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Bell Island Submarine Miner
December 1956

General Plant News

Heavy downpour of rain, driven by winds of gale force prevailed throughout the month of November. On a few occasions the temperature dropped to freezing for a short while.

The last weeks of November were especially mild on this part of the coast.

The falling Autumn leaves have long ago disappeared and the trees are bare of all signs of their summer brightness and life. Yet, the grass is still green in some fields and as the month ends and the first week of December is here, we have yet to witness a snow squall or a spell of hard frost.

News from employees and members of their families, who have been on the sick list:

  • Norman TARRANT, Foreman at Dominion Pier, has recovered sufficiently from his injuries to return to work.

  • Tom POWER, Jr., No. 3 Slope, is back on the job and feeling fine.

  • Pensioner Michael SWEENEY, formerly employed with the Mechanical Department, recently underwent an operation at the General Hospital. He is reported to be improving.

  • Herbert HARNEY, No. 6 Slope, entered the General Hospital for treatment, in November. He has returned home, but expects to go to Montreal for further medical treatment in the near future.

  • John PEDDLE entered the Grace Hospital in St. John's for an operation in November. He has returned home and is feeling fine.

  • Deepest sympathy is extended to the relatives of Mrs. Abe STANFORD, who passed away at her home in Grate's Cove, Conception Bay, during November.

  • Pensioner Mundon WILCOX and family, after spending several months on the Canadian Mainland during the past year, returned to Bell Island recently, where they will reside in future.

Heavy gales during November did not prevent the stork from making its monthly visits in the sky over Bell Island. While airborne here, he visited the following employees:
Mr. and Mrs. Clyde HUNT, a daughter on the 16th
Mr. and Mrs. Art CUMMINGS, a son on Nov 20th

We recently heard from former Bell Islanders, the George PETRIES, now at Gander Airport. They are pleased to receive a copy of our Plant Magazine every month. It helps keep them in touch with happenings here. They send their best wishes for the future success of the "Submarine Miner".

News from employees who celebrated wedding anniversaries in November:
Pensioner John and Mrs. KENT, 51 years married on the 29th. Previous to retiring on pension, Mr. KENT held the position of Foreman in the Cable Shop.
Norman NOSEWORTHY, Watchman Department and Mrs. NOSEWORTHY, 40 years married on the 15th.
Pensioner Peter and Mrs. FOWLER, St. John's, 50 years married on the 15th. Previous to retiring on pension, Mr. FOWLER was employed in the Piers' Department.
Mr. and Mrs. William CRAIG, 28 years married on the 10th
Mr. and Mrs. Robert POWER, 26 years married on the 17th
Mr. and Mrs. William KAVANAGH, Bell Island, 28 years married on the 11th
Mr. and Mrs. Steve HICKEY, 41 years married on the 15th
Mr. and Mrs. James PEDDLE, Bell Island, 15 years married on the 17th
Mr. and Mrs. Edward SHAW, Bell Island, 15 years married on the 15th
Mr. and Mrs. Cyril BARRETT, Bell Island, married 14 years on the 19th

The first hockey game on the new artificial ice surface in the new Arena here was played on Tuesday night, November 27th, between last year's Senior League Champions, the St. Kevin's team, and an All-Star aggregation from Hawks, Rangers and West Miners, the other three teams in the league. It was an exhibition meet to help provide funds to meet expenses of local hockeyists who may receive injuries during the season.

The All-Stars got the better of the argument on ice. At the finish, the scoreboard registered 5-2 in their favour.

Joe PENNEY, of All-Newfoundland hockey fame, guarding the St. Kevin's net, turned aside a number of shots in the opening period, but was beaten three times while Fred PITTS in the All-Stars net was beaten only once.

In the second period, both teams scored once and in the final period, All-Stars bulged the St. Kevin's twines once.

The Guards team from St. John's visited here on November 29th for an exhibition meet with the Bell Island Senior "B" All-Stars. Guards was the first outside team to perform in the new Arena.

The visitors showed good form throughout the game, tripping the local by a 7-5 score.

Guards are expected here for a return game next weekend.

Sympathy is extended to the relatives of:
Mrs. Martin KAVANAGH, East End, Bell Island, who passed away on December 3rd, in her 78th year, following a short illness.

Congratulations to the following employees who were married during the month of November:
Blair KENNEDY, on the 10th
Michael MURPHY on the 24th

News from Pensioners on the occasion of their birthdays, during the month of December:
Pat HICKEY, 78 on the 17th
Bernard HAWCO, 75 on the 16th
Josiah GOSSE, 74 on the 2nd
Bert GOSSE, 71 on the 25th
Walter LAHEY, 69 on the 10th
Arch ROSE, 67 on the 10th

Iron Ore production, including Underground and Surface Mining at Wabana, during the 11 months of 1956, amounted to 2,604,377 net tons. During this period, 2,539,006 tons were shipped to markets at Sydney, Nova Scotia, and overseas. The amounts sent to the various markets, to the end of November, are as follows:
Sydney ................................... 462,853 tons
Great Britain ........................... 980,140 tons
Germany .............................. 1,012,043 tons
United States ...........................   10,550 tons
Holland ...................................    73,420 tons

Total ore shipments for an 11 month period in 1955, amounted to 2,167,981 tons - 371,025 tons less than was shipped during the same period this year.

