Silver Islet, Canada - 1911

The Silver Islet mines

Silver was discovered on this tiny Island in 1868, and quickly a small community was created. Partly on the Island, and partly on Lake Superiors nearby shore.

The original owner of the mine, “Montreal Mining Company” sold it already two years later, and the new owner Alexander Sibley, of the “Silver Islet Mining Company” took over operations in 1870.
Alexander’s investment turned out to be a very good one, as the mine ended up as one of the most successful silver mines in the word.

The mineshafts from this tiny island, were up to 384 metres deep, far under lake Superiors water.

It’s location meant that supplies had to be transported by ship in the summer, and dog sled in winter, when Lake Superior froze to solid Ice.

A second vein was discovered in 1878, but by 1883 the best silver had been mined, and extracting silver ore from the mine got more and more expensive.

Unfortunately one ship with a large load of coal, that should power the steam engine for the pumps did not arrive as planned, and when the pumps stopped in early 1884, the mineshafts were flooded.
This ended up being the final blow to the mining adventure on Silver Islet.

Silver Islet Mining Company’s super intendant “W. B. Frue” used two years inventing a type of machine called a “Frue Vanner”, that could sort silver from low grade ore. The first of these Vanners was installed and operated at the Silver Islet Mine.

Peter Elliots documentary film about the mines can be seen here:

Silver Islet, Canada - 1911
Silver Islet, Canada – 1911

If you have more information about Silver Islet and its mine, please leave a comment below.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *