Rantings of a Mad Miner completes Glover trilogy
Stories gleaned from 50 plus years in industry
Mining engineer Bill Glover has completed the third installment of his Mad Miner trilogy. Like the first two books in the series, Rantings of a Mad Miner is a collection of stories gleaned from 50 plus years in the industry.
In the chapter, Mushed Away, he tells the story about his grandmother finding a gold nugget while gutting a turkey in her kitchen in Timmins. His grandfather, a pharmacist, consulted Sandy McIntyre, discoverer of the McIntyre Gold Mine, who identified it as placer gold and offered to check it out with some farmers in the area who raised turkeys.
“As Sandy and Old Bill chatted away (at the Empire Hotel), they were oblivious to several regulars sitting at he next table…” Glover writes. “That golden turkey rumour started a staking rush in Timmins, and within days, the eavesdroppers had staked claims around every farm within 20 miles of Timmins.”
It turned out that the turkey was supplied by an abattoir in Northern Manitoba where placer mining was taking place.
In the chapter, Granduc Graveyard, he tells the story about a grizzly sauntering into a mechanic’s shop at the Granduc Mine in northern British Columbia.
“There were several portals out the side of the mountain… used for ventilating the mine and dumping waste rock,” he writes. “One night on the graveyard shift in late August 1974, a big male grizzly visited the 3400 portal pad hunting for food. Just inside the portal was a four-bay underground garage… One of the mechanics spotted the grizzly and let out a blood-curdling yell… The bear ran out the portal as the mechanics gum-booted down to the 2600 main shop.”
Raw steaks and explosives figure in the finale. To ensure a bear-free environment going forward, “a steel, bear-proof barricade similar to a jail cell door was installed at the portal entrance…”
Other stories are about Glover’s experiences at the Clinton Mine, 400 miles north of Whitehorse, the Thierry Mine in Pickle Lake, the Madsen Mine in Red Lake, DeBeers’ Gatcho Kué Mine in the Northwest Territories, the Polaris Mine on Little Cornwallis Island, 700 miles north of the Arctic Circle and adventures in Argentina, Guyana and China.
Rantings of a Mad Miner also includes a chapter called Mine Carnage, a sobering and emotional recapitulation of mining fatalities beginning with the 1928 Hollinger fire that killed 39 miners in Timmins and goes on to tally the deaths of Jason Chenier and Jordan Fram at Stobie Mine in 2011 and the death of St. Andrew’s Goldfields miner Alexie Dallaire-Vincent in 2015.
Hired by Cementation as a shaft sinking project manager at the Nickel Rim project, Glover decided on the use of “shock tactics” during bi-weekly safety orientation talks to new recruits. “I talked about dead miners with a message from the grave…” Glover writes, acknowledging he was breaking the miner’s code of silence. “Every rule, regulation and safety practice is written in blood. Either work safely or push up daisies like these miners lost in the hole,” he told them.
The tactic must have worked because 150 Cementation shaft miners sank two 5,000-foot shafts at Nickel Rim without a single lost time accident.
The chapter was “a little too much reality for some people, but many former mining buddies got a hold of me and were pretty emotional about it because they knew some of the people I wrote about,” said Glover. “I probably wouldn’t have written some of these stories as a young man because I would have been blackballed from the industry.”
Rantings of a Mad Miner, as well as the first two books in the trilogy, were published by Cranberry Tree Press and are available digitally in Kindle format and as hard copy from Amazon, or directly from the author at [email protected]
Glover, 70, is semi-retired and lives with his wife Jo-Ann on Lake Kenogami, 15 kilometres east of Kirkland Lake.