Stephen B. Roman (1921 – 1988) – 1989 Candian Mining Hall of Fame Inductee

The Canadian Mining Hall of Fame was conceived by the late Maurice R. Brown, former editor and publisher of The Northern Miner, as a way to recognize and honour the legendary mine finders and builders of a great Canadian industry. The Hall was established in 1988. For more information about the extraordinary individuals who have been inducted into the Hall of Fame, please go to their home website: http://mininghalloffame.ca/
 
It was not for nothing that The Northern Miner, the weekly journal of Canada’s mining industry, in 1977 chose Stephen B. Roman as its first Mining Man of the Year.

He received the title, the newspaper said at the time, “because Stephen Roman has graphically shown that Canadian money and expertise can compete very successfully with anyone in the world.”
At that time, he had engineered, through his already big and fast-growing company, Denison Mines, the largest-ever uranium sales by a uranium producer.

A Slovakian immigrant who began his working life in Canada as a tomato picker. Roman subsequently took control of a penny mining stock in 1953, and from this built Denison into one of the country’s largest mining and resource empires, rising from the foundation of the company’s sprawling uranium mines at Elliot Lake, Ontario.

That globe-spanning empire now includes, in addition to its uranium interests, coal mining in British Columbia, potash mining in New Brunswick, and oil and gas production in Greece, Egypt, Spain, Italy and Western Canada.

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Elliot Lake Uranium Mining History – Our Wild Atomic City – by Alan Phillips (Originally Published in Maclean’s Magazine – May 25, 1957)

Denison Mine was the largest uranium deposit in Elliot Lake, Ontario.

Here’s a Graphic Picture of Ontario’s Elliot Lake

A billion-dollar order for uranium
A $300-million spending spree to fill it
A lawless horde of transients
A Communist struggle to control mine workers
A serious outbreak of disease

Just off the Trans-Canada Highway skirting Lake Huron’s north shore, a buried vein of ore snakes north through the Algoma Basin in the shape of an upside-down S. It curves for ninety miles beneath the pineclad granite knolls, a mother lode that is spawning eleven giant uranium mines in the greatest eruption of growth since gold gave birth to Dawson City.

The hub of these mines is a chaotic city-to-be called Elliot Lake. Twenty-two months ago it was just a stand of timber dividing two lakes, so wild that a bulldozer leveling brush ran over a large black bear. Today it’s a prime example of a boom town, familiar symbol of dynamic growth – and trouble.

For a couple of months this spring Elliot Lake made headlines that had nothing to do with uranium. An outbreak of jaundice packed ninety victims into nearby Blind River’s 59-bed hospital. About three hundred cases were reported before the disease began to wane early last month. Provincial health officials insisted that the outbreak did not rate as an epidemic while union officials were demanding the mines shut down until the sewage system was improved.

Infectious disease is an age-old bugbear of the boom town, which has its other ageless features. It is the nation in miniature with its time span speeded up as in a silent movie.

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Excerpt from Michael Barnes New Book – More Than Free Gold: Mineral Exploration in Canada Since World War II

Pronto Mine, Rio Algom - Elliot Lake 1958The World Wants Yellowcake (Uranium)

Among some people uranium gets a bad rap due to its use as the explosive material for atomic weapons and yet these folks tend to forget that it has most beneficial uses for mankind, principally as the fuel for nuclear reactors which deliver about 15% of the country’s electricity. Canada is currently the largest producer of uranium in the world, although Australia has the larger proportion of the world’s known deposits. In 2006 of the seventeen countries that mined the element, Canada produced 28%, followed by Australia with 23%. The term ‘yellowcake’ was originally given to uranium concentrate, although the colour and texture today can range from anything through dull yellow to almost black.

Early interest in uranium in Canada took a back seat to the work of Gilbert and Charles LaBine who discovered radium at Great Bear Lake in the Northwest Territories in 1930.

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