I work at Creighton Mine in Sudbury, Ontario. I have done an AMA about 8 months ago, but there has been interest for me to do another. So AMA!

jftduncan pointed out a couple cool facts about Creighton in another thread,m thought I'd share them here:

Some other things that are fairly unique about kyriose's mine: *has continuously operated since roughly 1910s. *it is seismically active, it experiences seismic events of about 2.0 on a fairly regular basis. *It is a thermal mine. The ambient temperature can be >30C in some parts of the mine or hotter if there is equipment operating in the area. *To deal with the heat, it has a natural heat exchange system where fresh air for the mine is drawn through old workings. This has the effect of heating the air during the winter months and cooling the air in the summer. *is host to an underground scientific laboratory. Due to it's depth at 6800' below surface, it is the cleanest lab with respect to cosmic radiation. allowing them to do experiments studying nutrinos and the search for dark matter.

Edit 1: I am trying to answer everyones questions, I didn't think that this would be so big! I have to leave for work now but I will try to answer as many as I can when I can.

Edit 2: Sorry guys I got lined up with a lot of work tonight, I will be going down to an older part of the mine so I'll take a ton of pictures.

Edit 3: jeezus84 did a coop in the SNO lab, and since everyone seems to be interested in that here are some pictures he linked me.

Edit 4: I went down 3-shaft tonight which is the shallowest of the shafts here at Creighton. I took some pictures so you could get a decent idea of what it looks like down there, as well as a couple videos. Not sure if you can share video on imgur but I will try as I don't have access to YouTube at work. The furthest I went down today is 1900, but I got to go to some creepy old areas and get the best pictures I could in near complete darkness. My work computer's internet access kind of REALLY sucks so I'll have to upload them when I get home tonight.

Comments: 1526 • Responses: 70  • Date: 

AmerikanInfidel647 karma

how much further down do you have to go before you can safely bury NickleBack?

kyriose632 karma

until we reach the center of the earth...for after that we will be digging upwards and they will be able to escape

PunishableOffence1304 karma

That would make the Earth less hardcore.

kyriose528 karma

I'm impressed by this comment.

vegas70225 karma

What type of electrician work do you do? Construction?

kyriose45 karma

I'm mostly maintenance, but I do get assigned to some construction jobs if they are big jobs.

jackflint285 karma

Born and raised in Sudbury. My favourite memory of Sudbury is the time I moved away.

kyriose219 karma

That's depressing... :( I like it here, my family and friends are here and I'm comfortable! But it's not for everyone.

ksprzk241 karma

On average how many jokes with the word "shaft" get made a week?

kyriose345 karma

Once you say something every day you become desensitized to it. Though my wife chuckles everytime I say it.

Madpumpkin224 karma

Do they still hire? I'm an electrician in a foundry and I'm looking for something different.

kyriose366 karma

We are so short on electricians, a crew that used to be 20 is now 5. We have a "hiring freeze" on, but if you somehow got your resume to the right person then they normally make exceptions.

Thom0321 karma

I think he's asking you to help a brother out.

kyriose553 karma


deadite10127 karma

Not to be blunt, but I was actually interested in this line of work. How much do you actually make? What degrees would apply, or experience is required? I am almost through with my Instrumentation and Controls certification, and was looking at something like this. Thanks for the AMA, one of the more interesting lately!

kyriose36 karma

We have Electrical Technologists who deal with PLC's, any license for Electricians will be hired as a maintenance electrician (industrial or construction maintenance), we have instrumentation tech's more at the surface plants.

deadite1016 karma

Hmm...surface sounds nice, all this talk of cancer and crushing made me a little leery. Lol

kyriose12 karma

Surface plants are more toxic, and you can die a lot more gruesomely there (or so I've heard).

kirschman222 karma

Nickel please...

kyriose441 karma

Sup mine nickel.


You use that one often?

kyriose507 karma

not as often as I shouldn't

The_Real_Life215 karma

do you enjoy minecraft?

kyriose588 karma

I have it installed on my computer in my shop! I find it ironic to mine on a computer while actually in a mine

iwantagoodusername166 karma

My Great-Grandfather and Gandfather both worked in the nickel mine, my mother and aunt are both from Sudbury.

I have noticed that you guys started planting grass on the huge slag mountains.


kyriose595 karma

Simply, they were ugly as shit.

kevin11040137 karma


kyriose269 karma

This is the largest in recent memory:

About a year ago we had a large ground movement on 7200 level near a garage. A wall about 50 feet long by 30 feet tall had collapsed into the garage (luckily no one was working there at the time). Myself and 2 others went to survey the damage to the electrical systems in the garage after the all clear had been given. As we were walking past the cave in there was a small "bump" and shards of rock and the like came falling down pelting us, a few larger chunks fell nearby.

