Archival Documents

The Museum’s archives are an essential source of information on Britannia’s past. In this section we are making available parts of the archives that directly support our educational programming. You will also find materials written by Museum staff on Britannia and topics related to Britannia.

Our goal is to enable teachers, students, self-learners, and researchers better access to primary resources.

For a more in depth look, this1970 Western Miner article gives a good summary of the Mine and its communities.


Safety Committee, 1923 - transcribed from original document
Britannia worked continuously to improve safety both above and below ground. This document provides a look at the measures being undertaken at the time to keep people safe.

Fatality inquest, 1951 - transcribed from original document
When a fatality occurred, an investigation into the incident was required.

Incline accident, 1939 - transcribed from original documents
In 1939, the incline train lost control and raced down the hill where it smashed into the Mill. Fortunately nobody was killed.

Influential People

Dr. A. Forbes - the Discoverer of Britannia's Copper
Dr. Forbes is credited with the discovery of copper at Britannia in 1888. The story of the discovery however includes another prospector and a buck. This document gives some background on the mineral discovery that became Britannia.

J W D Moodie - Britannia's Autocrat
In 1911 Mr. Moodie came to Britannia with one task - make the mine profitable. He succeeded. This document prepared by the Museum gives an introduction to the man that revamped Britannia into the largest copper producer in the British Empire.

Archival Newsletters

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.

1967 Newsletters (871 KB)

1968 Newsletters (866 KB)

1969 Newsletters (571 KB)

1970 Newsletters (1038 KB)

1971 Newsletters (267 KB)

Excerpts from Britannia

Britannia - Story of a Mine’ captures the essence of Britannia with stories ranging from the great tragedies to the realities of life in an isolated town. Copies of this book written by Bruce Ramsay are sold in the Gift Shop

1918 Flu Epidemic

1915 Jane Slide Disaster

Life in Britannia Beach and Mount Sheer

General Manager J W D Moodie

The 'Skip' Incline RailwaySport in the Communities

World War 2 and the Japanese Interment

Mining and Milling

Mining Techniques used at Britannia

An overview of the drilling, blasting, and rock movement methods used within the Mine.

Anaconda Company - Britannia Operations
This undated document summarizes the operations of the Mine, including its history, extraction methods, milling process, laundering (copper precipitation), Jane Basin Project, geological research and hydro power.

The Concentrating Process
This document provides an overview of how the valuable metal-bearing minerals were separated from the rock.

A detailed look at The Concentrating Process
This document prepared by Museum staff provides a more detailed look at how the valuable metal-bearing minerals were separated from the rock. 

Concentration of Britannia Ores, H A Pearse – transcribed from original document
This document from 1927 was originally published in Transactions of the Canadian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy. It provides an in-depth explanation of the mineral separation process including challenges, mill operations and mill performance.

Gold Recovery at Britannia – transcribed from original document
This document from September 1930 describes how gold was recovered as part of the Milling process.

Mill Flowchart, 1929 - transcribed from original document
Over the years, the milling process was changed several times to accommodate new technology and improve mineral recovery rates. This document provides the methods in use in 1929.

Copper Sulphate Plant - transcribed from original document
Copper sulphate was used at Britannia to aid in the recovery of sphalerite (zinc sulphide) in the flotation process in the Mill. It proved more economical to produce copper sulphate at Britannia than to ship it in. This source document from 1949 explains how copper recovered from the Mine’s waters was used to produce it.

Steel Ball Manufacture - transcribed from original document
In 1931, 2.5 pounds of steel btlls were consumed by the milling process for every tonne of ore milled. That equates to thousands of balls per day. To meet this need, the Mine produced steel balls on site out of scrap metal to reduce costs. This source document explains how scrap metal was recycled into steel balls.

Copper Laundering
Britannia had copper in its water. As Britannia was a copper mine, the Company installed a method to recover the copper from the water. This method, called copper laundering, became a significant part of Britannia’s copper production. This document, prepared by Museum staff, explains why there is copper in the water, how the Mine got it out, and what is being done today to remove the copper.