explained under the heading " Iron Ores," the iron ore
proposed to be used in this undertaking would not need any fluxing material. Limestone, though,
as a rule is used for this purpose, and is available at various points accessible to Port Moody in
a purity suitable for this operation.
E. Electrodes.—All electric-furnace operations for the reduction of ores are dependent on
the supply of electrodes. Electrodes are the means by which the electric current is made available in the furnace. There are plants on the Pacific coast which are manufacturing electrodes,
and there are large manufacturers of electrodes in the East, both in Canada and the United
States. It would seem as though an undertaking of this kind in British Columbia should depend
upon its electrode-supply from a Pacific Coast source, and it would be advisable to make an early
arrangement with the manufacturers there for this essential.
General Plant Layout.
The plant would be composed of the main furnace building, adjacent to which would be the
transformer building. The furnace building would give ample space for the furnace and the
necessary electrical connections, as well as the casting-floor on to which the pig-iron would be
tapped. This building would have a big electric travelling crane and also the necessary tracks
for the purpose of moving raw materials about and moving the finished products. The initial
size of the building would be one which could house a 3,000-kw. furnace and three 300-kw.
single-phase furnaces. Buildings, such as storehouse, laboratory, office, wash-house, etc., would
be placed at convenient points on the ground. The necessary trackage would have to be laid out
in the yards for the handling of all materials and incoming and outgoing shipments. Ample
storage-space would be necessary in the yards for the storing of raw materials. There should
be approximately sixty days' supply of iron ore in stock,~amounting to approximately 4,000 tons.
Storage-space should also be provided for a large tonnage of charcoal. The amount that would
have to be kept in storage would depend upon the physical conditions surrounding the plant
and the accessibility to the charcoal-producing installations. It would be advisable to plan for
the necessary roof-sheds to cover two to three months' supply of charcoal. In case any fluxing
agent should be needed, space should be provided for the storage of same. Electrodes could be
stored in suitable numbers in a small building. To handle efficiently the raw materials and
finished product from stock-piles to dump-cars, etc., a locomotive crane would be needed.
Type of Furnace.
The type of electric furnace in which pig-iron is made in Sweden has a close resemblance
to the shaft-furnace. The shaft carrying the burden is supported by braces, and the reduction
takes place in a big bowl at the bottom of the shaft, into which the electrode projects. There
is a heavy strain on the structure in general, and the refractory roof of the furnace itself receives
very severe treatment and frequently needs rebuilding. It has been carefully considered in this
connection that it would be advisable to try out a simpler furnace very similar to those used in
the manufacture of ferro-silicon and ferro-manganese—a simple 3-phase open-pit furnace. By
installing this kind of a furnace and holding the Swedish shaft-furnace in reserve, if the tests
work out as anticipated, a saving in installation will take place and a step forward will have
been made in the manufacture of pig-iron. It is expected to produce in such a furnace grey
pig-iron containing 3 to 4 per cent, carbon, 2 to 3 per cent, silicon, 0.05 per cent, sulphur, and
0.5 per cent, phosphorus. If the results do not come up to expectations, the furnace can readily
be adapted to manufacturing ferro-silicon or ferro-manganese and a duplication of the Swedish
furnace can be installed. The Swedish shaft-furnaces are beyond the experimental stage, working successfully day in and day out in manufacturing white pig-iron. Some trouble has been
encountered in manufacturing grey pig-iron in these furnaces. The white pig-iron, though, is
used very successfully in open-hearth furnaces and in electric steel manufacture. 9 Geo. 5 Electric Smelting of Iron Ore. L 79
Cost of Plant.*
(At 1918 Prices of Apparatus and Construction.)
One 3,000-kw. 3-phase furnace, installed, including casing, electrode-
holders, jib-cranes, regulators, and foundations  $ 15,000
Four 1,000-kw. single-phase, 33,000-volt primary, 60-cycle oil-insulated
and water-cooled transformers, installed, with from 60 to 120 volts
in 5-volt steps on the secondary side  (one of these transformers
is spare)      26,000
One set low-tension busses for 3,000-kw. furnace, installed         5,000
One set high-tension busses for 3,000-kw. furnace, including oil-switches,
switchboard, and meters         6,000
Three 300-kw. single-phase furnaces, installed, including casing, electrode-holders, and regulating device      10,000
Four 300-kw. 33,000-volt primary, 60-cycle, single-phase, oil-insulated
and  water-cooled transformers,  installed,  with a range of from
70 to 100 volts in 5-volt steps on the secondary side      10,000
Three 50-kw. single-phase, 60-cycle, 33,000 volts to 440 volts air-cooled
transformers, installed, with switchboard (to be used for industrial'
purposes around plant)           2,000
One 25-kw. motor-generator set for regulators, etc., installed        2,000
Three sets low-tension busses for 300-kw. furnaces         1,500
One furnace building, built entirely of reinforced concrete, including
electric travelling crane, tracks, metal-handling equipment, etc. ..     35,000
One transformer building, built entirely of reinforced concrete      10,000
One shipping-store building of wood and stucco exterior finish        7,000
One laboratory with complete equipment         7,500
One store-room and change-room building, built of wood and exterior
stucco  finish,   including  steel  lockers,  toilets,  wash - basins,   and
shower-baths    ,        8,000
One machine-shop with equipment  '.      10,000
One office building          3,000
One gate-house with time-clock and time-keeper's office  500
Railroad tracks, industrial track, ore-handling equipment, water-supply,
sewerage, fence, and industrial lighting, etc      25,000
Land, 4 acres        4,000
Engineering and contingencies, 20 per cent      37,500
Total  $225,000
It is well to point out that the above figures cover the cost of a plant that is built entirely
of permanent construction. Permanent-construction figures in the first cost are higher than any
temporary work, of course; but due to the great fire risk of temporary work, such as wooden
construction, it is deemed more advisable to make the larger initial investment to cut down the
maintenance cost of a temporary plant.
The electrical equipment selected and put into this estimate is such that, according to our
experience with identical design and equipment, 'a power factor can be obtained on the power
company's line as high as from 90 to 92 per cent.
Cost of Production.
Two. sets of figures have been made out on the cost of production of pig-iron. The pig-iron
which is supposed to be produced is grey foundry pig-iron, and would have a market value of
$35 per ton at the plant. The figures which have been worked out are based on crude ore and
concentrated ore, assuming that the crude ore would be obtained in one case for $4 per ton, and
in the other case increased to $6.45 per ton by concentration.    Another set of figures is based
* In this cost estimate is not included ore-concentrating and sintering plant, nor charcoal plant. L 80
Bureau of Mines.
on price of crude ore at $1.50 per ton, and concentrated ore at $3.20 per ton. This includes
the cost of concentrating and sintering, amounting to $1.25 per ton concentrate. The power is
assumed to be delivered at the switchboard at $15 per horse-power year. The reducing agent—■
charcoal—is assumed to be obtained at a price of $6 per ton ($6 per ton being the price for
British Columbia coal), and $7 per ton the price of oil-waste carbon. In the following figures
charcoal only has been taken into consideration, though the amounts of the different reducing
agents needed to reduce 1 ton of 55-per-cent. ore are as follows:—
Charcoal containing 73 per cent, fixed carbon   0.5
British Columbia coal, 50 per cent, fixed carbon   0.8
Oil-waste carbon, 70 per cent, fixed carbon    0.6
In producing from an ore containing 55 per cent, iron, 2 tons per horse-power year is
estimated as a safe figure upon which to base calculations. On ore containing 65 per cent, iron,
2.5 tons per horse-power year production is assumed a safe figure upon which to base calculations. It is evident from the above that operating with a 55-per-cent. ore in a 3,000-kw. furnace
would give an annual production of 8,000 tons of pig-iron, while the annual production obtained
in a 3,000-kw. furnace with concentrated ore would be 10,000 tons of pig-iron. The operation
of the furnace would be continuous twenty-four hours' operation and would be operated in three
shifts.    The costs would be as follows:—
$7 50
8 00
3 00
$4 per Ton Crude Ore (50 Per Cent. Iron).
