David K. Joyce Minerals

Recent Activities -Craigmont Corundum Mine

This fall, I visited the old Mine at Craigmont, Ontario, with my collecting partner Raymond McDougall, in an attempt to collect curundum crystals. Hopefully, we'd find a good spot on the old dumps and find a nice corundum crystal for our collections and maybe a few extras.
The Craigmont location was once a bustling mining town with a large corundum mining operation. It was the "largest corundum mine in the British Commonwealth" whatever that means! This from Wikipedia: "In 1876, the mountain was discovered as a source for Corundum. In 1900, mining operations began by the Canada Corundum Company. A settlement, consisting of both a company town and a private town, grew to a peak population of 600 persons, making it the world's largest Corundum producer at that time. But in 1913, a fire destroyed the mill, resulting in job loss and a gradual decline. By 1921, Craigmont was a ghost town." And so it remains. There is very little near the site except for some old foundations and rock dumps and workings at the site, itself.
The view from up on the old dumps is impressive and hard to beat on a sunny, cool fall day. We found LOTS of broken corundum crystals but very few whole ones. It was a great day nonetheless!

 

Recent Activities -Craigmont Corundum Mine

There are foundations of the old mine and process plant buildings at the bottom of the hill -some fairly substantial.

Recent Activities -Craigmont Corundum Mine

When we started out at the bottom of the hill, we noted lots of place where people have been digging over the years. There are lots of waste rock dumps to check out.

Recent Activities -Craigmont Corundum Mine

The bush is pretty thick on the hillside around the workings now. You can just see Ray through the trees. I expect it would be impossible in the summer! It is hunting season so bright orange vests are very necessary.

Recent Activities -Craigmont Corundum Mine

Nice view from up on the higher dumps and workings.

Recent Activities -Craigmont Corundum Mine

The main mineral of interest at the mine is corundum, which is frozen in the syenite. On occasion, open vugs containing muscovite and feldspar crystals are encountered. I was hoping to find something more exotic in these cavities but no luck.

Recent Activities -Craigmont Corundum Mine

Here is Ray digging away in one of the rock piles.

Recent Activities -Craigmont Corundum Mine

What do you know! There was a good radio signal for Balackberry use up there! Ray takes a "Blackberry break".

Recent Activities -Craigmont Corundum Mine

The old mine pits are accessible. Some are dry but some of the bigger ones are water-filled like this. This WAS a hillside 100 or so years ago and this volume of rock was blasted out to get the corundum bearing rock.

Recent Activities -Craigmont Corundum Mine

Sure is a nice view from up there!

Recent Activities -Craigmont Corundum Mine

Another nice view from one of the Rock dumps.

Recent Activities -Craigmont Corundum Mine

Believe it or not, this was once a roadway between two rock dumps. Look carefully and you can see the rocks carefully piled to maintain the right of way.

Recent Activities -Craigmont Corundum Mine

I like my afternoon nap during mineral collecting trips and usually find a comfy spot in the rocks somewhere. (Photo by Ray!)