Heritage Silver Trail
Site 3: McKinley-Darragh Mill Site
This mill, named for James McKinley and Ernest Darragh who found silver on this claim in August of 1903, was the first mill to operate in the summer of 1907. Its capacity at the beginning was 15 tons per day but was enlarged to handle 225 tons per day by the year 1913.
The McKinley-Darragh Mill Site introduces the processing stage of a mining operation. Broken ore, hauled from a mine, is further crushed and treated at a mill. Here, high grade ore was separated and an enriched concentrate and waste tailings produced. The high grade ore and concentrate were shipped to a refinery for final processing to the bullion stage. Tailings or "slimes'' were dumped near the mill site and represent the very finely ground waste from the ore processed.
By design it was a typical gravity mill built on a hillside so that crushed ore would flow downward by gravity as it passed through the plant. Crushed first by a line of pounding stamps, the pulverized ore then went to jigs, ball mills, and gravity tables.
The ore came from 8 shafts on the property and from the Savage Claim at Cart Lake (Site #5) by means of an aerial tramway. The mill ceased operations in 1927 having recovered 13,000,000 ounces of silver.
The Nipissing Central Railway streetcar service that ran from Cobalt, through Haileybury and on to New Liskeard, passed right beside the mill. This privately owned, narrow gauge railway provided economical and comfortable service in the area until it closed in the 1930s.
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