Fifty years of amusing, terrifying and bizarre stories
Tales of Mad Miner by Bill Glover
Is there another industry as exciting as mining? Bill Glover doesn’t think so and he’s written a few books to prove it.
Tales of a Mad Miner, published by Cranberry Tree Press in November 2014, is a collection of experiences from 50 years of mining on four continents. Glover, 68, was born in Kirkland Lake and is still active in the industry as an independent mining engineer – currently working for Stantec on a project in Indonesia.
“You do a lot of travelling and you meet a lot of characters in the mining industry,” said Glover. “I’ve worked at 37 mines on four continents … in some pretty remote parts of the world like Clinton Creek in the Yukon, Little Cornwallis Island in the Arctic and Pickle Lake (in northwestern Ontario). “It’s a good industry as long as you’re ready to pick up and go. Miners will move across the county or around the world for a job. If you don’t, you won’t last long.”
Glover landed his first job in the mining industry at the Pater Mine near Spragge in 1963 when he was only 16, and went underground for the first time at the Coppercorp Mine in Batchewana in 1965. He worked for Inco in 1967 when the Sudbury mining giant thought nothing of hiring 50 men a day, and graduated with a mining engineering degree from Queen’s University in Kingston in 1972.
One story in Tales of a Mad Miner recounts a frightening bus ride through rebel country in Indonesia. “Snipers lurking in the jungle had already shot far too many riders along our bus route,” he writes. The bus driver wore full riot gear with bulletproof vest and a “Kevlar lining covered the entire inside perimeter of the bus.
“As we awaited the armed escort, my mind wandered back through the years working in the mines… his jungle experience definitely wasn’t my first life-threatening experience…There had been floodings, avalanches, glacier crevasses, bear encounters, swarming bugs, doomed flights, foggy boat rides, high- grading rings, threats by mob bosses, crooked mine executives, shootings, stabbings, runaway equipment, cave-ins and rockbursting.”
Tales of a Mad Miner recounts many of these stories, including one about Gord Klockars and his beer drinking Golden Lab, Brutus.
“When Gordie sat the bar, Brutus always curled up on the floor next to his bar stool.” Glover writes. “As a reward for being such a good pal, Gordie would give Brutus an occasional drink from his beer and Brutus eventually became accustomed to his daily drink of suds…
“When Gordie was working out of town, he set up a special tab at the Teck Hotel (in Kirkland Lake) for his old pal. On hot summer days while his master was away, Brutus would walk alone the three blocks to the Teck Hotel. When Brutus barked, the bartender would open the door and crack open a beer, then fill the doggie dish with suds.”
Glover’s father and grandfather worked in the Kirkland Lake mines and, after a lifetime of packing up and moving on, he and his wife Jo-Ann make their home on Lake Kenogami, 20 miles from his hometown.
They have three children, the youngest of whom continues the family tradition as chief geologist at Kirkland Lake Gold.
Tales of a Mad Miner is Glover’s third book. The 50/50 Club, published in 2011, is a collection of stories from his road trips through the U.S., and Friends of a Mad Miner, published in 2012 is a collection of 15 stories about characters he came across through the years.
Both Mad Miner books are available digitally in Kindle format from Amazon, or as hard copies from the author.
Bill’s email address is [email protected]
Tagged Bill Glover, Clinton Creek, Coppercorp Mine, Cranberry Tree Press, independent mining engineer, Kirkland Lake, Lake Kenogami, Mining, Mining Engineering, Pickle Lake, Queens University, runaway equipment, Teck Hotel