#03495
Men Who Die For A Living (Gary O'Driscoll) videos
#2281: YouTube video by gdgest
©2013 ~ Used with permission ~

As the morning mist
rolls over Cape Chapeau Rouge,
Young miners with lunch tins
go down with the crews,
To a damp, dusty dungeon
to earn a day's pay,
They're the men who die for a living.

Well, they follow the iron springs
to the bowels of the mine,
With their oilskins and hammers
where the sun never shines;
With stone all around them
and death in the air,
They're the men who die for a living.

Well, Abraham Pike was the first one to go,
Then Davey and Rennie, Augustin and Joe;
Like the leaves they are falling,
but the others still go,
They're the men who die for a living.

Well, the mines they are gone,
but the sadness remains,
For the widows and children
who must bear the pain;
And their names they are written
in stone on the hill,
All the men who die for a living.
All the men who die for a living.

####.... Gary O'Driscoll, 1993 Gabriel Award winning producer, folksinger, songwriter, and musician of Bay Bulls and St John's, NL, and Peterborough, Ontario, ©1980 ....####
The video above features Gary O'Driscoll in 1981 at the Fifth Annual Newfoundland Folk Festival in St John's performing his original folk song about the town of St Lawrence located on the southeast coast of the Burin Peninsula, and the area's fluorspar miners.

See more Gary O'Driscoll songs.

Courtesy of the Museum Association of Newfoundland and Labrador:
After a devastating tidal wave in 1929, the Great Depression, and the collapse of the salt fish trade, many in St Lawrence moved away. In 1931, an American entrepreneur gave the people of St Lawrence some hope when he visited the town to inspect the fluorspar deposits he had purchased from a St John's businessman in 1929. Fluorspar is a non-metallic ore which, depending on the proportion of its components, is used in the manufacture of such things as aluminum, glass, and the refrigerant freon. At the time of its discovery, the St Lawrence deposit was described as the largest in North America. In 1933, the men of the area, eager for the promise of steady, paying work, began the arduous task of extracting and shipping the ore for Seibert's company, the St Lawrence Corporation of Newfoundland (often called simply the Corporation). By 1937, the American Newfoundland Fluorspar Company was also operating at St Lawrence. In 1939 it was sold to the Aluminum Company of Canada (ALCAN), which formed the Newfoundland Fluorspar Company (Newfluor). The mining and the town continued to be prosperous through World War II. By the 1970s, however, there was much competition from other sources and mining operations took a downturn. ALCAN closed down operations completely in 1978. Shafts were sealed, buildings levelled, and much of the physical evidence of the town's mining heritage was eradicated. In 2011, Canada Fluorspar Inc proposed to reactivate existing underground fluorspar mines, expand an existing mill, construct a new environmentally sound Tailings Management Facility (TMF) and build a new deep-water marine terminal in the outer St Lawrence Harbour for the export of fluorspar concentrate product. The project is anticipated to produce between 120,000 and 180,000 tonnes of fluorspar-acid spar concentrate per year. The Project will include: 1) Underground mine development of the previously mined Tarefare and Blue Beach North veins; 2) Upgrades to an existing mill; 3) Design and construction of an environmentally sound Tailings Management Facility (TMF); and 4) Design and construction of a new marine terminal. The company has said the construction phase could employ up to 350 people over the next two years. Once in production, likely by late 2013 or early 2014, some 150 full-time jobs will be created.

From the Memphis Archaeological and Geological Society's glossary of terms: Fluorspar - also called fluorite, a transparent or translucent mineral, composed of calcium and fluorine, that occurs in many colors. It is used for fusing metals, making glass, etc, and is a source of fluorine.

From the McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc
Acid Spar - grade of fluorspar containing over 98% CaF2 (calcium fluoride or fluorite) and no more than 1% SiO2 (silicon dioxide or silica). It is produced by flotation and used for the production of hydrofluoric acid.

In the cemeteries of St Lawrence and several neighbouring towns on the south coast of Newfoundland lie the remains of some 200 workers who were killed by the dust and radiation that permeated the area's fluorspar mines.

Abraham Pike died August 15, 1956 at age 44 and is buried in the Anglican Cemetery in St Lawrence.

Rennie Slaney [1906-1969] was mine captain of Black Duck mine until 1951. He was one of the first natives of St Lawrence to realize that many miners were dying at young ages as a result of exposure to dust and radon gas. He began to document these deaths during the 1940s in an attempt to lobby industry and government to recognize this fact. Ironically, he died as a result of industrial disease.

The video below features a recording by Allison Crowe of Nanaimo, British Columbia and Corner Brook, NL (Newfoundland Vinyl, trk#3, 2013 LP and CD, Rubenesque Records Ltd, Salt Spring Island, British Columbia).


See more songs by Allison Crowe.

#1827: YouTube video by Adrian22
©2013 ~ Used with permission ~


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