February 26, 1937


Item agreed to. DEPARTMENT OF MINES AND RESOURCES Mines and Geology- For investigation of mineral resources and deposits; of the mining and metallurgical industries, and of mineral technology; wages, expenses of testing and research laboratories; for publications, English and French, for purchase of books and instruments; for miscellaneous assistance and contingencies; and for investigations by the dominion fuel board, including salaries and all other expenses, $273,000.


CON

John Ritchie MacNicol

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MacNICOL:

I should like the minister to tell us, if he can, something about the development of the chromium mine at Collins, Ontario. When I was in the north last summer,

I ascertained that about eighty men or more were working there and that the raw product was shipped to Sault Ste. Marie. At Sault Ste. Marie I went to see the smelting of the chromium. When I was there, the plant making the ferro-chromium for the Algoma Steel works was not running at full capacity, and the reason they gave was that the ore could not be brought out from Collins because of the condition of the roads. It appears that the mine is about twenty miles from the Canadian National railway, and as this is a new industry in northern Ontario which, if developed adequately, would give employment to a large number of men and would render very great assistance to steel plants both in Sault Ste. Marie and throughout the country, I should like to know what is being done. This is a new industry in that part of Ontario. The government sent a number of geologists throughout the country to try to find mines, but having found them they said, in effect, " Now, go to it and see what you can do." I think there should be some branch of the department to follow up these matters further. In this case apparently it is a question of roads, and I should iiice to

see the department take whatever means may be available in order to induce the appropriate authority having charge of the construction of roads to get busy and see that the road is kept open so that the operation of the mine will not be interfered with. I should like to hear from the minister as to the prospects of the chromium mine of Collins, Ontario, becoming more completely developed for the benefit of the steel industry of Canada.

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LIB

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Hon. T. A. CRERAR (Minister of Mines and Resources):

This chromium mine, which, as my hon. friend has stated, is located in the Port Arthur district is, as I recall it, some eighteen or twenty miles from the National Transcontinental railway. The ore is taken to the railway by motor transport and then shipped to Sault Ste. Marie, where it is smelted. Some assistance was given in the building or improvement of the road from the mine to the railway last summer.

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CON
LIB

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. CRERAR:

Yes, out of the vote passed a year ago for aid to roads to mining areas. I am afraid I have not information as to the actual amount of money spent last year in this connection, but I would say for the information of the hon. member that expenditures were made in cooperation with the provinces. The federal Department of Mines put up two dollars for each dollar advanced by the provinces.

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CON

John Ritchie MacNicol

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MacNICOL:

Does the minister mean two dollars a ton?

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LIB

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. CRERAR:

No, not two dollars a ton. For each two dollars we put up, the province puts up one dollar for the improvements of the roads. The projects were agreed upon after consultation between the mines branch at Ottawa and the mines departments in each of the provinces. The latest information I have is that progress is being made by the company and that they are enlarging not only the capacity of their mine, so far as the production of ore is concerned, but also the capacity of the smelter at Sault Ste. Marie.

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CON

John Ritchie MacNicol

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MacNICOL:

Does one company operate both mine and smelter?

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LIB
CON

John Ritchie MacNicol

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MacNICOL:

My information is that there is a great opportunity there at the present time. The Ford Motor Company, I am told, are considering taking the full output of the mine, which would involve the full output of the smelter at Sault Ste. Marie. However, the steel company at Sault Ste. Marie can utilize a quantity of the material, and anything that can be done to increase

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the production of chromium in the area would be a great benefit not only to employment at that point but also to the motor industry in Canada. The plant at Sault Ste. Marie is not small; in fact it is very substantial. I talked with the heads of the company, and they struck me as being men who understood their business. Any assistance the department could give would be of great advantage to the country and an evidence of good work by the Department of Mines.

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LIB

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. CRERAR:

I agree with the observations of the hon. member. I find that last year $20,000 was spent on the road from the mine to the railway. As I said a minute ago, two-thirds of that amount was put up by the federal Department of Mines, and one-third by the provincial governments. May I say for the information of the committee that this development was commenced only a few years ago. From information we have there can be no doubt that there is a very considerable body of chrome ore in the area, and the value of chromium as a medium for the hardening of steel is recognized everywhere. I have not had an opportunity recently of talking to people engaged in the enterprise, but about a year ago I did have an interview with them. They called to see me in Ottawa and they were optimistic at that time as to the future prospects of their development, and asked for some assistance in fixing up their road. That assistance was given to them. So far as I am able to learn, they are expanding their operations.

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CON

John Ritchie MacNicol

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MacNICOL:

I believe it was either July or early August that I was there. Was the road fixed after that, because at that time I was informed it was not in good condition?

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LIB

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. CRERAR:

Yes, it was after that. As the hon. member will recall, last year we did not get the estimate through until about the end of June, and arrangements had to be made after that. I should think it would have been August or September when the expenditure was made.

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CON

John Ritchie MacNicol

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MacNICOL:

Does the department know if the process in use at Sault Ste. Marie is giving all the satisfaction that was hoped?

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LIB

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. CRERAR:

So far as we are aware, they are operating successfully and have developed a process which is working out successfully.

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CON

John Ritchie MacNicol

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MacNICOL:

I thank the minister for his information.

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LIB

David James Hartigan

Liberal

Mr. HARTIGAN:

As a result of the treatment of coal in the last thirty years, in a

great many of our Canadian fuels we have about one-half of one per cent sulphur content. So far as I can remember, the method of removing the sulphur has never been improved upon. When I was a boy the coal was washed, and as much as possible of the sulphur was taken out of it. However, there was always a trace left. Would the minister consider allocating to the fuel board an amount of money sufficient to ascertain whether, by combinations or by chemical affinity, the last trace of sulphur could not be neutralized. I have made diligent inquiry, and I have been unable to find where any effort has been made to improve upon the old washing method. I am not speaking critically, and am only offering suggestions, but it is my belief that after we have had a research department for a number of years, and after we have expended so much money, the time has arrived when the people of Canada are entitled to have definite research work carried out. I make these observations only as suggestions. Perhaps by the coal being treated with hydrogen, the sulphur could be made to combine with the other elements, and in that way the difficulty might be removed. It is incumbent upon the research department of the fuel board to take the matter into consideration, in an effort to give coal absolutely free of sulphur to the people of Canada. At the present time the sulphur content is only a small fraction, but even that amount has a deleterious effect.

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LIB

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. CRERAR:

The point raised by the hon. member is an important one. However, I think he is under a misapprehension when he says nothing has been done. I am informed that tests are being carried on at the fuel testing laboratory which operates in conjunction with the mines and geology branch of the department. The hon. member has referred to a matter of research. I may inform him, however, that experimental work is being carried on, and the matter to which he drew attention is being studied. Of necessity we must operate the Laboratory within the limits of the vote given by parliament, but I can assure him the work is being carried on.

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LIB
LIB

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. CRERAR:

I am informed progress has been made. Apparently there are two classes of sulphur

and I must confess I am not altogether familiar with the subject. Perhaps the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Mackenzie could give a better answer. I may say, however, that there are minerals containing sulphides, and on the other hand there are organic sulphurs. Experiments have been

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carried on with greater success with the first than with the second kind. The difficulties to which the hon. member has referred are found in the latter, namely the organic sulphurs in coal. However, we are doing our best to eliminate the difficulty.

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February 26, 1937