Wabana Boy's Club Officially Opened
by Sir Leonard OUTERBRIDGE -
Lieutenant-Governor of Newfoundland

Sir Leonard OUTERBRIDGE, Lieutenant Governor of Newfoundland, presided at the impressive official opening ceremony of the Wabana Boys' Club, which took place in the well equipped gymnasium on November 17th.

The Lieutenant Governor and members of his party arrived at four o'clock in the afternoon. After an inspection of the Boys' Club building, the opening ceremony began.

Don JAMIESON, Vice-President of the Newfoundland Broadcasting Company, acted as chairman for the occasion.

Addressing the crowded gymnasium during the opening ceremonies, Mr. JAMIESON saw a remarkable transformation in social conditions on Bell Island during the past ten years. The Boy's Club, he said, is another forward step by the people of Bell Island.

The President of the Board of Directors of the Wabana Boys' Club, J.G. ARCHIBALD, outlined the history of the Club.

Mr. ARCHIBALD paid tribute to Mr. H.P. DICKEY, whose inspiration and leadership made the Club become a reality.

The President of the Club also paid tribute to the Executive Director, Ernie COTTON, whose untiring energy sparked the Club building to a successful completion. He extended a welcome to Sir Leonard OUTERBRIDGE.

While addressing the audience, prior to unveiling the bronze plaque, to mark the official opening of the new Boys' Club building, the Lieutenant Governor pointed out to the youth of Bell Island the responsibility that is theirs, to appreciate the efforts made on their behalf by public spirited citizens in the community, in erecting a new Boys' Club building.

The primary object of the Boys' Club, said His Honor, is to develop sound, healthy bodies; to develop the boys' tastes and skills.

Above all, he told the boys, the Club exists to teach you to be tolerant and to develop friendships. Developing leadership, too, he said, is one of the chief aims of the Club.

Sir Leonard offered special congratulations to Dominion Wabana Ore, Limited, for its outstanding contribution of the building, which houses the club.

In concluding his remarks, the Lieutenant Governor told the boys that with their help, the Wabana Boys' Club, can become a center where leadership and citizenship are developed.

With the audience standing, His Honor the Lieutenant Governor unfurled the Union Jack from the bronze plaque and declared the Boys' Club open.

Mr. DICKEY, Vice President and General Manager, Dominion Wabana Ore, Limited, in a brief address, spoke of the splendid cooperation the organizers of the Club received, without which, the Club building could not have been erected.

He expressed his pleasure in the opening of the Club and forecast a successful future for it.

The Executive Director, E.A. COTTON, praised the people who did so much to make the Club a success, particularly Mr. DICKEY and Mr. ARCHIBALD.

The aim of the Club, said Mr. COTTON, is to make better citizens for Bell Island, now and in the future.

Eddie FISHER, youthful member of the Wabana Boys' Club Council, speaking on behalf of the boys, the Directors of the Club and the people of Bell Island, thanked all for their support and interest, adding a note of appreciation to His Honor, the Lieutenant Governor, for his presence at the opening.

The ceremonies concluded with the Ode to Newfoundland and the National Anthem. The official party then proceeded to the Club Library, to attend the reception.

Telegrams were received from Mr. L.A. FORSYTH, Q.C., President of Dosco, and Vernon F. McADAM, Executive Director of Boys' Clubs of Canada, who were scheduled to attend the opening, expressing their regrets on being unavoidably absent.

Wabana Mining Operations - By Stella KENNEDY(continued from last issue)

Because of all of the drills, with the exception of the drillmobile, operated by compressed air, large compressors must be handy to supply this air. Pipes and connections lead to the working areas from the compressors and hoses and connections are made to the drills. Not only must these connections be checked before the men can start work, but steel bits and other materials must be supplied and this is done by supply groups, who, during night shift, move the materials required for the next day's work. The rooms, which the working places are called, also must be checked and double checked to see if there is any loose rock around, the fall of which could cause serious accidents.

The workers are now prepared to set to work. They usually work in pairs. While one sets up the equipment, the other will collect the supply of steel and connect the hoses. Three faces may be drilled during a shift and a pair of men can drill from 24 to 75 holes, ranging in depth from 7 to 10 feet and producing as much as 100 to 700 tons of ore.

These operations lead to the next important step, which is blasting. Blasting is done during the "C" shift which is from 12:00 midnight to 8:00 a.m., and the blasts are usually set off not later than 6:00 a.m. Here also men work in pairs.

The blaster must examine the face that is to be blasted and see that the holes are entirely free of smudges or grit before he can place and determine the amount of explosives to be used. The helper inserts the plugs into the holes. The primer cartridge is inserted near the middle of the hole. This cartridge contains the detonator which, when it is ignited, supplies the knock or shock which causes the dynamite to explode. The leg wires of this detonator have to protrude from the hole so that it can be connected to other charges. After all the holes have been plugged, the blaster and his helper connect all the leg wires, leaving one unconnected leg wire on the side of the face.

