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Report of the Minister of Mines [Dick, Archibald] 1883

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 47 Vic. Report of the Minister of Mines. .419
"No. 4 Shaft, Wellington Colliery.
" You will see in a previous report that this is the shaft which was put clown on the top
of the bluff overlooking the valley of the Millstone River. There has been much work clone
here, both on the surface and in the mine. The coal mined in this pit is what is known as the
Wellington coal; it varies in thickness from 8 to 12 feet, leaving about 2 feet of hard coal for
a roof. This coal is of a first class quality, and looks well for a good and extensive mine.
There have been some small drawbacks to the mining here, as there was a small 'fault' in the
coal close to the shaft; the workings now are all clear of it, and the coal looks well. This is
also worked on the pillar and stall system. They cannot work this very extensively until they
have another outlet from the mine. It was generally thought by the manager at first when
they got the coal here, that there was a large down-throw of the coal going from this place to
the workings of the No. 3 Shaft—that being the only place for a connection without putting
down a second shaft from the surface; but after they had worked in some distance, the
manager began to see that there was a chance to get clown without any serious trouble. They
started a slope for the purpose of making a connection; now they are down about 200 yards,
without any fault to hinder their progress, the coal being good and hard all the way, but has a
good pitch to it. Now they have got so low that they are satisfied that there is nothing in
the way to hinder them but good coal, so that about the 15th of February they expect to get
through on the workings of No. 3 Shaft, the accomplishment of which will be a great relief to
both shafts; and they will be able to mine more extensively, as they will be at liberty to put
on all the men they can find employment for. At present, the Mining Act limits them to a
certain number until there are two or more outlets.
" Ventilation of this shaft is by a steam-jet. One part of the shaft is partitioned off
exclusively for the upcast. This mine is particularly well ventilated. The air is split at the
shaft to each side, taking the level for the intake, returning by the face of the stalls, and
leaving the stalls by the return airway direct for the upcast shaft. When this shaft was sunk,
it gave off much gas; but ventilation being good, and great care used, there was nothing to
fear, always being well supplied with safety lamps. In the levels or headings gas is sometimes
given off, which comes out of the floor of the coal; and sometimes a streak of it would collect
on the lee side of the timber which the brattice is fixed to, at the same time the air was
blowing past strong. Work has gone on quite satisfactorily during the year that is now past;
and now that they are about to have an opening another way soon, it is to be hoped that we
will be clear from accidents from gas in the year we have entered upon.
"The railway has been completed to this shaft in connection with the North Wellington
railway; this branch is about one* mile in length. The conductors have been put in the shaft,
fixed head gear built, and shutes erected, and every other appliance is there for a mine that is
likely to have a large output of coal per day; and the outlook at present is that this shaft will
give a good account of itself to Messrs. Robert Dunsmuir & Sons, its owners, for the current
year, and it is to be hoped for many years to come.
" You will have observed in the Report of 1882 that this Colliery, with its present works,
is situate in the valley of the Millstone River, below the Wellington Colliery. At the time of
the above-mentioned report, they had got their shaft down about 200 feet. Everything looked
favourable for getting the coal good. When they got down 250 feet, or to where the coal
should be, they found it but thin and faulty, being all mixed with rock. They got everything
fixed and put in order on top, conductors into the shaft, and everything done as if the coal
was good and thick. Then they started two drifts, one on each side of the shaft; they were
run a long distance, the coal not improving much—sometimes none—yet they kept on; when
about 600 feet from the shaft it began to shew signs of getting better and improving in thickness, until it got 8 feet thick; that was good while it lasted. At different times it looked
good, and in a few yards would'almost pinch out. It is a little better at present, but not
regular, and far from it. They have, however, been getting out some coal, as you will see by
the returns.
" There is a prospect of this being a good and extensive colliery yet, as the coal has been
found good both up and clown the valley from where the works are, and it is to be hoped the
East Wellington Company will also find it good. There is a large amount of capital invested
here.     Besides the works about the shaft, they have a railway, laid with steel rails, oh miles 420 Report of the Minister op Mines. 1884
long, with wharf, and two locomotives, 20 4J-ton cars, and every other appliance for taking
away and shipping a large amount of coal per clay; their shipping point being Departure Bay.
In addition to the above, they have a large sawmill (the same as mentioned by me in 1882
Report as in course of erection). Attached to this mill, there is a planer and every other thing
that is necessary for a mill, with steam-engine for working the same. There is also a branch
line from the railway to the mill, so that if it is found profitable lumber can be shipped, there
being plenty of timber handy to the mill; but it may be reasonably expected that the proprietors of East Wellington Mine will soon be fully employed in carrying coal, so that the timber
can stand till some future day.