We got the fuck out as fast as I've ever seen, my partner turned and ran so fast that his hard hat fell off and was dragging behind him by his lamp cord haha

kevin1104065 karma


kyriose150 karma

Creighton Mine, Sudbury, Ontario. The mine shaft is 7135ft deep and there is a ramp from 6600 to 8070, we reached out 8000 foot milestone in november of 2011.

BassNector96 karma

So, you are effectively two miles under ground almost? Holy shit. I wasn't aware we could go that deep...

kyriose606 karma

Obligatory: "We need to go deeper."

r_underdunk30 karma

Is your partner Harrison Ford, he has a problem with losing headgear.

kyriose41 karma

He looked a lot like him at the time lol

yuri9999121 karma

Watt is love? Baby don't Hertz me.... no Morse.

kyriose189 karma

Ohm you.

kyriose159 karma

I have noticed that a lot of co-workers have been diagnosed or died from cancer. A lot of my family members who work in the mines have increased chances for cancer, but it's a problem that comes with the job and we have been clearing out any known carcinogens for the last 10 years at least.

drumnbass5534 karma

Can't you also just wear a gas mask?

kyriose122 karma

No, we use a stench system to identify fires in the mine. And the gas masks that would block out the harmful gases would also block out the stench and cause us to die in a fire.

professerchaos080 karma


kyriose253 karma

That's why I have a partner!

jaronkenney79 karma

Do you folks still have problems with homeless people sneaking into the mine and living down there?

kyriose259 karma

They keep the Mole Men at bay by giving them something to eat, so not really a problem :O

ponybitch43 karma

As opposed to the actual mole men living deep below ground, for whom they employ 5 full time hunters, each armed with a flame-thrower and machete to drive them out...

kyriose177 karma

We are not in the business of genocide, we simply hold them back.

kevin1104064 karma


kyriose143 karma

My wife is working on our first.

cbech153 karma

Why aren't you helping?!

kyriose366 karma

I did my part, it's cooking now.

cbech373 karma

Bake for 9 months at 98.6° F. Don't forget, just because it's cooking, doesn't mean you should stop basting.

kyriose186 karma

I haven't forgotten :P

Umbersella261 karma

No question, just my deepest consolations for having to live in Sudbury.

kyriose45 karma

Thank you :(

kevin1104057 karma


kyriose140 karma

I'd like to re-answer this question.

At Creighton and Coleman mines we have a specialty haulage truck called a Kiruna. These trucks run on fully electric power and can carry roughly 50 tonnes of rock in a trip. They move at 22 km/h uphill, downhill, fully loaded or not. They are SUPER complicated and very unique in every way. There is an energized trolley line run up the ramp from 7810 to 6970, the truck has an arm with brushes on it that connects to the line.

This is the most unique thing I have worked on.

fippen38 karma

haulage truck called a Kiruna.

Interesting, there's a mining town nearby, in North of Sweden, called Kiruna: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kiruna. Never heard of these trucks before, but if my google-fu is decent, they're made by Atlas Copco, a Swedish company. Which would explain the name.

kyriose40 karma

That's where they are made haha and they have been made by ABB for the time I've known them, and Atlas Copco recently purchased ABB.

kevin1104038 karma


perb12334 karma

I've worked on the ground where these thing passed near by. You feel like a mosquito that can be squashed any time.

kyriose109 karma

Imagine being in a tunnel the same size as it, and it's coming towards you at 22 km/h completely silent.

bewt88 karma

Like a giant prius?

kyriose86 karma

exactly like a giant prius

jonescr325 karma

best i could do is 5

kyriose96 karma

There's not really a market for giant electric trucks right now.

kyriose75 karma

We have a hoisting system that is basically a giant elevator. That's probably the coolest thing I've worked on. The motors are the size of a car, and the drums for ropes are 4 times that. They have a tonne of safety systems and technical things. There are 6 2 day courses at the local college just for a general understanding of them without too much detail.

It's probably my favorite thing to work on, though I'm not sure it's really that unique.

We are a spearhead mine. We normally buy things that are trial runs so we've got a lot of really weird systems so basically everything in the mine is unique to other mines lol

kevin1104054 karma


kyriose94 karma

2 miners were killed in a "run of muck" in June of 2011, and another was killed by a falling chunk in January. Both of these were at different mines but in the same city and for the same company as I work.

iwantagoodusername39 karma


kyriose64 karma


sebast1312 karma

I thought Vale bought Inco!? They later changed the name for Vale-Inco and then for just Vale. Sooo don't you work for Vale?

