A Mine and Plant Report dated 28th July,1928 that was produced by the Malagash Salt Company Limited. This was kept in storage at Canadian Salt in Pugwash.
The Malagash salt mine is situated in the Malagash Peninsula, Cumberland County, Nova Scotia, which lies between the Northumberland Strait on the north and Tatamagouche Bay on the south. A spur line railway connects the mine with the Canadian National Railway branch line, operating between Oxford Junction and Pictou. The distance from Malagash Station to the mine is approximately seven miles. Water transportation is afforded from a small wharf and warehouse on Tatamagouche Bay, two and a half miles distant from the shaft and is reached by a spur two miles long connecting the warehouse with the Malagash Station spur.
In 1912, Peter Murray, drilling a well for water on his farm on the Malagash road, about seven miles north west of Malagash Station, encountered a strongly saline water and sent a sample of same to Doctor Frank T. Shutt, Dominion Chemist at Ottawa; Doctor Shutt reported on this sample as follows:-
"Our analysis of this water shows it to contain 28.33 % total solids, of which 28.32 % is common salt. It is in fact a very strong brine. There are present very small quantities of sulphate of lime, and possibly of allied compounds, but essentially this is a saturated or practically saturated, solution of common salt."
No action was taken with regard to this discovery until the early months of 1917, when another sample was sent to Doctor Shutt, who reported 26.65 % common salt content. At this time Doctor Shutt referred the parties interested to the Mines Branch, Department of Mines. Steps were at once taken, by the Mines Branch, to obtain another sample for the purpose of having a fuller analysis made. It was found to be strong brine.
Results of Salt Analysis completed in Ottawa in 1917 & Production Figures from 1922 to 1928.
Per Cent by Weight
Sodium Chloride 21.00
Potassium Chloride .09
Magnesium Chloride .07
Calcium Chloride .02
Calcium Sulphate .37
Iron Oxide trace
Sp. Gr. at 15.5 C 1.200
As a result of this analysis it was suggested to the owners that further exploration was desirable in order to ascertain if the parent salt bed could be located. When Mr. L. H. Cole, Mining Engineer - Mines Branch, examined the district in June, 1917, several more holes had been drilled and brine encountered in each one.
In the summer of 1917, A. B. Chambers and George MacKay of New Glasgow, NS, obtained an interest in the property, and drilled a series of holes, after which they sank a shaft in June, 1918. In this shaft, Rock Salt was encountered at a depth of eighty five feet from the face. A diamond drill hole also encountered salt at a depth of ninety four feet below the surface, down to one hundred and seventy three feet.
The property, once opened up, has been in active operation ever since, and the following production figures were supplied by Mr. Chambers, Managing Director of the Malagash Salt Company, Limited
1922 2,000 tons
1923 3,000 "
1924 4,000 "
1925 6,000 "
1926 8,000 "
1928 to July 8,000 "
THE GEOLOGY OF THE SALT DEPOSIT
The salt beds occur as steeply dipping strata on the south side of an anticline which is traced for the whole length of the Malagash Peninsula. These strata have been subjected to intense folding, minor faulting, crumpling, etc. Unlike coal seems when subjected to stress, they seem to flow rather than shatter and break off; and they alternately thin and thicken. This is well illustrated in the two hundred foot level at the bottom of the shaft, where one particularly white seam of salt is one foot in thickness; but on passing from the fault zone to an undisturbed region, the section of pure salt is from eight to ten feet thick. At certain places this bed has been worked, eleven to fifteen feet in sections.
The salt occurs in banded structure, the colour ranging from pure white to very dark grey. The bands vary greatly in size from two inches in thickness upwards. The whole salt mass is crystalline and it is probable that the variable colouring is in part due to the size of the crystal grain as well as to impurities embedded in the salt.
The skip is automatically dumped at the deck head - half of the load going to each of two grizzlies situated at each side of the shaft. The coarse lump salt passing over the grizzly goes to two steel picking belts, 30" wide by 20' long, where it is hand picked; 2 men to each belt, and a fourth taking the rejected salt to the dump. The remainder going directly to a Jeffrey 30" single roll crusher operated directly from line shaft. The salt passing through the grizzly is passed over a 5" mesh vibrating screen. The salt passing through this screen is used for hay salt or used for brine making. The salt passing over the screen is hand picked and goes direct to the mill circuit joining the salt from the Jeffrey crusher in an elevator. This is elevated to the top of the mill and is passed over two 3" mesh vibrating screens. The oversize goes to a set of Cornish Rolls, 14" x 24", and then returned to the afore mentioned elevator. The salt passing through the 3" mesh screens is passed over two 4" mesh screens. The oversize constitutes the product called "3 mesh" or "Refrigerator Salt" and is fed to an 18" trough conveyor belt which discharges at the bagging platform in the main warehouse.