"Accidents in and about the Coal Mines of British Columbia for the Year 1883.
" 16th January—Samuel K. Lowe, sinker, was killed by falling down the East Wellington
Colliery sinking shaft.
" 1st February—Thomas Rickard got a blow on the side with a piece of timber when at
work putting in conductors in No. 4 shaft, Wellington Colliery.
" 3rd March—Peter Morrison, miner, was injured about the back by a piece of coal falling
on him from the roof while at work in No. 4 shaft, Wellington Colliery.
" 8th March—Ah Tuck (Chinaman.) when travelling up the slope in the Wellington Mine,
not taking the necessary precaution by going into one of the man-holes, was caught by the
empty cars coming down, whereby he got his leg broken.
"12th March—George Fisher, miner, when taking out pillars (coal) in the Douglas Pit,
got his leg broken by a piece of coal falling on it.
" 17th March—David Hardy, miner, was bruised about the body by coals thrown from a
shot, which blew through from the adjoining stall they were working at to connect, in No. 4
shaft, Wellington Colliery.
" 7th April—Rorry Dunlop, miner in No. 3 Pit, Wellington Colliery, was burned about
the hands and face by an explosion of gas. He was working with a safety lamp. The brattice
man was sent to put in brattice, being also provided with a safety lamp, but came in without
using it, kindled the gas with his naked light, hence the explosion and burning.
" 23rd April—Joseph Randle, while repairing pump-rods in the Douglas Pit, got one of
his ribs broken by a piece of timber he was using to hold the rods up with, and which slipped.
" 2nd May—Henry Hindle, timber-man, was killed by a cave from the roof while at work
renewing timber in No. 4 Pit, Wellington Colliery.
.   " 5th May—Samuel Harris, miner, was injured by a fall of rock from the roof while at
work in his stall in No. 3 Pit, Wellington Colliery.
" 5th May—Frank Ghilioni, miner, was injured by the premature explosion of a shot in
No. 3 Pit, Wellington Colliery.
"1st June—J^ Bone (Chinaman), car runner, got his arm broken by a car going off the
rails in the No. 3 Pit, Wellington Colliery.
" 29th June—Robert Kilpatrick, miner, was slightly burned by the explosion of some,
loose powder, kindled by a spark from his lamp, being in the act of getting ready to charge a
shot in the Wellington Mine.
■" 18th August--John Johnson, miner in the East Wellington Colliery, was seriously cut
in the face by coals thrown from a shot which was fired in the adjoining stall, which blew
through on him, after being told to get out of the way, but did not do so.
" 25th August—Ah_Lum (Chinaman) was slightly injured, by a piece of rock falling on
him from the roof, in one of the stalls in the East Wellington Colliery.
"8th September—Yum Lee (Chinaman) had his leg broken by a piece of rock falling on
him from the roof, while'at work in one of the working places in the East Wellington Colliery.
" 5th October—Chinaman No. lO* got his arm broken in two places while at work running cars in No. 4 Pit, Wellington Colliery.
" 16th October—John Meakin, miner in Chase River Mine, was slightly burned about the
face and hand by an explosion of gas, when he returned to the face, after he had fired a shot.
" 29th October—Ah (Chinaman), mule-driver, was severely injured by getting
jammed between the cars in the Wellington Mine.    He died on the following day.
" 6th November—Lee Wing (Chinaman) was severely injured about the back by getting
jammed between the cars at the outside of tfie South Field Mine; at the same time he should
have been at work in the mine. 47 Vic. Report op the Minister op Mines. 421
" 10th November—Simon Joy, miner, wrenched one of his legs when coming off the cage
in the No. 3 shaft, Wellington Colliery.
" 15th November—Ah You (Chinaman) was slightly cut about the face and arms by small
pieces of coal thrown from a shot, which blew through from the adjoining stall, in the Wellington Mine.
" 20th November—Henry Bolton, deputy at Chase River Mine, got the small bone of his
arm and one of his legs broken by a roller from the pump-rods getting out of its place and
going down the slope, striking him while on the descent.
" 3rd December—Ah How (Chinaman), when lowering a car down an incline in No. 4
Pit, Wellington Colliery, got foul of the rope, whereby he got one of his legs broken.
" 19th December—David Morris, miner, was slightly singed by an explosion of gas in the
East Wellington Mine. He was told by the fireman all was clear; Morris went in some time
after and kindled some gas which had collected in a hole in the roof.
" 20th December—Sin Kee (Chinaman) was bruised on the back by a piece of rock falling
on him from the roof in one of the working stalls in the East Wellington Mine.