Source: I did research on smelter pollution in Sudbury in partnership with Vale.

kyriose61 karma

Yes, I work for Vale but still refer to it as Inco. It has been Inco for my entire life and will stay that way.

mrwatkins8350 karma

Does deep earth mining have similar affects to the human body as deep sea diving? What's the deepest you've been underground?

kyriose104 karma

The mine is 8070ft deep so that's as far down as I have gone. They tell us that the changes in pressure don't have any effect on the body, but that mixed with the heat can really fatigue you quickly.

kz_170 karma

Are you concerned that you may awaken the Balrog?

kyriose319 karma

How do you know that's not our intention?

nikomo101 karma

Not a whole lot of profit in that, not to mention your insurance company would fuck you over.

kyriose115 karma

This is very true...you have seen through my guise.

lawlshane50 karma

Is it possible for any outsider to get a tour of SNOLAB?

kyriose68 karma

It's very difficult to get in there, I have only ever been to the entrance myself.

AnarthrousTasimeter47 karma

What is your favourite thing to buy from Timmy's?

kyriose112 karma

Extra-large double double with milk, and a sun-dried tomato bagel toasted with butter and 2 slices of cheddar cheese.

tuschkovsky41 karma

how is nickel mined?

kyriose69 karma

Being an electrician I don't have extensive knowledge of the mining process, but from the systems I have worked on in my time, this is the best I can come up with.

We use a Vertical Retreat Mining method in the deep (~7000 level).

Many holes are drilled downward through the ore body, which are then filled with explosives. In a VRM (vertical retreat mining) blast small chunks of the ore are blasted at a time, starting from the bottom. The ore bodies that are being mined will be between two levels. As the blasts are taken a scooptram will drive in on remote and grab the chunks that were blasted down and drive them to the top of a chute (a holding pocket with a controllable "mouth" on the bottom that lets them load the ore into trucks.

The trucks will load the ore and tram it to a crusher, the crusher takes the larger chunks and break them into smaller pieces so they do not get stuck in the system. They are then loaded into another pocket which dumps them into the skips.

Skips are large buckets that hang in the mine shaft and bring the ore to surface.

Any clarification needed, just ask I and will try my best lol

nkizz77 karma

Wait so you cant just make a diamond pick axe and bash the block?

kyriose107 karma

It's a nickel mine, we don't find that many diamonds to make pickaxe's from. :(

boomfarmer17 karma

How are your vehicles powered?

kyriose58 karma

All vehicles have a diesel engine, but while running (bolting/drilling) they run on 600V power supplied by yours truly.

r_underdunk22 karma

Isn't there a problem with the exhaust in such enclosed spaces or is there a ventilation system?

kyriose63 karma

We have a very intelligent and skilled team of ventilation technicians working to help prevent any issues with the exhaust. We run MASSIVE fans in order to move enough air, but there are still issues sometimes. Only a certain combined horsepower of equipment can run in some areas at a time, etc.

jessvj33 karma

Hey! I remember you! What has the been the most interesting thing to happen to you at work? Do you love your job? Is it cramped or is it as open as the goblin mine in the Hobbit?

kyriose137 karma

Not quite as open as the goblin mine, but not tiny little tunnels like an ant farm. The drifts can range between 10 foot diameter to 30 feet.

The most interesting thing to happen at work:

We have a science lab on 6800, the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory. Stephen Hawking recently came for a tour of the facility and I got to meet him! Best day of my life.

FriendlyDespot67 karma

If you ever see the neutrinos mutating, you'll let us know, right?

kyriose67 karma


togiraikonoka29 karma

is it shocking to work there??

kyriose84 karma

not if I do my job right! :P

SomeDuster26 karma

That must be pretty cool, knowing you're that far below the ground. How deep does this company plan on mining? Like is there some limit that they plan on stopping at? Or just keep going until there's nothing left to mine?

kyriose57 karma

As far as I have heard there is a possibility of mining up to 10000 but who knows!

yoho13919 karma

There's a mine in Africa that goes down 13000, a link was posted above.

kyriose22 karma

Ya, I don't know anything about it other than the cooling there is ridiculous. Our's is the deepest nickel in Canada.

