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Northern Minnesota Railroad Heritage Association, Inc.
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townermn

At Tower, Minnesota there is a vertical mine shaft that went very deep into veins of very high grade ore. The mining process was what was called cut and fill. In this process, a “Lateral” would be cut into the area beneath the vein of ore. The worthless ground was then used as fill for the tracks to run on while the miners cut UP into the vein of ore.

Thus, you do not see huge piles of waste around the mine like you see in pictures of open pit operations. The mine at Tower has been re-opened for tourists following a fire that shut down the facility. When the mine was in operation, the ore would be brought up to the surface and dumped directly into waiting ore cars.

Eventually, there will be a “drying” shed. Underground mines are notoriously wet to work in. After a shift, the miners would take off their mining clothes and equipment and hang the items up on hooks. The hooks were raised up. The building was heated to dry out the clothing to be ready the next day for the miners to wear when they came back to work their shift.

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