Find resources to research people who worked in the mining industry.
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Before you start
Gather information such as:
- the person’s name
- the approximate year and place of birth
- the name of the mine where the person worked
- the approximate years of employment
Places to look
Library and Archives Canada (LAC) holds the records of some mining companies.
1. Cape Breton Development Corporation (CBDC)
CBDC (also known as DEVCO) was a Government of Canada Crown corporation. The company’s records include predecessor companies in Nova Scotia, such as the Acadia Coal Company, Dominion Coal Company, Cumberland Railway and Coal Company, and Nova Scotia Steel and Coal Company (Accession R12281).
This accession includes employment cards from 1893 to 1967. The “cards” are actually files containing various documents. They give details such as name, date and place of birth, company, occupation, years worked, and more. The cards are arranged in alphabetical order in these boxes:
- Surnames A to McIv* in R12281, Accession 2014-01424-8, boxes 1 to 139
- Surnames McK* to Z in R12281, Accession 2014-01939-8, boxes 1 to 44
Restrictions apply, so you must submit a request for documents through our ATIP tool.
On the ATIP request, explain that you are looking for information from the following archival records. Include the reference and details about the person. Here is an example of what to put in your request:
- CBDC alphabetical employment cards, R12281, Accession 2014-01424-8
- Thomas Burnside, born June 16, 1899, worked at Glace Bay approximately 1920 to 1930
2. Wright-Hargreaves Mines Limited
The Wright-Hargreaves Mine was a gold mine in Kirkland Lake, Ontario, that operated from 1921 to 1964. This fond includes:
- Employment record cards, 1921 to 1946 (R16083, volumes 1 and 2)
- Payroll records, 1934 to 1937 (R16083, volumes 3 to 6)
The records are open without access restrictions. There is no name index to those volumes.
3. Buffalo Ankerite Gold Mines Limited
This company operated mines in Ontario. The fonds includes employment cards from 1925 to 1952 (MG28-III-81, volumes 25 to 31). There are three alphabetical series of cards. Consult the Buffalo Ankerite finding aid to find the right volume number. The records are open without access restrictions.
If you are interested in exploring other records in this fonds, see the Buffalo Ankerite record description. Click on Scope and content and on the lower-level descriptions.
4. Lake Shore Gold Mines Limited
This fonds contains documents related to employees at Lake Shore Gold Mines in Kirkland Lake, Ontario, from 1925 to 1968 (R16074-1-X-E). The Lake Shore record description explains what types of documents are included. Click on Scope and content and the lower-level descriptions. See also the section called Conditions of access. Use the employee files to find the relevant volume and file numbers for the alphabetical employee files series.
5. Published sources
Some communities, associations and unions publish works about miners. They may also publish books in remembrance of those who lost their lives in the mines. Search our Aurora catalogue, using keywords like:
- Miners biographies [and place or name of mine]
- History and [name of mine]
Access the records
For collections that do not have access restrictions, you will need to see them in person. If you cannot visit us, you can hire a researcher.
For collections with access restrictions, please see Access to information and privacy (ATIP).
Census records indicate a person’s occupation. Some census years may include the name of the company or mine.
City directories list adult residents alphabetically and indicate occupation and address. Some digitized city directories are available at LAC in the Canadian Directories Collection.
If you do not know the name of the mine where the person worked, you might find that information in the 1940 National Registration records. Read our blog to find out more about these Statistics Canada records.