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The Mine & Town Of Port Radium
In August 1900 the Geological Survey of Canada noted evidences of iron, copper, uranium and cobalt in the vicinity of Echo Bay. Thirty years later, a prospector Gilbert LaBine discovered high-grade pitchblende and silver. His company was Eldorado Mining and Refining Limited, then known as Eldorado Gold Mines Limited.
Several settlements popped up in the 1930s in this area. Eldorado Mine became the first producing venture and it had its own private camp for its employees. There were also operations at the Elbonanza silver property, at White Eagle on the Camsell River, and at Contact Lake. In 1932 prospectors and businesses settled down in a protective cove off Echo Bay, which was also known as Cameron Bay. By 1933 the Canadian Government had surveyed a townsite. At its peak the Cameron Bay settlement had 100 permanent residents, and the Port Radium area as a whole probably boasted 200+ residents. But by 1934 all the important deposits had been staked and activity died down. The Eldorado Mine at LaBine Point entered production in 1933 and the Contact Lake silver mine followed in 1936. At Cameron Bay, the government established a post office, a government office, and a wireless radio station. There was also a Royal Canadian Mounted Police post and a Hudson's Bay Company post. In 1936, the government facilities were re-christened Port Radium to glorify the nature of the nearby mining operations. Mining operations took place at Port Radium almost continuously between 1932 and 1982. Radium, uranium and silver and copper were mined at different times at this site. The site was utilized by Echo Bay Mines from 1964 to 1982 as a silver mine.
With the closure of the Eldorado Mine in June 1940 and the general lack of activity, the government closed up the offices at Cameron Bay and except for a few native families which now occupied the abandoned buildings, Port Radium was empty. When the Eldorado Mine reopened in 1942 to supply uranium ores for the war effort, the mine settlement adopted the name of 'Port Radium'. Cameron Bay remained abandoned, but later in the 1960s Branson's Lodge would build a fishing lodge on the site. When the mine finally closed in 1982, all the old buildings were burned down, and only old log cabin remains are seen today.
Now with the a new interest in uranium, junior miners like Alberta Star Development ASX are actively searching these same areas for new deposits.
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