The Robertson shaft headframe, which was built in the mid-1970s, was originally slated for demolition earlier this year. ((CBC))

Yellowknife city councillors unanimously voted Monday to try to preserve a landmark from the city's gold mining history.

The Robertson shaft headframe is a towering 75-metre, 25-storey structure in Yellowknife's defunct Con Mine site, which produced about 5.3 million ounces of gold over 65 years until it closed in 2003.

The site's current owner, Newmont Mining Corp., had planned to demolish the long-abandoned headframe last summer, as it works on pulling apart the mine and cleaning up the site.

But dozens of Yellowknife residents lobbied against tearing down the headframe, even holding a rally on Nov. 10.

They argued the iconic structure is an important part of Yellowknife's skyline, acting as a marker for pilots, snowmobilers, and boaters on Great Slave Lake.

At Monday night's meeting, council voted to ask city staff to figure out how much it would cost to take on the mine shaft, including the costs of maintenance and insurance.

"We want to be careful that we don't place additional burdens on ratepayers, but the headframe is an important landmark, I think, no matter what direction or what way you arrive in Yellowknife," Coun. Paul Falvo said Monday night.

"[It's] one of the first things you see, and even children come to recognize it very early. So I think it's important that we support this."

Councillors will figure out what taking possession of the headframe means to the city's finances when they meet to look at the budget next week.

In the meantime, Newmont Mining has agreed not to take down the headframe until the city can take possession of the structure.


  • Yellowknife city council voted Monday to look into the costs of taking on the Robertson shaft, not to buy the structure as was originally reported.
    Nov 26, 2008 9:30 AM CT