Electric power, 0.5 h.-p. year at $15 per
h.-p. year  	
Iron ore, 2 tons at $4 per ton  	
Coal, y2 ton charcoal at $6	
Electrodes, 20 lb. per ton of metal produced at 10 cents a pound	
Plant and office general expense	
Interest on investment and depreciation,
20 per cent	
4 50
$6.45 per Ton Concentrated Ore (65 Per Cent.
Electric power, 0.4 h.^p. year at $15 per
h.-p. year     $6 00
Iron ore, 1.54 tons at $6.45 per ton ... 9 93
Coal, y2 ton charcoal at $6  3 00
Electrodes, 20 lb. per ton of metal produced at 10 cents a pound  2 00
Labour     6 40
Supplies     1 00
Plant and office general expense  5 00
Interest   on   investment   and   depreciation     2 81
Total     $39 00
Total Production, 8,000 Tons Pig-iron.
Gross earnings at $35 per ton      $280,000
Cost to manufacture at $39     312,000
Total   $36 14
Total Production,  10,000   Tons  Pig-iron.
Gross earnings at $35 per ton      $350,000
Cost to manufacture at $36.14     361,400
Deficit        $32,000
Crude Ore at $1.50
5 per
Electric power, 0.5 h.-p. year at
h.-p.  year  	
Iron ore, 2 tons at $1.50 per ton	
Coal, % ton charcoal at $6 	
Electrodes, 20 lb. per ton of metal pro
duced at 10 cents a pound .......
Plant and office general expense	
Interest on investment and depreciation
20 per  cent	
$7 50
3 00
3 00
2 00
8 00
1 00
5 00
4 50
Deficit         $11,400
Concentrated Ore at $3.20
Electric power, 0.4 h.-p. year at $15 per
h.-p. year     $6 00
Iron ore, 1.54 tons at $3.20 per ton  . .. 4 93
Coal, % ton charcoal at $6  3 00
Electrodes, 20 lb. per ton of metal produced at 10 cents a pound    2 00
Labour     6 40
Supplies  1 00
Plant and office general expense  5 00
Interest on investment and depreciation,
20 per cent  2 81
Total    $34 00
Total Production, 8,000 Tons Pig-iron.
Gross earnings at $35 per ton     $280,000
Cost to manufacture at $34        272,000
Net profit          $8,000
Total    $31 14
Total Production, 10,000 Tons Pig-iron.
Gross earnings at $35 per ton     $350,000
Cost to manufacture at $31.14     311,400
Net profit       $36,600
It is from these figures very apparent that it would be impossible to go into the pig-iron
manufacture using unconcentrated ores; while operating with concentrated ores at $3.20 shows
a reasonable return. 9 Geo. 5 Electric Smelting of Iron Ore. L 81
Electric Steel-furnace.
It would seem as a logical arrangement in connection with the pig-iron furnace to establish
an electric steel-furnace, in which special steel will be manufactured. There is no possibility
at the present time for an iron industry on the Pacific coast to compete with Eastern production
of heavy steel material. There is a field here legitimate and profitable to manufacture special
shapes of light rolled metal, as well as steel castings. With all the mining industries going on
in the West and with the ship-building industries growing out here at a pace, there is an urgent
need for special alloy steel and special electric steel castings. The raw materials for the alloy
steel are available on the Pacific coast and could be readily smelted and put into steel products.
The material which comes out of the pig-iron furnace would be carried in a ladle in a molten
condition to the steel-furnace, and in such a manner cut down the melting cost and refining cost
of the finished steel product. It is certain that better financial success would be made by
installing an electric steel-furnace in conjunction with the pig-iron manufacture and a rolling-
mill than by operating the plant exclusively on pig-iron.
Ferro-alloy Furnaces.
The three 300-kw. furnaces can be used for the manufacture of alloys which could easily
be used in the production of steel. . The operation of these furnaces could be carried on easily
in conjunction with the large 3,000-kw. furnace.
The foregoing report shows the following:—
(1.) That conditions in British Columbia lend themselves well to the manufacture of pig-
iron under special conditions.
'(2.) That the successful manufacture of pig-iron in British Columbia is dependent upon a
low-priced iron ore.
(3.) That British Columbia holds by virtue of its large supply of timber and its deposits of
bituminous coal two reducing agents suitable for the manufacture of pig-iron.
(4.) That cheap hydro-electric power delivered at a figure not higher than $15 per horsepower year is essential.
(5.) That the concentrating and sintering of concentrates before the ore is used in the
furnace is essential in the manufacture of pig-iron from British Columbia ore.
(6.) That a steel industry in conjunction with the pig-iron furnace and alloy-furnaces is a
more advantageous undertaking than a pig-iron industry exclusively.
Beckman & Linden Engineering Corporation.
j (Signed.)     J. W. Beckman,  President.
Cost of  manufacturing Ferro-silicon.
(Appendix to Beckman & Linden's Report.)
In the foregoing report reference is made to the possibility of utilizing the furnace suggested
there for the manufacture of ferro-silicon.    The following figures would indicate the cost of
producing 1 ton of metal and the returns which would be obtained:—
Power at $15 per horse-power year   $15 00
Quartz, 2,400 lb. at $3.60 per ton  4 20
Coal, 1,210 lb. at $6 per ton   3 63
Turnings, 1,500 lb. at $10 per ton   7 50
Electrodes, 60 lb. per ton of metal at 10 cents per pound  6 00
Labour  16 00
Supplies     1 00
Plant and office general expense   5 00
Interest on investment and depreciation, 20 per cent  9 38
Total     $67 71
The total output of this plant would be about 4,000 tons of 50-per-cent. ferro-silicon per year,
and, assuming that 50-per-cent. ferro-silicon sold for $150 per ton, the net profit would be:—
Gross earnings at $150 per ton    $600,000
Cost to manufacture at $67.71 per ton      270,840
Net profit   $329,160
G L 82 Bureau of Mines. 1919
The operation of smelting an ore of iron for pig-iron includes two distinct steps, which are,
however, carried out in the same furnace and to some extent simultaneously.
