1999.318.130 | Unloading waste rock, near Thetford Mines, QC, about 1920

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Unloading waste rock, near Thetford Mines, QC, about 1920
About 1920, 20th century
Silver salts on paper
13.6 x 9.4 cm
Gift of Mr. Alfred Penhale Estate
This artefact belongs to :© Musée minéralogique et minier de Thetford Mines
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Keys to History

The cityscape in the asbestos region is characterized by spoil heaps, or dumps, as they are commonly known. As their name suggests, these heaps were formed by mine waste dumped there over the years.

As mining progressed and the pits became deep craters, the dumps became mountains. Miners' work thus had a direct impact on their own environment.

  • What

    A steam locomotive is seen hauling tip cars to empty spoil onto a dump. Dust over the city! But this dust is not really dangerous as it contains practically no asbestos fibres.

  • Where

    This is the King mine dump.

  • When

    In the 1890s, tip cars pulled by steam locomotives were introduced. This was the main means of transportation up until the 1940s. After that, trains were gradually replaced by trucks. This photo was taken on June 26, 1937.

  • Who

    If faith can move mountains, the mining companies must have had plenty of it: they continuously built up huge hills, dumping 90% of what they wrenched from the bowels of the earth every day.