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Rock Bolt Mine

Located in the copper-rich Lake Superior Mid Continental Rift are the remains of the Rock Bolt Mine. The site, which hasn't been used since the mid 1970's, is rather extensive, featuring the ruins of the processing site, an extensive tailings pond, several horizontal adits, at least one uncapped shaft, and several capped shafts. It's also not particularly easy to even get to the site, however; the trip requires some serious off-roading to reach it, and impassable washouts are not unheard of.

Location attributes for Rock Bolt Mine
Ontario, Canada
Built :: Closed   Status   Difficulty
1965 :: 1972   Abandoned   ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Hazards Risk   Security Risk   AUE Rating
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆   ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆   ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Hazard Observations   Security Observations
Explosives, Large Drops, Loose Rocks   None Specified

The site was first discovered in 1959 after a local prospector staked his claim, having found copper at the site. It eventually expanded to feature 135 individual claims, and a corporation was formed to begin production. The production facilities were located on top of a hill overlooking the nearby lake, at an elevation of 1800 feet above sea level, and featured a full-sized head frame, a working camp for 40 men, a crusher, milling facilities, offices, and shops. This was no small production site, although that was obvious after exploring the area and discovering the numerous shafts. We never did make it over to the horizontal adits; we simply ran out of time. Something for a future trip.

Continuing down the road to the GPS coordinates we had, we stumbled across the extensive tailings pond, at this point consisting of white and orange sand, with small creeks running along the north and south flanks. We had hit a jackpot.

I was the first of our group to find the production site ruins, as the others were still in the woods looking for adits and shafts. It was like walking out to a war zone. Collapsed, rusted buildings abound, surrounded by burned timbers and concrete foundations. Not knowing anything about the Rock Bolt site prior to the visit, I was in awe at the size of the site. My previous mining experiences had been at locations such as Tourist Mine, which were much, much smaller in comparison.

While we didn't get into the mines proper at Rock Bolt (the closest we got was to a plateau just inside the surface-breaking stope we did find (with a roof held up by hundreds of rock bolts, leading to the name of the mine), at which point loose quartz stopped us as it would have sent us straight down if it shifted), it was still an awesome location. And having seen photos from the horizontal adits as well as the stope we found, I know I'll be returning in the near future for a second attempt.

Outback - August 2014
Rock Bolts... Rock Bolts Everywhere... - June 2015
"Is That... Dynamite?" - August 2018
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