Yellowknife: A landmark of Yellowknife’s 70 years of gold mining heritage disappeared at 5 PM Saturday afternoon, when the 25-storey high (76 meter) Robertson Headframe shuddered and toppled in a controlled explosive demolition. The steel tower (the tallest building in the NWT) was one of the last structures to be removed from the Con Mine, opened in 1938 by Consolidated Mining and Smelting Ltd. (later Cominco). The Con stopped mining in 2003 after a prolific 65 year history that yielded five million ounces of gold. The property changed hands several times, finally to Miramar Mining, which has been remediating the site for the past decade.
On top of the headframe, a huge electric hoist operated the skips and cages (elevators) that carried miners and gold ore to and from various levels of underground workings, as deep as 1,800 metres.
Hundreds of Yellowknifers watched the event on a chill late autumn day. Its demise was mourned by many as the head frame had been a mining heritage symbol and a prominent landmark since it was built in 1977. Several campaigns to save the black-white-and-red monolith came and went, but company and government officials were not able to overcome concerns about liability and the cost of maintaining it.