Chapter 13: Mining and Oil Extraction
Most hard rock mining in Manitoba takes place in the north, giving rise to mining towns, some of which (with their associated mines) are shown in Chapter 11: Northern Settlements. Some bedrock is/was exploited in quarries in the south (at Stonewall and Garson). However, “aggregate resources”—mainly gravel and sand—are distributed throughout the province. “The extensive natural deposits of sand and gravel throughout Manitoba are generally related to processes associated with the deglaciation of Manitoba at the end of the last Ice Age…. During deglaciation, sand and gravel accumulated in moraines, eskers, delta complexes, and beach deposits, and along meltwater channels.”[i] For example, the Birds Hill esker-delta complex (figure 3.64) northeast of Winnipeg is the main source of sand and gravel for the city. Oil extraction, confined to the southwest, is detected by surface indicators—pumpheads (grass hoppers), storage tanks, and pipelines. Examples of some of the locations are shown in the following figures.
13.4: Sand/Gravel Pits in the Assiniboine Valley
On this photo of the extreme west of
A large pit (light-toned) 4 is located on the north side of a west bank tributary of the
Other features to note on this photo are a) the meandering Assiniboine River with clearly defined scroll bars 11 and cutoffs 12; b) the west wall of the spillway, heavily wooded 13, with the drier east wall mainly grass-covered 14 with occasional patches of trees 15; c) a road out of the Assiniboine Valley (PR 579) with a hairpin bend 16—unusual in southern Manitoba; d) the Manitoba/Saskatchewan border near the western edge of the photo marked by a dashed line, but there is no ground expression of its existence; and e) a small cluster of buildings 17, all that remains of Millwood. In the past Millwood had a sawmill, a gristmill, and an elevator with 40,000-bushel capacity: “Farmers from as far away as 80 km [50 miles] hauled their grain to the flour mill.”[i] Another local industry was ice cut from the river and used in iceboxes before refrigerators became the norm. “In 1915, 600 railway cars were loaded with ice shortly after though the company’s [Arctic Ice Company of
Figure 13.4: Sand/Gravel Pits in the Assiniboine Valley
Vertical air photograph: A15532-53
Flight height: 20,000 feet; lens focal length: 6 inches
Scale: 1:35,200 (approx.)
Date: October 9, 1956
Location: Township 19 and 20; Ranges 29 and 30WI
Map sheets: 1:250,000 62K Riding Mountain
1:50,000 62K/11 Binscarth
[i] Mulligan, H. and Ryder, W. Ghost Towns of
[ii] Mulligan, H. and Ryder, W. op. cit. 1985, 97.