The first step is one of reduction, in which the ore, consisting largely of oxide of iron, is
converted into metallic iron by means of carbon or carbonaceous gases. The second step is one
of fusion, in which the metallic iron, already formed, is melted and becomes pig-iron. The gangue
of the ore, together with the flux, is also melted and forms slag.* The first step can be carried
out at a moderate temperature of, say, 700° or 800° C, while the second step needs a very high
temperature,-say, 1,400° or 1,500° C. Although the first step can be effected at a lower temperature than the second, it consumes- about twice as much heat, measured in calories or kilowatt-
hours, and it is this large requirement of heat that renders so costly the electric smelting of
iron ores. That this is practically true will be made clear when I mention that a ton of steel
can be melted in an electric furnace by means of 600 or 700 kilowatt-hours, whereas about 2,500
kilowatt-hours are needed to produce a ton of pig-iron from the ore.
In the electric furnace both steps of the smelting operation are carried out more or less
simultaneously, and at a high temperature; and this causes waste of heat and unnecessary
expense, particularly as the heat is derived from costly electrical energy. The smelting operation produces a large amount of hot carbonaceous gases, which in a simple electric furnace
escape and burn above the charge. These gases may be utilized for heating and reducing the
ore, and the Swedish furnace is provided with a large shaft for this purpose. A careful analysis
shows, however, that the most efficient furnace of this type is decidedly inefficient from an
economic point of view; and we are led to consider whether better results can be obtained in
some other way.
I have thought, for a long time, that greater economy could be obtained by separating the
two stages of the smelting process and carrying them out in separate furnaces. The ore, crushed
to a coarse powder, would be reduced to the metallic condition by means of carbon in one furnace
using fuel-heat, and the metallic powder would then be melted electrically. It appears that in
this way a pig-iron of electric-furnace quality could be obtained more cheaply than by direct
electric smelting.
Until recently I had no experimental evidence in regard to" the preliminary reduction of the
ore, and had intended to undertake a series of experiments for this purpose; but during the
last few months I have obtained information with regard to this point, which makes it seem
probable that the process can be carried out practically, and that a decided economy will be
gained by its use.
The possibilities of the process will be made clear- by the following numerical discussion:—
The reduction of magnetite by carbon will probably follow the equation: Fe304 + 30 =
3 Fe + 2 CO -4- CO.. This requires 115,000 calories for the reduction of 1 kilogram molecular
weight of magnetite, or 6S6 calories per kilogram of iron. This corresponds, if electrical heat
is used, to 800 kilowatt-hours per metric ton of metallic iron.
The heat required to melt 1 ton of cast iron would be (theoretically) about 300 kilowatt-
hours, but for the production of foundry pig-iron there would be needed an additional 175
kilowatt-hours for the production of silicon, or a total of 475 kilowatt-hours for the melting
operation.   Thus in round numbers there will be needed:— Kw   H
For reducing the iron ore to metal      800
Converting this into foundry pig-iron       500
Total      1,300
It will be noticed that I have made no specific allowance for melting the slag. This is
because the gangue will be practically eliminated by magnetic treatment before fusion, and
thus there will be scarcely any slag to melt
* Actually the second stage is more complicated than I have indicated, as the iron in fusion absorbs
carbon and silicon to form pig-iron, the silicon itself being derived from the silica in the ore. 9 Geo. 5
Electric Smelting of Iron Ore.
L 83
In electric furhaces a working efficiency of at least 70 per cent, can usually be obtained,
and therefore we find as the actual operating charges for the two stages:—
Kw.  Hrs.
For reducing the iron ore to metal '.   1,140
For reducing silicon and melting the iron      710
Total      1,850
The total power requirement shows a decided economy when compared with the 2,500
kilowatt-hours that would be -needed for the direct smelting of the ore, even after making
allowance for the cost of crushing, magnetic treatment, and double handling of the material.
The first or reducing stage can, however, be carried out by means of fuel-heat instead of electrical heat without detracting from the purity of the product. > The operation would have to be
carried out in some kind of a_ muffle-furnace, as the reduced metal must be protected from the
air and from furnace gases, and the efficiency of the heating fuel would consequently be very
low. As, however, cheap fuel, such as waste wood, can be employed, this will not cause any
serious expense. The heat theoretically needed for the reduction of the iron ore is 686,000
calories per metric ton of iron; allowing 25 per cent, efficiency, this would mean 2,744,000
calories, which would be furnished by 0.4 ton of a low grade of coal. It would appear safe,
therefore, to allow for this purpose % ton of local coal or an equivalent amount of waste wood.
Dr. Trood and Mr. W. A. Darrah have carried out a series of experiments at Heroult, in
California, on the reduction of pure magnetite ore to metallic iron. The work has been done
in a small furnace making a few pounds per hour of reduced iron. This furnace was heated
electrically, and in this way an exact determination could be made of the heat that was supplied
to it. There was under construction at the time of my visit a large furnace for the reduction
of ore which was to be heated by means of fuel. Since my visit Mr. Darrah has been made
superintendent of the plant, and this has no doubt interfered with the progress of the experiments. He has, however, written me the following letter with regard to the cost of operating
the Trood-Darrah process. I assume that the power-consumption used in this estimate is deduced
from their small-scale experiments, and that the other expenses refer to a plant making 100 tons
of metallic iron daily.
" Noble Electric Steel Company,
Heroult, Shasta County, Cal., October 23rd, 1918.
" Regarding the questions which you have raised, I have to advise as follows:—
"(1.) We have made a very substantial success in reducing magnetite-iron ores to metal by
heating to a moderate temperature with carbonaceous reducing agents.
"(2.) Reduction begins in the neighbourhood of 700° G, but in order to carry the reaction
to completeness, as well as to minimize the time required, we find it expedient to operate at
approximately 800° C.
"(3.) For a perfect reduction of particles the size of coarse sand, with the magnetite ore
that we are using we find that three hours are required. The time will vary considerably with
the different grades of ore, different reducing agents, and different temperatures. Powdered
charcoal is the most satisfactory reducing agent, but, of course, is not the only successful one.
"(4.) Total cost per ton of iron product, making ample allowance for power, fuel, etc.,
about $19.
" The costs are divided as follows :—
Total Cost
Cost  per  Ton.
Quantity  required.
per Ton of
y2 cent per kilowatt-hour
1,200 kilowatt-hours
$6 00
$25 per ton
570 lb.
7 10
$3 per ton
2,760 lb.
4 15
50 cents per ton
50 cents per ton
Power for drying and reduction .
Crushing materials   	
Handling materials  	
Labour and supervision  	
Interest    and    Depreciation,    $20,000
Investment L 84 Bureau of Mines. 1919
" The above cost may appear rather high, depending upon your local conditions. It is, of
course, a direct result of the price of such materials as reducing agents and iron ore, which
you will note total considerably over 50 per cent, of the entire cost. The power cost, you will
note, is less than one-third of the total cost.
- " Dr. Trood and I consider it quite feasible to reduce the iron by our process, and melt it
either electrically or after briquetting in an open-hearth furnace. It is then perfectly feasible
to make either pig-iron or steel, as the market may demand."
With regard to Mr. Darrah's estimate, I may state:—
(1.) Assuming the ore to contain 67.8 per cent, of iron (published analysis), 2,760 lb. of
ore would only yield about 1,870 lb. of metallic iron. It would appear from this that the estimate
does not refer to a ton of pure iron, but to a 2,000-lb. ton of an impure iron product containing
about 93 per cent, of iron. As this is about the percentage in foundry pig-iron, we need only
increase the estimate by about 15 per cent, to provide for the change from the short ton to the
long ton and for the mechanical losses in the various operations.
