Virtual Museum of Canada
Click to view a flowchart of the mill process
Click to view blueprints of the mill building

The Building of the Mill

When Mill #2 burned to the ground in 1921, the Company was eager to rebuild. Without a mill to process ore the Company could not make money.

The foundations of the Mill.
The foundations of the Mill.
1922. BCMM# 13501
The start of construction on Mill #3 was more difficult than the Company expected. The schist bedrock, upon which the foundations were to be built, broke badly and much more rock had to be removed than was initially anticipated. The clearing process started almost immediately after the previous mill was destroyed and continued until March 1922. In April 1922, the Company started pouring the concrete foundations and the actual construction of the building began in July of that year. The structural frame contains1426 tonnes of steel (equivalent to the steel in nine jumbo jets) and the outside walls are 24 gauge corrugated galvanized iron covered with two coats of paint.

Upon its completion on January 26, 1923, the Mill was one of the most impressive gravity fed mills in North America. In this type of mill, the ore moves through the building by the use of gravity. The ore goes in at the top and the separated concentrate comes out the bottom. Using this method, the building did not need a complicated conveyor system.

The Mill is approximately 20 stories in height. It measures 270 feet high and 209 feet across, with a total volume of 3,027,000 cubic feet. Sunlight streams in through nearly 1200 windows containing 18,792 panes, equivalent to 22,300 square feet of glass.

At the time, the total cost of the building was $953,484.59, which included all construction materials and the machines inside. That amount would be over 250 million in today’s dollars. The Mill was an engineering feat for its time, and mining and construction engineers from all over the world came to study it.

The Mill from the west side
Playing baseball in front
of the Mill foundations.
1922. BCMM# 13503

The Mill from the west side
The Mill under construction.
1922. BCMM# 13505l
BCMM  12808. Conveyor Belt. c. 1974. BCMM 12994. Ice cover inside the Mill. 1968 BCMM: 2709. An unidentified man sits on a ball mill in Mill #3. c. 1930 BCMM: 2708. An unidentified man stands on machines in Mill #3. c. 1930 BCMM :13498. The construction of Mill #3. 1922 BCMM: 2766. An unidentified man stands on the trestle at the top of Mill# 3. c. 1930 BCMM: 13497.  The construction of Mill #3 showing the skip. 1922 BCMM : 13492.  The construction of Mill :3.  1922