The mine near Timmins, Ontario has been a fixture on the Canadian mining scene for over a century. At the end of December miners there will work their last shift
The Hocevar family has worked at the Dome mine in the famous Timmins-Porcupine gold camp for nearly 70 years. Joseph joined up after emigrating from Slovenia in 1949, working as an underground miner, and was followed by his sons Edward, a maintenance supervisor, in 1981 and Bill, a mining engineer, in 1984. Edward will be the last Hocevar to work at Dome, which will close its doors and tunnels on Dec. 31.
The Hocevars are just one of many mining families that have long and deep ties to Dome. “There are families that have had multiple generations working at the mine from when it first opened,” said Bill Hocevar, who left Dome in 1992 and is now a business development superintendent at Glencore’s Sudbury Integrated Nickel Operations.
“It’s quite different from most places, where sometimes you see the discovery, development, mining and closure all within one generation. “Dome is one of the exceptions. It had longevity.”
Dome was opened in 1910 and, but for a hiatus in the 2000s, has been mined continuously since. It is 107 years old – making it one of Canada’s longest operating gold mines. It produced an impressive 73 million tonnes of ore and 15 million ounces of gold in its lifespan. Its discovery and the two following ones that led to the Hollinger and McIntyre mines were the pillar operations that built the Timmins area.
But on New Year’s Eve, operations will come to an end at the underground mine. Goldcorp announced the decision in August, after extending Dome’s life by 18 months in July 2016.
“It’s always tough to know when to close a mine. However, in this case, we’ve made many attempts to keep it going. It just doesn’t make financial sense anymore,” Marc Lauzier, the mine’s general manager at Goldcorp’s Porcupine Gold Mines (PGM), told CIM Magazine. “We’ve been struggling to keep the mine going since roughly 2000. After 100 years of mining, we’re scraping to mine the remnant pillars and the remnant couple of areas that haven’t been mined out.”