(2.) Mr. Darrah's estimate of 1,200 kilowatt-hours, if increased by 15 per cent., wTould give
1,380 kilowatt-hours, whereas my estimate, based on calculation, was 1,200 kilowatt-hours. We
should for the present take the larger figure, which increases the cost by 90 cents.
(3.) The estimate of 570 lb. of charcoal, increased by 15 per cent., comes to 655 lb. This
figure is supported by calculation from the equation I gave above, and I am estimating on a
consumption of % net ton of charcoal;  the cost of this in British Columbia will be only about $2.
(4.) The remaining items of cost must be increased by about 50 per cent, on account of
the larger amount of ore to be handled. Apart from this, I cannot check them in any detail,
but suppose that they would be rather higher under British Columbian conditions. The charges
seem to be very small, but it should be remembered that the operation will be continuous. and
mechanical throughout; there will be no hard labour required, and the cost for labour, superintendence, and maintenance of plant should be small.
The following estimate of the cost of making 1 long ton of metallic iron in the form
of powder by the Trood-Darrah process has been prepared in view of conditions in British
Cost of One Long Ton of Metallic Iron, using Electrical Heat at y2 Cent, per Kilowatt-hour.
Ore, 2.2 tons at $4  $ 8 SO
Charcoal, % ton at $6   2 00
Power for heating, 1,380 kilowatt-hours at % cent :  6 90
Crushing materials at 50 cents per ton   1 10
Handling materials at 50 cents per ton  1 10
Labour and supervision     85
Interest and depreciation  25
Total   $21 00
In" this estimate I have taken 2.2 tons of ore instead of 2 tons in order to cover the loss in
magnetic concentration which would form the first step in the process.
If fuel can be used for heating in this operation the cost will be further reduced; thus the
heat should be obtainable by the use in gas-producers of % ton of low-quality coal costing, say,
$4 per ton. The cost of heat would thus be $2, or at the outside $2.50, and the total cost of the
iron $16 or $17 per ton.
With regard, to these figures, I must state clearly that, although I have full confidence in-
Mr. Darrah's statements, yet the operation of the process must be demonstrated on a working
scale and its applicability to British Columbian ores must be shown before a commercial enterprise can be undertaken.
I should also state that I believe that foundry pig-iron "can be obtained, conveniently and
economically, by melting the iron powder with fluxes in an electric furnace. It will be necessary,
however, to confirm this point experimentally, and also to ascertain whether the sulphur originally present in the ore will be removed sufficiently well by the proposed process.
The following estimate will give some idea of the cost of 1 ton of foundry iron obtained by
melting the reduced powder in an electric furnace:— 9 Geo. 5 Electric Smelting of Iron Ore. L 85
Cost of One Long Ton of Foundry Pig-iron.
Reduced metallic powder   $17 00
Electric power, 750 kilowatt-hours at y2 cent  3 75
-Charcoal, V10 ton at $6   60,
Electrodes, 7 lb. at 8% cents  60
Fluxes and supplies   55
Labour    2 00
Management  1 00
Interest and overhead charges  1 50
Total   $27 00
Another favourable feature of the reduction process is that the metallic powder can be
melted in electric furnaces for the production of steel without the need of first turning it into
pig-iron.    In this way one step of the usual process is eliminated and electric-furnace steel may
be produced at very reasonable figures.
Reduction of Iron Ore by Hydrogen.
As having a bearing on the above process, I add a brief account of the reduction of iron ores
by means of hydrogen. Mr. A. T. Stuart, of Toronto, invented an improved form of apparatus
for the production of hydrogen and oxygen by the electrolysis of water. In. trying to find uses
for the hydrogen, he discovered that iron ores are reduced to metal by means of hydrogen at
so low a temperature as 700° C. The process is very convenient, because the hydrogen can be
passed again and again through the ore, so that the gas is perfectly utilized. Such a process,
however, would only be possible if hydrogen could be obtained extraordinarily cheaply. To
produce it by electrolysis would need unusually cheap electric power, and the ore could be
smelted directly with less power than would be needed to make the hydrogen and to carry out
the reduction with its aid. The only condition under which the process could be employed
would be if there were available during off-peak periods of a power plant large amounts of
direct-current power, which could be obtained at a very low price, and if, in addition, there
was a satisfactory market for the electrolytic oxygen, so that the hydrogen might be regarded
as a by-product. I must add, also, that Mr. Stuart's experiments were made on haematite ores,
and it is likely that magnetites may not be reduced so easily or at so low a temperature. One
feature of the process which may prove important is that the hydrogen used to reduce the iron
also serves to remove from it phosphorus and sulphur in a gaseous form.
Steel Direct from the Ore.
(A Process described by- F. T. Snyder.)
I conclude this Appendix with an extract from a paper on " Steel Direct from the Ore,"
which was sent to me recently by Mr. F. T. Snyder, of Chicago, the inventor of the Snyder
electric steel-furnace. I quote Mr. Snyder, as I consider that his account is' of interest in
connection with the present investigation, but I do not endorse his process or assume any
responsibility for his statements:—
"To expose sufficient surface for rapid reduction the ore is crushed to % or % inch in
diameter. From an ore-storage bin it is fed into a cylindrical kiln in which the ore is dried
and heated to 700° C. under oxidizing condition. The sulphur contents of the ore will be
substantially eliminated in this preliminary roasting. At 700° C. the ore falls into a reducing-
kiln, in which it is exposed to the action of carbon-monoxide gas, which reduces the iron oxide
to metallic iron sponge. This iron sponge is conveyed without exposure to, air, and while still
hot, to an air-tight electric furnace. The reducing "carbon-monoxide gas is generated in a gas-
producer from powdered coal giving a hot gas low in carbon dioxide. At the part of the
reducing-kiln where the iron ore enters, this gas leaves the kiln with about the same composition
as the gas leaving the top of a blast-furnace. Part of this gas passes into the roasting-kiln,
where it is burned with air from a fan to furnish the heat required to raise the ore to 700° C.
before it enters the reducing-kiln. The balance of the gas from the reducing-kiln is burned
under a boiler, and with the steam the necessary power is produced for the electric-smelting
furnace. By a fortunate coincidence the amount of gas available is somewhat more than the
amount needed by the electric furnace. " This arrangement of equipment meets the three fundamental difficulties of the earlier
attempts to make steel direct from ore, and retains the great commercial advantages of the
direct method. By the use of fine ore in rotating-kilns, which both expose the ore to the acting
gases and at the same time convey it, the difficulty of getting the iron sponge out and trapping
the gas is made easy by the low pressure required to pass the gases through the kilns. The
electric furnace melts the sponge without oxidation and eliminates the second difficulty. The
use of a preheating-kiln which is separate from the reducing-kiln makes it possible to remove
the reducing gases from contact with the ore before the gas is cooled to a temperature at which
carbon-deposition begins, and furnishes a sponge that is practically free from carbon and ready
to melt direct to steel. As the reduction is entirely by carbon-monoxide gas, no solid carbon
coming in contact with the ore, the silica, phosphorus, and titanium in the ore are not reduced,
but remain in their original form and are-melted in the slag in the electric furnace, substantially
none of them entering the steel.