The salt passing through the 4 mesh screen is passed over Rotex 26 mesh screens to remove the fines which go to the ponds for brine making. The salt passing over the Rotex goes to the 18" trough belt to bagging platform. This is 5" mesh" or "Fishing Salt"
The Company obtained a lease from the Provincial Government for ten square miles for a period of twenty years and renewable, for which they pay a royalty of fifteen cents per ton. This property extends a distance of two and a half miles each side of the mine.
The Company have acquired outright certain portions for mill workings, employees' accommodations, railway, etc.
WORKS STAFF AND LABOUR
Mine Superintendent assisted by General Foremen and two sub-foremen. At present there are a total of eighty men employed and this includes a construction gang. The process help varies according to conditions but there are about seventy men employed on production. The average cost of labour throughout is $3.25 per day for ten hours.
Scranton electric drills, capable of drilling a hole 12 ft. long by 1.75 in diameter, are used to drill the salt. The explosive used is "Special Monobel" having a probable base charge of Sodium Carbonate. The blasting is done by time fuse - the holes being made by "Davis" cutter bits.
Four drills, operating about 12 hours a day, produce about 180 tons salt per day, including development work. However, one driller on a stope could knock down about 100 tons salt per day.
Mining operations are now being carried out in six working places, two being situated on each of the 180', 230' and 280' levels. During the 24 hour period there are employed in the mine, 5 drillers, 5 helpers, 10 hand loaders for loading salt in cars, 3 tramers, 1 blaster, 1 shaft man and a foreman. The production is approximately 100 tons per day using 1 pound explosive per 1,000 pounds of salt.
The salt is loaded by hand into small cars holding 1,500 lbs., pushed by hand and dumped into a skip operating on an incline connecting 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. levels. The skip dumps automatically into a pocket above the 130' level. This pocket feeds into a 3 ton car, which is pushed by 3 men to the shaft pocket. (This operation will be carried on by electric locomotive, already on site)
The shaft man fills the main shaft skip, capacity 1.5 tons, from shaft pocket. Each hoist takes a 30 H.P. motor; there being a spare motor available for each hoist.
The present shaft is divided into 3 compartments, one of which is used for hoisting and the second available for an additional hoist. The third compartment is an air, emergency ladder, pipe line and cable route, etc. The shaft is 4' x 12' made up from tongue and groove 3" spruce boards, white lead jointed. The air compartment is separated from the hoisting compartments by l ½" tongue and groove boards. The three compartments are braced internally by 6" x 6" timber and bark filled with clay, and the entire casing supported on a concrete base ring resting right on the salt deposit. There is very little water in the shaft and none in the mine. A 2 ½ HP D.C. motor connected to a Fairbanks Typhoon duplex reciprocating pump is placed at bottom of sump and operated only one or two times a week.
The present system of ventilation is obtained by a Sturdevant exhaust fan, approximately 13,000 cu. ft. per minute, belt driven by the mill line shaft. This fan is the primary ventilator and takes care of all the workings with the exception of the forced draft booster fan connecting and placed between the 180' and 230' level. In addition to these two fans there are three portable, motor driven 5 HP blowers, used with Ventube. This latter is a canvas air flue 8" diameter and used for ventilating the working faces.
An appropriation has been obtained in which is included a figure of $3,500.00 to provide a new air shaft in order to further improve the ventilation and provide an exit from the mine in event of emergency.
The building is situated at right angles to the mill building and connected with the two product belt conveyors. The structure is 100' long x 50' wide. On each side of the warehouse there is a railroad siding with loading apperatures for loading two box cars on each side. The Fishing Salt is loaded on the north side and the refrigerator salt on the south side. The bagging platform is placed so that the bags will run by gravity through hardwood chutes to the ears.
