Series GR-3342 - Mine inspection photographs

Title and statement of responsibility area

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Mine inspection photographs

General material designation

  • graphic material
  • textual record

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  • Source of title proper: Title based on the contents of the series.

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  • 1929-1991 (Creation)
    British Columbia. Dept. of Mines. Inspection Branch

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Physical description

12,378 photographs and 10 cm of textual records

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Archival description area

Name of creator


Biographical history

The Inspection Branch in the Dept. of Mines began with the appointment of mine inspectors through the "Act to make regulations with respect to coal mining" which was assented to April 18th, 1877. Section 38 of the act gave inspectors the authority to ensure that mines complied with the act by allowing inspectors to enter, inspect and examine the state and condition of any mine. The act directed the inspectors to visit every mine in his jurisdiction at least once every three months and to examine every working part, roads to and from the mine and air courses. The inspectors made annual reports directly to the minister. In 1909 a Chief Inspector of Mines was appointed, headquartered at Nanaimo. The Chief Inspector took over direct charge and control of the district inspectors. Details about the inspection of mines, including accidents, mine rescue work and ventilation issues were reported by the district inspectors and recorded in the annual report. In 1973 the Inspection Branch was replaced by the Inspection and Engineering Division.

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Biographical history

A major reorganization of the Dept. of Mines took place in 1973. The Inspection Branch was renamed the Inspection and Engineering Division and formed part of the Mineral Resources Branch. The new division, under the direction of the Chief Inspector, continued with the responsibility of district inspection of coal and metal mines and quarries. The inspectors also examined prospects, mining properties, roads and trails. Environmental control inspectors conducted dust, ventilation and noise surveys and made recommendations to improve environmental conditions. The division also directed reclamation activities and provided mining advice to the Securities Commission. In 1981 this division was renamed the Inspection and Engineering Branch.

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Biographical history

In 1986 the Inspection and Engineering Branch was renamed the Engineering and Inspection Branch. It continued under the Mineral Resources Division and remained responsible for mine and worker safety, reclamation and mine roads and environmental control. In 1991, the Engineering and Inspection Branch became the Resource Management Branch.

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Biographical history

In February 1991, the Engineering and Inspection Branch was reorganized and renamed the Resource Management Branch to reflect a broadened mandate. Under its new structure, the branch consisted of two units, Occupational Health and Safety and Environmental Impact Management. The branch developed a new accident reporting system, focused on mine rescue and emergency preparedness, developed stringent brake testing requirements for runaway trucks and remained responsible for mine reclamation. In 1993, the branch was renamed the Mine Health and Safety Branch.

Name of creator


Biographical history

In 1981 the Inspection and Engineering Division was renamed the Inspection and Engineering Branch. This branch reported to the newly named Mineral Resources Division of the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources. The Inspection and Enqineerinq Branch had the responsibility to ensure that the maximum possible recovery of natural resources from mining operations was achieved while keeping personal injury and environmental disturbance to a minimum. The branch maintained a network of district offices staffed by experienced professional personnel and supported by specialist enqineers based in Victoria. On a regular basis, staff members conducted safety and engineering inspections at all metal mines, coal mines, sand and gravel pits, placer mines and quarries throughout the province. The branch further ensured that every employee working in an underground or open-pit operation was under the supervision of a person holding an appropriate supervisor's certification. Examinations were administered to ensure that supervisory candidates meet the required standards of training and education. Certificates for miners, coal miners and blasters were also issued from the district offices. In 1986 the name was changed to the Engineering and Inspection Branch.

Custodial history

Scope and content

Series consists of photographs created or acquired by the Resource Management Branch of the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources and its predecessor bodies, between 1929 and 1991. Most of the photographs are glued onto pages that formed an appendix to an inspection report. These appendices were separated from the reports and stored separately. The original reports may still be with the Ministry. Researchers should also compare them to the Ministry of Mines annual reports. In addition to the appendices, which often include captions and other accompanying material, the files contain hundreds of loose photographs, including prints, negatives, slides and polaroids in both colour and black and white. The photographs are of mines throughout British Columbia and include aerial views, mine rescue teams, machinery and equipment, reclamation work, bridges and roads and dangerous occurrences and accidents. The series also includes portions of the inspection reports and other accompanying textual information.

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Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Transferred from the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Mine Health and Safety Branch in 1994.


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Restrictions on access

No access restrictions apply.
Conservation restriction: material in cool or cold storage is inaccessible.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

  • Copyright belongs to the Government of British Columbia.

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Related materials


No further accruals expected.

General note

Accession number(s): 92-4151


Graphic material may be in cool or cold storage. Contact staff for specific details.

Physical description

Includes 6611 photographs : col., 2784 photographs : col. ; negatives, 874 photographs : col. ; slides, 7 photographs : col. ; transparencies, 125 photographs : col. ; polaroids, 1695 photographs : b&w, 249 photographs : b&w ; negatives, 21 photographs : b&w ; slides, and 12 photographs : b&w ; polaroids

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