"21st December—Tong Kee (Chinaman) was seriously injured by a piece of rock falling
on him from the roof ininstalTof the Wellington Mine.
" 28th December—Ah Yune (Chinaman), miner, was killed by rock falling on him from
the roof in the Adit Level, Wellington Colliery. He had fired a shot, which blew out four
props. By the evidence taken at the Inquest, he was in the act of putting the timber up
again when about one ton of rock came down on him.
" I am sorry to have to make a list of so many accidents—for the year that has closed—
both serious and fatal; although some of them were slight, yet they come up to 23 in all.
"Seven of them were by falls of rock from the roof; two, by falls of coal; four, by coal
thrown from shots; six, by the cars in the mine; three, by explosions of gas; one, by explosion
of loose powder; one, when coming off tho cage; two, when fixing pumps; and two, in shafts.
You will perceive that four of these cases were fatal: one, by falling clown a shaft; two, by
falls of rock from the roof; and one, by the cars in the mine. You will observe that 17 of
these accidents were at the face of the workings, where the miner can see what is required for
his safety and protection from accident; but casualty happens not to the inexperienced only,
as the most careful and experienced miner will sometimes be caught, and at a time when he
thinks he has used great caution,
" There were six accidents by the cars; the greater part of these were to runners, whose
daily occupation was working with the cars, yet they run chances so that it may be lighter to
them, although they do not always get off, as you have seen by the accidents to this class of
labourers. There were three by explosions of gas; one of them was in a place where they had
not seen any gas before that time; the place had also been examined by the fireman previous
to the men going to work; he found all clear; but when David Morris went in to work, he
kindled a small quantity of gas which had been collected in a hole. There was another of
those accidents by gas, to a man working with a safety lamp, and you will have noticed how
another person came in and kindled it with his naked light. All the other casualties were at
places where it was necessary for repairs to be done, and which is in very dangerous places
" In looking over the list of accidents, you will have observed that there is quite a number
of them of a preventable character, and that with a little more caution on the workman's part,
there would not have been such a long list; but while there are mines, and miners to work
them, there will always be some one now and again getting disabled, as accidents will happen
even to the most careful and skillful miners. But there is a class of men employed in the
mines about here which I do not expect to know much about mining, although they may learn
something about it, after being in some time, so that they can do light work. This class is the
Chinese. You will have seen in the chapter of accidents that 12 of them are mentioned—two
of them are fatal.
"As I have said in a previous report, it would be unjust to charge upon the proprietors
or managers of mines responsibility for such accidents, when they have provided every appli-
auce necessary for the safety of the workman, and every other thing necessary for the carrying
on of a well-conducted colliery.
" Appended hereto are the Annual Colliery Returns.
"I have, (fee,
(Signed)        "Archibald Dick,
" Government Inspector of Mines, Nanaimo," 422
Report op the Minister op Mines.
Nanaimo Collieries.
Output of coal for 12
months ending
December 31, 1883.
35,665 3-20
No. of tons
sold for
home consumption.
No. of tons sold
for Exportation.
No. of tons
on hand
1st January,  1883.
No. of tons unsold,
including eoal in
stock, Jan. 1st, 1884.
442 2-20
Number of hands employed.
Wages per day.
$2 to $4
$1 to $1.50
$1.25 to $2.50
Total hands employed below ground ...
Total hands employed above ground ...
"'", 0q        Miners' earnings per day.
$2.50 to !
Name of Seams or Pits—Chase River, South Field, and No. 1 Shaft.
Value of Plant—$150,000.
Descriptions of seams, tunnels, levels, shafts, &c, and number of same—Chase River,
worked by slope; average 6 feet thick; South Field, adit 400 yards (about); seam
somewhat unreliable; No. 1 Shaft, 630 feet; seam of coal, 7 to 11 feet thick; No. 2
Shaft, sinking.
Description and length of Tramway, Plant, &c.—Railway, 4 miles; 3 locomotives; powerful winding engines, steam-pumps, coal waggons, and extensive wharf.
M. Bate.
Wellington Collieries.
Output of coal for 12
months ending
December, 31st 1883.
171,364 5-20
No. of tons
sold for
home consumption.
No. of tons sold
for Exportation.
124,748 15-20
No. of Tons
on hand
1st January,  1884.
1,725 J2-20
No. of tons unsold,
including coal in
stock, Jan. 1st, 1883.
2,443 2-20
Number of hands employed.
Wages per day.
$2 to $3.75
$1 to $1.25
Total hands employed 559   i    Miners' earnings per day.
$3 to $4
Name of Seams or Pits—Wellington.
Value of Plant~?250,000.


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