"Compared with the direct method of smelting iron ore with electricity, the kiln method,
with electric-furnace finishing, has the advantage of a much lower electric-power consumption.
The kiln method uses 600 kilowatt-hours per ton of steel produced for all power purposes. The
direct electric smelting uses 2,000 kilowatt-hours for the electric smelting producing pig-iron,
and 500 kilowatt-hours for the electric-furnace operation of changing the electric pig-iron to steel.
When the weight of the electrodes for the pig-iron furnace are taken into account, and the fact
that the kiln method uses charcoal from twigs and leaves, the total average of timber required
for both methods is approximately the same. A production of 25 tons per day requires 1,000 kw.
of power plant for the direct-steel method, and 3,000 kw. for the electric pig-iron method. The
difference in the investment cost for power-plant construction is 50 per cent, greater than the
total cost of the kiln plant, exclusive of its power plant. If water for power is available without
cost, the burden of the investment cost renders the electric pig-iron method non-commercial in
comparison with the direct-steel method.
" The economic advantages of this method are:—
"(1.) The use of iron ores of inferior composition. Sulphur is eliminated in the preliminary
roasting.    Silica, phosphorus, and titanium enter the slag.     ' -
"(2.) The use of fuel of inferior quality. As the fuel is burned in a producer in powdered
form, raw coal, coke, or charcoal may be used. Sulphur in the fuel enters the reducing gas as
sulphur-monoxide gas, which is without action on the iron at the temperatures used. Powdered
fuels are in reliable use with ash as high as 20 per cent.
"(3.) The production of steel of electric-furnace quality. This is substantially higher in
tensile strength, elastic limit, percentage of elongation, and resistance to shock than is Bessemer
or open-hearth steel of the same analysis.
"(4.) The recovery of a high percentage of the iron in the ore. Practically all the iron in
the ore passes into the steel, as the electric-furnace melting makes it possible and the production
of good steel makes it necessary to produce a slag substantially free from iron. With the
present blast-furnace, open-hearth or Bessemer combination, from 10 to 15 per cent, of the iron
in the ore is lost in the slags produced.
"(5.) Existing methods use about 1 ton of coke in the blast-furnace per ton of pig-iron.
This coke requires for its production 1% tons of raw coal. To turn this ton of pig-iron into
steel requires an additional % ton of raw coal burnt in gas-producers. This is a total consumption of 2 tons of raw coal per ton of steel produced. The direct method, including the gas for
electric power and for roasting, requires 1 ton of raw .fuel. As the fuel is used powdered, if
charcoal is made the small twigs and the leaves may be carbonized as well as the larger pieces,
substantially doubling the steel produced per acre of timber.
"(6.) The capital investment, including electric-power plant, is about two-thirds that of the
blast-furnace, open-hearth combination for the same output.
"(7.)  The production cost per ton of steel ingots is about 80 per cent, of the older practice.
"(8.) Plants for small production are practical with the direct-steel method, outputs as low
as 25 tons per day being efficient.
"(9.) Production may be stopped or started in a few hours if necessary to meet market
or traffic conditions, without plant deterioration, and without the production of considerable
quantities of lower-quality product. 9 Geo. 5
Electric Smelting of Iron Ore.
L 87
"(10.) As the equipment is low, the entire plant may be traversed by travelling cranes
making repairs rapid and low in cost. This latter is also aided by the general low temperatures
of operation.
"(11.) As the operation is mostly mechanical, the amount of labour required is small.
Skilled labour required only for supervision.
"(12.) As the gas-pressure used is low and no large quantity of molten material is held
at a time, the safety of operation is materially greater than with the blast-furnace and open
In view of the limited market for foundry pig-iron in British Columbia, it will be essential
to make other products, so as to Increase the output of the plant. For this purpose an additional
output of low-silicon pig-iron can be made, and this can be melted with steel scrap for the
production of steel. Ferro-alloys, such as ferro-silicon, ferro-manganese, and ferro-chrome, can
also be made in an electric-smelting plant. These auxiliary industries not only increase the
general output of the plant, thus reducing, proportionately, the overhead charges, but are themselves likely to yield a higher profit than the production of pig-iron. The production of ferro-
manganese and ferro-chrome in the electric furnace depends-upon a supply of ores of manganese
and of chromium.    Quartz is required for the production of ferro-silicon.
Ores of Manganese and Chromium.—I have been furnished by Mr. W. F. Robertson with
the following information, which indicates that there would be a sufficient supply of ores of
these metals of a grade suitable for the production in electric furnaces of ferro-manganese and
ferro-chrome.    Quartz for the production of ferro-silicon can also be obtained.
The Curie Manganese Group.
Report by A. G. Langley, Resident Engineer, Revelstoke, June, 1918.
Report of Assays by the Provincial Government Assayer.
Manganese ore sacked for shipment..
General sample, dumps, ore for shipment
General sample, dumps, ore for ship
General sample ore in^lace, No. 2
Sample high-grade, No. 1 deposit....
Per Cent.
Per Cent.
Per Cent.
Per Cent.
Per Cent.
(Signed.)    D. E. Whittaker.
Report on the Ore-deposit by Mr. Langley.
" The property, consisting of ten claims, is situated at a distance of seven miles from Kaslo
and adjoins the Kaslo & Nakusp branch line of the Canadian Pacific Railway.
" The group was staked by A. Curie, of Kaslo, in 1917, and although the ore is freely exposed
along the old Kaslo-Slocan wagon-road it escaped attention for years, due no doubt to the lack
of knowledge of the character and commercial value of the deposit. In February, 1918, the
property was bonded by the original owners, A. J". Curie and A. G. Larson, to Col. F. B. Millard,
of Spokane. Bureau of Mines. 1919
" Seventeen men are now employed and considerable progress has been made during the last
month in developing and winning the ore.
" Character of the Ore.—The ore chiefly consists of the soft black or brown oxides, which
may be classified as wad manganese, while concretionary psilomelane, though in evidence, is less
frequent in occurrence.
" Ore Occurrence.—At the No. 1 deposit the ore forms a blanket deposit over the surface of
the flat, the average thickness of which is hard to arrive at, for its distribution is uneven and
irregular, but can safely be taken as not exceeding 6 inches.
" From where the hill rises above the flat and for about 50 feet up the gentle slope, the ore,
which occurs underlying a few inches of soil, shows about an average thickness of 1% feet and
appears to be of higher grade than that on the flat.
" At the No. 2 deposit the occurrence is similar to that of the No. 1, but appears to be more
uniform and to contain a greater tonnage.
" This deposit has not been mined yet, and its area is less definitely outlined than that of
the other. In an isolated patch at about 120 feet east of this deposit a small surface cut shows
a 2-foot thickness of high-grade ore dipping slightly under a covering of about 3 feet surface
wash; at this point a nice tonnage may be developed, but no work has been done to determine
its extent.
