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Natural Resource Development and Environmental Impact in Northern BC

This guide highlights the Northern BC Archives collections on natural resource development and environmental impact in Northern BC.

Finding Aid

Related Reading


Browse our digital collections on Cassiar to find more information on the town and mine.

Cassiar Asbestos Corporation Ltd. fonds

2000.1.1.4.1.050 - Prime Minister Trudeau outside with Cassiar employeesAdministrating History and Holdings

Established in 1951 by Conwest Exploration Company Ltd. CAC opened the asbestos mine and mill in 1952 in northern BC and constructed a townsite for its workers. For 40 years Cassiar was a thriving one-industry town of 1200+ people, with an operation as an open-pit mine, but in 1988 it began construction of an underground mine which became operational in 1990. The unprofitability of this underground operation contributed to Cassiar Asbestos Mining Corporation (CAMC)’s bankruptcy in 1992. Most employees were laid off and the entire town, mine, and mill infrastructure were auctioned off. UNBC acquired the records in 1992.

CAMC is UNBC’s single largest archiving holding consisting of 1625+ bankers boxes of textual records; 7000 photographic items (6100+ photographs, 900 slides, microfilm); 1500+ cartographic items; electronic holdings, and sound & moving image holdings relating the history of this asbestos company and townsite. Records include materials related to CAMC’s: 

2000.1.1.3.19.166 - Community Album - Children's Hockey Game

  • early explorations
  • mine and plant construction
  • engineering
  • extraction operations
  • administration
  • labour
  • corporate events
  • union activities

Images (top to bottom):

Research Significance of Holdings

The Cassiar records has the potential to provide new research areas related to the technological, social, environment and health impacts of industrial developments in Northern Canada in the latter part of the 20th century. Records are applicable to academic research in both Humanities and Social Science disciplines (i.e. History, Geography, Environmental Planning, Health Research, particularly environmental impacts on health).

Possible research topics include:

  • Examination of natural resource extraction operations in Northern Canada
  • A case study on the mid to late 20th century ‘boom & bust’ period of one Northern BC community
  • Examination of one or more of the diverse activities and/or various administrative and operational departments within CAMC:
    • construction & engineering
    • mining operations
    • tallies of extractions
    • administration, employee records including health and accident records (300+ X-rays)
    • day-to-day operations of mining work
    • mining equipment
    • labour and union activities
    • corporate events & visits by dignitaries (including Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau c.1969 & by MP Iona Campagnolo c.1974).
  • Case study on the litigation against CAMC and/or its parent company regarding work related injuries and environmental related diseases
  • Examination of a town’s development with materials on
    • town planning
    • construction of municipal services and buildings (e.g. community centre, hospital, school)
  • An examination of a community's life and memories of its workers and residents

Digitized materials

The near complete run of the Cassiar community newspaper (c.1954-c.1991)2000.1.1.3.20.1 - Clinton Creek Mine

Photographs (see Photographic Material Series 2000.1.1):

Find published materials by Cassiar Asbestos Corporation Ltd. by searching the Northern BC Digital Collection. These publications largely consisting of annual reports, maps, and other reports on environmental data.

Image: 2000.1.1.3.20.1 - Clinton Creek Mine