The colliery was opened in 1866 on the Phalen Seam in the Caledonia district of Glace Bay. The seam was reached by a two-compartment shaft 19 ft. x 11 ft. x 175 ft. deep. One compartment was used for hoisting men and material and the other for hoisting coal.
Originally the intake air shaft was located close to the hoisting shaft. This shaft, abandoned in 1947, was 10 feet in diameter and 177 feet deep. In that year a new circular concrete lined shaft 18 feet in diameter by 546 feet deep was sunk near the shore at Quarry Point 1-1/4 miles from the colliery site, to serve as an intake shaft for the colliery.
This shaft eliminated a booster fan underground, which had been in constant use since 1930.
In 1908 an additional shaft 149 feet was sunk from the shore at Big Glace Bay, to serve as a return air shaft and man shaft for the east side of the mine. This shaft was fitted with ladders and, until the colliery closed, was used as part of the return airway system.
The coal had an average thickness of 6 ft. 7 ins. and was good coking quality, but was high in sulphur and ash. The seam split in an easterly direction in the submarine portion of the area leaving a workable portion of 5 ft. 4 ins. of coal. In this area and toward the east there was a substantial increase in the ash and sulphur content of the coal, averaging 6.6 per cent sulphur and 13.8 percent ash, 12,000 ft. east of the main haulage in No. 4 Colliery.
The land area tributary to the colliery has been worked out and the entire output was submarine, the workings having reached a distance of 4-1/4 miles from the mine shaft.
Originally the method of work was room and pillar with pillar drawing in the land area. In the submarine section of the mine, pillar drawing was commenced in 1939 at 1100 feet of cover, and was discontinued in 1950 when the system of mining was changed to longwall advancing.
Prior to the change-over, pillars were drawn with some measure of success at 1650 feet, but was discontinued at 1700 feet of cover due to the crushing of the pillars which were formed on 100 foot centers with the pillar drawing following close behind the formation of the pillar.
The longwalls were cut and bored with compressed air driven coal cutters and Ingersoll-Rand drills. The coal was conveyed to the mine cars by compressed air driven shaker conveyors.
In 1956, electrically operated DOSCO miners and phython conveyors were introduced and when the mine was closed on May 31st., 1961 two of these units were still in operation.
The average output from the mine prior to closure averaged 2,500 tons per day, with a total working force of 689 men. During its life the colliery produced 28,627,961 long tons of coal and worked over an area of 6,188.8 acres.
The make of water amounted to 940 G.P.M.. This was pumped through two boreholes to the surface by two centrifugal pumps, one Sulzer and one of the Cameron type. In addition, a MacDougall plunger pump was used as a standby. These pumps were electrically driven. Owing to poor mining practice in the early life of this colliery, pillars were drawn under comparatively light cover in the land area. The bulk of the water pumped came from these cave-ins. The make was highly acidulous and in order to reduce the acidity of the water pumped, the water from the abandoned No. 3 Colliery was allowed to enter No. 4 Colliery main lodgment at No. 10. This reduced the acidity to a Ph. of 6, whereas the make of water in the mine had a Ph. of 2.1.
The bankhead was a steel structure with a floor space of 11,000 square feet. The screens were of the fixed bar and shaking perforated plate types, with which it is possible to make slack, nut, screen coal or run-of-mine. The capacity of this plant was 200 tons per hour.
The motive power of the colliery was originally steam. However, in 1953 the plant was completely electrified and steam supplied by 2 - 100 H.P. stoker fired Matheson boilers, was used for plant heating only.
The mine was ventilated by propeller type 8 ft. diameter Axivane fan with a rated capacity of 300,000 c.f.m. against a 12.6 inch water gauge. Prior to the closure of the mine, the fan was delivering an average of 120,000 c.f.m. against a water gauge of 13.2 inches.
The haulage system was an endless rope 4-3/4 miles long, originally driven from the surface by a steam driven engine. In 1950 the haulage system was electrified and divided into two units, the lower unit delivering the mine cars to a transfer point on the haulage 1-3/4 miles from the shaft. Subsidiary haulages were of the main and tail type driven by electrically operated engines.
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Last Modified: 98-01-05
Authored by: Louis Frost
The information contained on this site is not provided for the purpose of factual
representation. Instead, it is provided in an historical context. Every effort has
been made to ensure that this information represents the actual content of the
original document authored by Louis Frost for the Dominion Coal Company
on or around 1962. Nevertheless, no warranties are provided in any respect.
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