" Geology.—Underlying the manganese-deposit, a layer of about 6 inches of soft material
stained with oxide of iron is encountered, and under this a greenish clay containing pebbles and
boulders of what is known locally as the Kaslo green schist. No attempt has been made to sink
through the clay, which forms the floor of the deposit. Judging by the rock-exposures along the
railway-cutting, the whole area is underlain by schists and slates, which have a dip of 53 degrees
and a strike of N. 10° W.
" Origin of the Deposit.—The primary deposit of manganese probably owed its origin to
deep-seated springs arising from a body of intrusive magma. These waters deposited their
burden of lime, iron, manganese, and silica in veins and'veinlets of the country-rock. During
subsequent erosion and oxidation the manganese has been collected by surface waters and
redeposited on the benches and gentle slopes of the hillside.
" The iron, being precipitated first from solution, forms the lower layer of the deposit,
while the lime may have been an important factor in bringing about the precipitation of the
"That this secondary deposit is of fairly recent origin is demonstrated by the fact that
it overlies glacial drift. The calcareous sinter which is invariably with the manganese, and
generally overlying it, no doubt owes its origin to deep-seated springs, of which there are still
a few active ones in the vicinity.
" Mining.—The ore being soft is easily mined by pick and shovel, but great care has to
be exercised in obtaining a grade suitable for shipment, and a certain amount of sorting is
" On account of the difficulty in getting cars, no ore had been shipped up to the time of my
visit.    It was the intention of the owners to ship to Chicago.
" Prices.—The prices which were recently fixed in the United States range from 86 cents to
$1.30 per unit for ore containing from 85 to 54 per cent, metallic manganese. (Refer.: Eng. &
Mining Journal, June Sth, page 1053.)    Freight rate to Chicago, $11.20 per ton.
" Samples.—No. 11675, taken from 800 sacks for shipment; Nos. 11676 and 11677, general
grab sample of all dumps of ore, containing 110 tons; No. 11678, sample taken from a number
of test-holes on No. 2 deposit; No. 11679, sample across 15-inch width of high-grade ore, No. 1
deposit; No. 11680, sample of overburden reject; No. 11681, sample of oxidized material underlying manganese.
" Estimate of Available Ore for Shipment.—Estimates of ore in-place are based on the
assumption that 40 cubic feet equal 1 ton. Tons
Total ore in No. 1 deposit .      730
Less extracted      160
Total ore in No. 2 deposit      835
Total     1,405 9 Geo. 5
Electric Smelting of Iron Ore.
L 89
" On account of the irregularity of the deposit and the unsystematic way in which it has
been prospected, the estimate is partly based on the amount that has been extracted from various
areas, and where the deposit showed regularity, upon the cubic content.
." Conclusion.—So far the only bodies discovered that might be considered of commercial
importance are the Nos. 1 and 2 deposits as shown on the plan, and although there are manganese
indications in patches outlying these areas, at the present time there is not enough exposed to
allow one to make an estimate of the possible ore which may or may not exist under a covering
of surface wash, but the indications do not encourage one to believe that there is any large
"(Signed.)   A. G. Langley,
" Resident Engineer."
Manganese Ore from Dickie's Claim, Cowichan Lake.
Samples taken by Mr. Turner, August, 1918.
Report of Assays by the Provincial Government Assayer.
No. 1, 4 feet 	
No. 2, 6 feet 	
Per Cent.
Per Cent.
No. 3, 5 feet 	
(Signed.)   D. E. Whittaker.
Mr. W. F. Robertson writes :— " August 14th, 1918.
" I enclose assay certificate of a manganese-deposit within a mile of the Canadian Pacific
Railway and Canadian Northern Railway by wire tram, showing over 6 feet of 55-per-cent. Mn.
ore carrying 11 per cent. SiO,, with 4 feet of lower-grade ore on one side and 16 feet on the
other.   It looks as if we could guarantee 30 tons a day of best grade within sixty days, and .
possibly up to 100 tons."
Deposits of Chrome-iron Ore.
Report on Deposit at Scottie Creek by R. W. Thomson, Resident Engineer, Kamloops,
May 10th, 1918.
Sample 11762 22.5 per cent. Cr203 and 27.2 per cent, silica.
Sample 11761 24.0 per cent. Cr203 and 35.0 per cent, silica.
//. Sample from Scottie Creek supplied by Provincial Mineralogist, July, 1918—
No. 1, 12974 40.5 per cent. Cr203 or 28.5 per cent, chromium.
No. 2, 12975  42.5 per cent. Cr203 or 29.5 per cent, chromium.
No. 3, 12976  24.8 per cent. Cr203 or 17.0 per cent, chromium.
Mr. Robertson informed me that there was an ample supply of this ore.
III. Sample from Juno Claim, Big Sheep Creek, supplied by P. B. Freeland, Resident
Engineer, Grand Forks, July, 1918—
Sample 11471  36.0 per cent. Cr203 or 24.6 per cent, chromium.
Production or Ferro-alloys in the Electric Furnace.
The following notes on the technical requirements and the cost of making ferro-manganese,
ferro-chromium, and ferro-silicon are based on information given me by Messrs. Beckman and
Linden. I have, however, been able to compare their figures for the consumption of ore, electric
power, and electrodes in some cases with those given in a valuable paper by R. M. Keeney, " The
Manufacture of Ferro-alloys in the Electric Furnace," which was presented' at the September,
1918, meeting of the American Institute of Mining Engineers. Beckman and Linden's figures
refer in most cases to the operation of a 3,000-kw. furnace, and I have therefore made some L 90 Bureau of Mines. 1919
allowance for increased consumption of power, labour, etc., involved in the proposed use of a
furnace of only 300 kw.
This is made by smelting in an electric furnace a mixture of manganese ore, steel turnings,
lime rock, coke, and charcoal. For the production of a long ton of 80-per-cent. ferro-manganese
from an ore containing 43 per cent, of manganese the following amounts would be needed, using
Beckman and Linden's figures:— Lb
Manganese ore    4,700
Steel turnings       300
Lime rock     1,040
Coke and charcoal    1,400
(B. and L. give petroleum coke   1,125)
Electrodes       100
Power     0.8 horse-power year.
A small single-phase furnace of 300 kw. would turn out about 500 tons per annum, or 1%
tons per day, which would be as much as could be utilized locally.
The following estimate of the cost of 1 long ton of 80-per-cent. ferro-manganese is based on
information supplied by Messrs. Beckman and Linden:—
Manganese ore, 4,700 lb. at $25 per net ton    $ 58 80
Steel turnings, 300 lb. at $10 per gross ton         1 30
Lime rock, 1,040 lb. at $3.50" per net ton         1 80
Coke and charcoal, 1,400 lb. at $8 per net ton          5 60
Electrodes, 100 lb. at 7 cents per pound         7 00
Power, 0.8 horse-power year at $15 per horse-power year       12 00
Labour         8 00
Maintenance          5 00
Supplies           1 50
Plant, general expense         3 00
Office, general expense    --         6 00
Total      $110 00
R. M. Keeney states that the power-consumption varies from 4,000 kilowatt-hours per long
ton in. a 3,000-kw. furnace to 7,000 kilowatt-hours per long ton in a 1,000-kw. furnace, which
would correspond to 0.72 arid 1.27 horse-power years respectively at 85 per cent, load factor.