An inspection is made before the blast is set off to see that all the faces to be blasted are connected; also, to see that there are no men or blasting supplies in the area of the explosions. Finally the blast is set off by plugging into the power supply and throwing the switch.

An important item, which must be taken into consideration concerning this blasting, is the supply and preservation of the explosives. This is done by storing them in dry, well-ventilated magazines, which are built to Government regulations. Special ships bring in about four loads a year. The dynamite is taken from its wooden boxes and stored in canvas bags to be distributed to the mines. Special trucks carry out this service and every necessary precaution is taken in doing so. There is also a special group of three men in charge of distributing and handling these explosives. Smoking is not permitted on the premises.

Now that the drilling and blasting have been discussed, the next detail to be remarked on is the loading by three main types of machinery.

A common type of loading machine is the slusher, commonly known as a drag. This is used chiefly in No. 4 and No. 6 Slopes. It is also used in the No. 3 where the three types are used.

The slusher is an electrically operated loading unit with a 40 H.P. motor, consisting of two chief parts; the slusher, hoist and bucket. The hoist has three cables; one is used to pull the bucket with its load of ore from the ore pile to the loading ramp; the second is used to return the empty bucket; and the third is used to lower and hoist mine cars to and from the loading ramp and also to move the unit over a 3 ft. gauge track from one working area to another.

A regular drag crew consists of three men, namely an operator, trammer and gyn-block driller. A rampman or skidman aids them in their work.

The bucket has a dragging capacity of approximately 2.7 tons of ore and in an eight hour shift, if everything operates under normal conditions, about 350 to 400 tons of ore can be loaded.

Since 1926 the slusher units have been used in the mine, but now in 1956, although they are still used, very great improvements have been made therefore resulting in greater operating efficiency.

The three types of loaders are, first, the crawler type electrically operated shovel, which is used chiefly in No. 3 Slope, second, the electrically operated, crawler mounted, mechanical loader. The shovel has a greater loading capacity and does not need extensive preparations before it can be placed into operation. The shovel crew consists of four men; a shovel operator, an operator's helper, a tending hoist operator and a loading trammer. About 70 four-ton cars can be loaded in an eight-hour shift. The third type of machine is the Joy Loader, which is approximately 25 feet in length, 6½ feet in width and 5½ feet in height, and weighs 19 tons. Traction and loading is operated by a 75 h.p. motor and the conveying by two 15 h.p. motors. All these are hydraulically controlled. The crew consists of four men; a loader-driver and helper, and two shuttle car operators. During an eight-hour shift, the loading capacity is about 100 to 150 four ton cars. Sometimes, under ideal conditions, as much as 250 cars have been loaded during this time. In 1949, this type of loader was first introduced, but there have been many improvements made since.
(continued in next issue)

Perfect Attendance Record - First Six months of 1956


Gilbert KELLOWAY Leander DROVER William KENT
Roland PARSONS Michael COLE Stephen KAVANAGH
Israel DECKER Malcolm KING Malcolm PEACH
William PYNN William O'BRIEN Martin CAHILL
William CRAIG Reuben KING Samuel KING
Hebert TAYLOR Warrick WAREHAM Joseph BUTT
William VOKEY Edward REES Jacob SQUIRES
Ronald DICKS Charles RATFORD Patrick MYERS
William IVANY Charles BROWN Fred VOKEY
George MARTIN Ernest IVANY Thomas CONWAY
Douglas PERRY George PICCO Gordon NORMORE
Vincent MURPHY Jerry FORD William POWER
Walter DWYER Michael BOLAND Gregory METCALFE
Thomas SKANES Thomas FLYNN William HUSSEY
Harry STONE Ronald KAVANAGH Llewellyn SKANES
Edward HUNT Patrick FOWLER Gerald CAHILL
Joseph GOSSE John REES Robert VOKEY
Matthew SEWARD John McLEAN Oswald HUNT
Walter CARTER George WHITE Stanley HAYWARD
Cecil BISHOP Stephen HICKEY Stephen CRANE
George KELLY  
Patrick MURPHY  


Pensioner J.B. GILLIATT, who passed away at Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia, on November 22nd, in his 77th year. Previous to retiring on a pension, the late J.B. GILLIATT held the position of Chief Engineer with the Company. He came to Bell Island in 1916 as Assistant Chief Engineer. After a short while here he was appointed Chief Engineer, which position he held until he entered retirement in November 1952. While on Bell Island, he was active in social and other community activities. He was also active in curling and tennis. Upon retiring he returned to his former home in Annapolis Royal, where he resided until his passing.


John MOORE, passed away in hospital in St. John's on November 27th, in his 56th year.


"Reprinted courtesy of The Submarine Miner"
A publication for the employees of the Dominion Wabana Ore Limited.
Any monetary or commercial gain from using this material is
strictly prohibited and subject to legal action.


Page Contributed by: Coleen Murrin-Norcott-Pieczewski

Page Revised by Ivy F. Benoit (August 19, 2003)

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