Situated on a level with the bagging platform are two parallel tracks, one on each side, to facilitate storage of bags in the warehouse. By this arrangement the warehouse is able to be filled to track level, which is 10 feet from the floor level of the warehouse. It addition they are able to store another 4 feet high under the roof angle of the building direct from the cars. The total storage capacity of this building is approximately 2,300 tons bulk, or about 30,000 bags of 140 lbs each. The bags used are mainly 100 lb sugar bags turned inside out and stenciled.
The waste salt is dumped from a wheel barrow into one of 5 adjacent ponds, 100,000 gallons each, which are built from a clay bank lined and separated with hardwood. Salt is dumped into No. 1, the fresh water is run in and circulated by an electric driven centrifugal pump, which is placed on the south bank of the pond. The suction is connected with Pond No. 2 and is pumped over the salt in No. 1. When concentration reaches its maximum the brine flows through sluices into No, 3 and 5, which are used for settling the clear saturated brine runs into No. 4 and pumped by the circulating pump to three wooden storage tanks of about 7,000 gallons each.
WHARF LANDING & WAREHOUSE
This is situated on Tatamagouche Bay which is on the opposite side of the Malagash Peninsula to the plant. The dock and landing are owned by the Federal Government and is used as a public landing as well as being used by the salt company without cost. The storage and shipping facilities consist of a warehouse 160' long by 60' wide with sloping sides, having a capacity of about 6,000 tons bulk salt. At the end next to the R.R. spur is a bucket elevator, which delivers to a 24" trough conveyor belt running along the peak of the building by which the building can be filled from the cars. Another conveyor, 36" wide, extends the entire length of the building, through a tunnel underneath the centre of the building, thence through an inclined conveyor shed to pier head.
The Company produces the following classes of salt for the trade-
Fishing Salt Under 5-6 mesh
Refrigerator Salt Through 3 mesh
Coarse Salt Over 3 "
(selected or returned to crusher)
Hay Salt Through 10 mesh
Hide Salt Under 10 mesh
Land Bait Under 8 mesh
No. 1 Grocery Salt Under 6 mesh selected.
Sardine Salt Under 10 mesh
Chemical Salt Under 5 mesh
Heaving Salt Under 2 mesh
Highway Salt Under 8 mesh
Cattle Licks Large selected lumps
Pan Salt Refined coarse salt
Of the salt mined on a 100% basis, 75% is of good quality. Of this 75% ;
55% is recovered for fishery salt.
20% is recovered for refrigerator salt.
Mr. J. H. Gillespie has the position of Office Manager and Accountant, he handles all correspondence and orders under Mr. Chambers' direction. Orders are sent to the works 60 miles away usually by mail, but very frequent use of the telegraph and telephone is necessary. The two road men Mr. W. L. Fillmore and Mr. C. B. Christian are immediately responsible to Mr. Gillespie although look to Mr. Chambers for instructions.
Both Mr. Fillmore and Mr. Christian are provided with automobiles. The former covers the general trade while Mr. Christian concentrates on the sales of fishery salt as well as calling on the other buyers in the district he is working. The latter has had many years experience in the fish trade as a buyer for Silver & Company and appears to be thoroughly conversant with that industry.
Fishery Salt - It had been the intention of the management to sell its salt through the regular channels of distribution, but in the case of fisheries salt the low landed cost of solar salt to large importers and a natural opposition on their part to changing their source of supply made it necessary to sell direct. This may not mean selling direct to fishermen as sales are now made by Malagash to the smaller distributors, who formerly purchased from the importers. However, to obtain a great share of the business, it would be necessary to supply the fisherman who buys on credit from and sells his fish to these same importers.
Refrigerator Salt - This is largely sold direct to consumers although a small volume goes through wholesale channels. However, Verret Stewart, their largest customer, buys direct and resells in the Quebec market. With the exception of Eastern Quebec and the Gaspe Peninsula, Verret Stewart controls sales in that Province and Eastern Ontario.
Evaporated Salt (Coarse) - A certain tonnage will go to the fish trade, but the larger proportion will go to wholesalers in competition with Liverpool Salt and to a lesser extent with own Coarse Salt.
The Malagash Company does not have agents or brokers. The two salesmen can cover the three Provinces satisfactorily, and do so at a cost of approximately 10% of the average selling price of all grades. This should materially decrease as the "missionary" work becomes less.
A Mine and Plant Report dated July 28th, 1928 that was produced by the Malagash Salt Company Limited.