He also states that the electrode-consumption is high, ranging from 150 to 250 lb. per long ton
of the product when using amorphous carbon electrodes. These results were obtained when
smelting ores of about 39 per cent, of manganese, and with a consumption of about 1,300 lb. of
" coal" per gross ton of product, and about 3 net tons of the 39-per-cent ore; the recovery being
about 75 per cent.
From other sources I learn that the regular practice in a ferro-alloy furnace of l,50O-kw.
over a considerable period has been as follows per gross ton of 80-per-cent. ferro-manganese:—
2.5 net tons of 40-per-cent. ore, costing SO cents per unit.
720 lb. coke at $5 per net ton.
720 lb. charcoal at $20 per net ton.
65 lb. graphite electrodes at 12 cents per pound.
0.66 to 0.85 horse-power year of 85 per cent, load factor.
The ores available in British Columbia appear from the foregoing reports to contain about
40 per cent, manganese, and comparing the various figures given above, I conclude that in a
300-kw. furnace 1 long ton of SO-per-cent. ferro would need about the following :—
40-per-cent. manganese ore, 2.7 net tons.
Coke and charcoal, 1,400 lb.
Electric power of 85 per cent, load factor, 0.9 horse-power year.
Carbon electrodes, 150 lb.
Lime rock, 1,500 lb.
Steel turnings, 300 lb. 9 Geo. 5 Electric Smelting of Iron Ore. L 91
An estimate of the cost of 1 long ton of 80-per-cent. ferro-manganese based on these figures
would be as follows:—
Cost of making One Long Ton of 80-per-cent. Ferro-manganese with $15 Power
in a 300-kw. Furnace.
40-per-cent. manganese ore, 2.7 net tons at $25    $ 67 50
Steel turnings, 300 lb. at $10 per gross ton '.  1 30
Lime rock, 1,500 lb. at $3 per net ton   2 25
Coke and charcoal, 1,400 lb. at $8 per net ton   5 60
Electrodes, 150 lb. at 7 cents per pound  10 50
Electric power, 0.9 horse-power year at $15   13 50
Labour    8 00
Maintenance    5 00
Supplies   2 00
Plant, general expense  3 00
Office, general expense    6 00
Total   $124 65
If the power were to cost 0.5 cent per kilowatt-hour, the charge for this item would be:—
0.9 horse-power year (0.85 L.F.) at $27.70    $ 25 00
And the final figure for the cost      136 15
In steel-making it is usually necessary to add ferro-manganese and ferro-silicon to obtain
a sound product. As manganese ores usually carry a considerable amount of silica, it is
economical to reduce this to silicon instead of slagging it off with lime: thus obtaining a
" silico-spiegel" containing both manganese and silicon. The following estimate, based on
information from Messrs. Beckman and Linden, gives the cost of a long ton of silico-spiegel
containing 18 per cent, silicon, 40 per cent, manganese, and 3 per cent, carbon. The ore
contains 42 per cent, manganese and costs $23 per net ton.
Cost, of making One Long Ton of Silico-spiegel w>itli»$15 Power in a Large Furnace.
Manganese ore, 2,140 lb. at $23 per net ton   $24 60
Silica rock, 400 lb. at $4 per net ton   80
Coke and charcoal, 1,200 lb. at $S per net ton   4 80
Steel turnings, 950 lb. at $11 per gross ton   5 00
Power, 0.8 horse-power year at $15   12 00
Electrodes, 60 lb. at 7 cents per pound  4 20
Labour    8 00
Maintenance    3 OO
Plant, general expense ...  6 00
Office, general expense  4 00
Total      $72 40
I have no figures available to compare with this, but increasing it proportionally with that
for ferro-manganese, on account of the small size of the furnace, would give a total of about
$85 per ton with $15 power, or $95 per ton with 0.5-cent power.
A higher-grade alloy might have the following composition:— ,
Per Cent.
Manganese   59
Silicon  20
Iron ... :   17
Aluminium     3
Carbon       1
The following is the estimated cost of making 1 long ton of this alloy, based on Beckman
and Linden's figures:—- L 92 Bureau of Mines. 1919
Cost of making One Long Ton of High-grade Silico-manganesc with $15 Poioer
in Large Furnace.
Manganese ore, 3,200 lb. at $25 per net ton  $40 00
Steel turnings, 440 lb. at $10 per gross ton  2 00
Silica rock, 380 lb. at $4 per net ton   80
Coke and charcoal, 1,800 lb. at $8 per net ton   7 20
Electrodes, 100 lb. at 7 cents per pound   .7 00
Power, 0.8 horse-power year at $15   12 00
Labour    8 00
Maintenance    5 00
Supplies  \  1 50
Plant, general expense ;... 3 00
Office, general expense    6 00
Total      $92 50
Increasing this total to correspond with the use of a small furnace, we get with $15 power
about $100 per ton, and with 0.5-cent power about $110 per ton.
The following estimate, based on the figures of Beckman and Linden, is for the production
of an alloy of the following composition :— p    Cent
Chromium  65
Iron    28
Carbon     5
Silicon        1
The ore is assumed to contain :— Per Cent
Chromium     31 (Cr203, 45 per cent.)
Iron   12
Silica   12
Magnesia   16
Cost of making One Long Ton of Ferro-chromium with $15 Power in Large Furnace.
Chrome ore, 4,750 lb. at $36 per net ton   $ 85 50
Steel turnings, 100 lb. at $11 per gross ton   50
Coke and charcoal, 1,200 lb. at $8 per net ton  4 80
Power, 1.2 horse-power years  (0.85 L.F.)  at $15   18 00
Electrodes, 100 lb. at 7 cents per pound  7 00
Labour  12 00
Maintenance  3 00
Supplies   t  2 00
Plant, general expense  10 00
Office, general expense  6 00
Total     $150 SO
In a recent paper (September, 1918) R. M. Keeney discusses very fully the production of
ferro-chromium, and the following notes are based on his paper: Ferro-chromium can be made
of varying carbon contents, usually between 4 and 8 per cent. If chrome ores" are smelted with
an abundance of carbon, the recovery of chromium is good, being 90 or 95 per cent, of the amount
in the ore, but the ferro will contain about 8 per cent, of carbon. If, on the other hand, the
supply of carbon is restricted so as to keep the carbon below 6 per cent, the recovery of the
chromium will be poor, about 70 or 75 per cent. The recovery depends partly on the richness
of the ore, and when this is below 40 per cent. Cr2Os, the recovery is low.
American ores from California and Oregon are reported to contain as a rule from 40 to 45
per cent. Cr,Os. The ores from Scotty creek, in British Columbia, appear to have in some cases
40 per cent, of Cr,03, and therefore to be rather poorer than the American ores. In making
65-per-cent ferro-chrome there would be needed per long ton of the product:— 9 Geo. 5 Electric Smelting of Iron Ore. L 93
For an 8-per-eent carbon product at 90-per-cent. recovery 5,730 lb. of ore.
For a 5-per-cent. carbon product at 70-per-cent. recovery....... 7,380 lb. of ore.
