Westville’s Clay Mine

Sometimes your first plan does not work out so you have to come up with another!

In 1900 a shaft was sunk in Westville from the Scott Coal Seam down to the Third Seam and levels (horizontal tunnels) were driven a short distance.

The plan was to mine Third Seam but its coal was found to be of inferior quality so that plan was scrapped.

However, a seam of clay immediately under the Third Seam was found to be good quality fire clay so it was mined for that purpose. Fire clay is a type of clay that can withstand intense heat, so it was used to make liners for stoves and furnaces and other objects that are exposed to high temperatures.

The Clay Mine was connected to the Scott Seam by a 143-metre tunnel and the clay was taken out thought the Scott Seam tunnels. It produced intermittently to provide clay for brick words and other sales.

From 1910-21, the average annual tonnage for six years for which records are available was 2,867 tonnes. The highest record tonnage was 3,382 tonnes in 1911.

A shaft was also sunk in 1906 to the Fourth Seam, which lies about 34 metres below the Third Seam. However, there is no record of mining on the Fourth Seam.

The Clay Mine was close to the Scott Pit, which was struck by lighting in 1893! See the story at https://notyourgrandfathersmining.ca/lighting-strike-in-westville

Both mines were part of the larger Drummond Mine which operated underground from 1868-1984. A surface mine operated in the 1980s and 1990s to complete extraction of the coal and reclaim the site. Today the former mine is acres of greenspace and parkland which includes a playground, pond, gazebo, baseball field and heritage signage. See Drummond’s story at https://notyourgrandfathersmining.ca/drummond

Drummond coal mine, likely in 1880.