Not surprisingly, an inspiring visit to this National Historic site leads to greater interest in the Mine and its legendary past.
Dig further into the Mine's history.
A to Z BRITANNIA
Ore discovered - 1888
Years of operation - 1904 to 1974
Number of employees and residents - over 60,000
Number of countries of origin of employees - 50
Main mining communities - Britannia Beach (processing and shipping operations) and Mount Sheer (mining operations)
Mining camps - 9: Victoria, Empress, Beta, Barbara, Jane, Incline, Daisy (Goldsmith), Seaview, Seymour
Owners - Howe Sound Company and subsidiary Britannia Mining & Smelting Company (1904 - 1963), Anaconda Copper Company (1963 - 1974)
Ore extracted - over 50 million tons
Ore present - metal sulphides: pyrite, chalcopyrite, sphalerite, galena; gold and silver
Metal produced - copper (650,000 tons), zinc (137,000 tons), lead (17,000 tons), cadmium (500 tons), silver (188 tons), gold (15.6 tons/500,000 ounces)
Underground workings - 210km tunnels (longest 16km), over 1750 metres of vertical distance to a depth of around 650 metres below sea level
Peak production - Mill processing 7000 tons of ore per day; largest copper mine in British Commonwealth (late 1920's/early 1930's)
Extraction rates - 90% to 95%
Mill operations - Mill 1: 1905 - 1914, Mill 2: 1914 - 1921, Mill 3: 1923 - 1974
Fatalities - estimated 178 underground fatalities in 70 years
Disasters - Jane Slide (1915, 56 deaths); Britannia Beach flood (1921, 37 deaths); Mill 2 fire (1921, 0 deaths)
In its seventy-year life, the Britannia Mine had a fascinating history. With over 60,000 people living and working here, you can imagine that there are a few stories to tell! There was pioneering work on ore extraction technologies - peak production rates making it the then biggest copper mine in the British Empire, dictatorial and benevolent managers, fire, floods, a tragic rock slide and much more.
There's too much 'story' to tell it all here.
But have a look at our A to Z of Britannia (9 page PDF) to get a sense of what Britannia was all about.
Over the years, the Mine had several newspapers and newsletters for the community. Several have been transcribed here. They provide a unique insight into the events and people that made Britannia home in the 1970s.