The power figures of Beckman and Linden are based on the statement that each pound of
ferro-chromium needs 3 kilowatt-hours for its production. This may be correct with high-grade
ores and in large furnaces. In Keeney's experiments, using furnaces of about 200 kw., the
power-consumption was about 3.4 or 3.5 kilowatt-hours per pound, and this at 85 per cent, load
factor corresponds to 1.4 horse-power years.
Beckman and Linden in their original estimate state that 1,100 lb. of petroleum coke would
be needed per long ton of the product, and I converted this into 1,200 lb. of coke and charcoal.
Keeney used coke in his experiments, and the amount varied from 0.5 to 0.75 lb. per pound of
ferro. Taking 0.6 lb. as a mean value, we find the consumption to be 1,344 lb. per long ton of
the product.
For the production of ferro-chromium in a small furnace of 300 kw. it will be safer to take
the more conservative figures of Keeney, and using, as before, the remaining items from Beckman
and Linden, which I have already increased a little on account of the smaller scale of operation,
we obtain the following estimate :—
Cost of Production of One Long Ton of 65-per-cent. Ferro-chromium with about 6 per Cent.
Carbon from an Ore of 40 per Cent. Cr2Os in a Furnace of 300 Kw.
Chrome ore, 6,000 lb. at $36 per net ton   $10S 00
Steel turnings, 100 lb. at $11 per gross ton   50
Coke, 1,350 lb. at $8 per net ton  5 40
Power, 1.4 horse-power years at $15 per horse-power year  21 00
Electrodes, 100 lb. at 7 cents per pound   7 00
Labour     12 00
Maintenance    5 00
Supplies   .'  2 OO
Plant, general expense    10 00
Office, general expense    6 00
Total  $176 90
If the power cost 0.5 cent per kilowatt-hour, the charge for this item would be:—
7,700 kilowatt-hours at 0.5 cent   $ 38 50
And the final cost per ton of ferro would be     194 40
The following estimate is given by Messrs. Beckman and Linden for the cost of making
1 ton of the 50-per-cent. ferro-silicon. The output of a 300-kw. single-phase furnace would be
400 tons per annum, or 1 ton daily.
Cost of making One Ton of 50-per-cent. Ferro-silicon with $15 Power in a Large Furnace.
Power, 1 horse-power year at $15   $15 00
Quartz. 2,400 lb. at $3.50 per net ton   4 20
Coke, 1,200 lb. at $8 per net ton   4 80
Turnings, 1,500 lb. at $10 per net ton  7 50
Electrodes, 60 lb. at 7 cents per pound  4 20
Labour     16 00
Supplies  1 50
Plant and office, general expense   5 00
Interest and depreciation, 20 per cent  10 00
Total    $68 20
If power were to cost 0.5 cent per kilowatt-hour, the power item would be $27.80, and the
whole cost $81.
Prices of Ferro-alloys.
For comparison with the figures of costs given above, I add the present and the pre-war
prices of some ferro-alloys. L 94 . Bureau of Mines. 1919
Ferro-manganese.—Before the war (December, 1913) the 80-per-cent. alloy sold at about
$50 per long ton in the Eastern States. Its present price (October, 1918) is $250 for.the
70-per-cent. alloy, with a charge of $3.50 per unit from that basis; thus the SO-per-cent. alloy
would bring $285 per ton, which is nearly six times its price before the war. Before the war a
spiegel (low-grade ferro-manganese) containing 20 per cent, of manganese was worth $25 a ton;
at present a 16-per-cent. spiegel is worth $75 a ton, and a 20-per-cent. spiegel would be worth
about $90 a ton.
The price of ferro-manganese in British Columbia must be about $20 a ton higher than the
above figures, so that if 80-per-cent. ferro-manganese could be made at $150 a ton there would
be a very good profit at present prices. On the other hand, the business would be impossible
if prices were to return to their original level, unless in the meantime very important economies
could be effected in the cost of supplies and other operating expenses.
Ferro-silicon.—Before the" war (December, 1913) the price of 50-per-cent. ferro-silicon was
$73 a ton, the 10-per-cent. alloy was $21, the 11-per-cent alloy was $22, and the 12-per-cent alloy
$23. At the present (October, 1918) 50-per-cent. ferro-silicon is quoted at $160 per ton, the
9-per-cent. alloy is $55, the 10-per-cent. alloy is $57, and the 11-per-cent. alloy is $60 a ton. If
the 50-per-cent. alloy can be made in British Columbia at anything like the estimated cost of
$70 per ton, its manufacture should afford a good profit at present prices, and with reasonable
economies should remain profitable even when prices have fallen considerably.
It will be remembered, of course, that the present market for these alloys in British Columbia
is very limited, being less than a ton of each alloy daily. One reason for making ferro-alloys
will be to supply them to the steel-making department of the plant, which otherwise would have
to buy these alloys at excessive prices, and as the steel industry develops the outside market
for the alloys will increase.
The design and cost of the plant, and furnaces for making ferro-alloys have been considered
in other parts of this report.
In order to be able to make pig-iron on as large a scale as possible, and also with a view
lo combining more profitable industries with that of iron-smelting, it is desirable to introduce
into the electric-smelting plant furnaces and other appliances for making steel. The general
scheme suggested is that about 25 tons of foundry iron should be produced daily for sale to
iron-foundries, and a further 25 or 30 tons of white pig-iron should be made for conversion into
steel in the same plant or elsewhere. The steel would probably be made in small open-hearth
furnaces heated by oil, or in electric furnaces of the Heroult type. Together with 30 tons of
pig-iron, about 60 tons of steel scrap could be used if desirable, thus yielding about S5 tons of
steel daily. This could be used in part for making steel castings, and the remainder could be
rolled into rods and bars of small section in a small rolling-mill. The manufacture and the use
of steel are too well known to require any discussion in this report, and it would be impossible
for me to treat the subject adequately in the space and time at my disposal. A rough estimate
of the cost of a steel plant has been given in Appendix IX., and I may add the following estimate,
made by Lyon and Keeney in 1915, for the cost of electric steel-making in the Western States
(Trans. Amer. Electrochem. Soc, 1915, XXVIIL, page 158) :—
Cost of Production of One Long Ton of Steel in the Electric Furnace in the Western States.
1.1 tons of scrap at $15 per ton  $16 50
Slag materials    1 00
Ferro-alloys     1 00
800 kilowatt-hours at 0.20 cents  '  1 60
Labour  2 50
Maintenance and repairs  2 40
20 lb. of electrodes at 5 cents   1 00
Amortization and depreciation at 5 per cent, each  1 50
Interest at 6 per cent ,. 90
General  1 00
Royalty     50
Total I   $29 90 9 Geo. 5 Electric Smelting of Iron Ore. L 95
The present cost of making steel in British Columbia will be considerably higher than this
estimate, on account of the higher cost of supplies and operation.
The present price (October, 1918) of steel billets in the Eastern States is about $50 per
gross ton, which might correspond with about $70 in British Columbia. The price in December,
1913, was $20 to $22 in the Eastern States. There would, however, be no attempt, under normal
conditions, to compete with heavy structural material, and there are many purposes for which
steel can be made at a profit, under present conditions in British Columbia, even in electric
furnaces using power at 0.5 cent per kilowatt-hour.
Printed by William H.  Cullin, Printer to the King's Most Excellent Majesty,


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