Macabre6825 karma

I work at a nickel based alloys plant in the U.S. Thanks for being a link in the chain that puts food on my table. I seen someone mention INCO earlier, they used to own us. Those were the good ole days.

kyriose23 karma

Yes they were, now it's Vale who owns us, not sure if they own you guys as well.

busted_up_chiffarobe24 karma

Do you ever encounter any interesting/unusual/unexpected geological or mineralogical conditions or pockets?

kyriose67 karma

We have a switchroom on 3570 that has a copper vein running up the back wall. It looks really cool. I hope that's what you meant lol

P1h3r1e3d1338 karma

My first thought was the fat copper wire that runs up the walls of our data center, so I have to ask:

Do you use the copper vein for... ground?

kyriose24 karma

no haha, we run our own system ground everywhere.

Frozen_Wave23 karma

How is the pay and what is the specific electrical ticket you have?

kyriose41 karma

The pay is pretty average for the trade, but still the best I've had.

hak8or23 karma

A lot of us do not know what is average for the trade. :(

kyriose47 karma

haha its just over 30 and hour

everythings-awkward12 karma

Pretty average? Pretty average for the mining sector? With being underground you'd think you'd make... 110 a year. No?

kyriose30 karma

If I work a lot of overtime then yes I could make that. But my yearly is only around 80 without OT.

ElBlarneyStone20 karma

What is an average day on the job for you like?

kyriose56 karma

I am a shift worker so my days vary. I will get lined up with a couple small inspections but normally I just wait for things to break.

  • Get to work and have coffee.

  • Line-up with the rest of the department.

  • Get on the cage and then walk to the shop.

  • Have breakfast and then get off to work.

  • If there is a call then we will drive to the machine and troubleshoot.

  • Just before quitting time we walk out to the cage and go to surface to go home.

2_old_2B_clever20 karma

How long does it take to descend from the mouth of the mine to the lowest (assuming there is one long descent).

kyriose44 karma

from surface to 7000 is roughly 4 minutes. The cage travels at 2200 feet per minute.

TheSunEvenRises19 karma

What are your thoughts on the U.S. Treasury's intention to eliminate the nickel this year?

kyriose63 karma

If they eliminate it, where will we use all of these nickels we mine?!

That's not really our major buyer for nickel. More stainless steel and the like.

appleflop18 karma

Do you have any pictures of the mine?

How long are you normally down the mine for?

Do you like your job?

kyriose35 karma

I do have a few on my phone, ill have to upload them an post them for you. I work 12 hour shifts so I'm normally underground for 10 hours or so. I love my job, the work is fun and the people are normally great.

nameless_faceless15 karma

Does the mining affect the lab, as in jiggling stuff or getting dust everywhere? Also is there any fracking going on nearby and if so, has it affected the mine?

kyriose35 karma

I'm sure the VRM blasts (the big ones) shake the place, but no one can be underground when those happen. They are super strict in the lab about dust and other contaminents. Everyone who works there has a separate set of clothes inside and they shower when entering to wash off any dirt.

When Stephen Hawking visited the first time they built him a special box on a train car he could drive into and be wheeled in to eliminate the need for him to shower and go through the trouble.

chowdertheclam11 karma

Is the education required the same as any other electrician?

kyriose26 karma

Pretty much lol, we all come from different back grounds and you learn the specifics on the job. There are a lot of more technical and complicated systems in the mine than in a house though.

popplex13 karma

Fellow electrician here...What voltage would you say is most of the equipment running on? 3ph 480vac is what we do here...but no really big motors save for one at 2400vac...

kyriose13 karma

3-phase 600V

adamrehard8 karma

What's the coolest thing about your job?

kyriose28 karma

The whole thing is cool haha, even the people who live in the city don't know what goes on underneath them. There are hundreds of thousands of miles of tunnel underneath the city and a lot of people are completely unaware.

my_computer_likes_me29 karma

Umbrella Corp?

kyriose41 karma

If they're developing the T-Virus it hasn't escaped yet. I'd be one of the first to notice...

mpchebe7 karma

Do you have specialized insurance as a part of your profession?

kyriose28 karma

Nope lol the company pays for a death benefits though haha not sure if that counts

iorgfeflkd5 karma

Do the running of SNOLab get in the way of mine operation? What is the interaction like between the science crew and the mine crew?

Is your radiation exposure monitored (not because of SNOLab, because there's a lot of radioactive rock and radon in mines)?

kyriose10 karma

The SNOlab is very separate to the rest of our operations. We only really see them when they get on the cage, and even then they normally get their own run.

The miners refer to the people who work there as "SNO bunnies" as they are more of the intellectual and less of the hard working types.

No our radiation levels are not monitored. I'd be afraid to know...

Hoyt8520 karma

I used to work at SNO. My favourite part was the cage! Listening to these huge miners talk about how "Jimmy got his hand mangled last week, he's back at work today" while heading to my job to watch screens was always very surreal.

kyriose6 karma

lmfao you don't realize how many people get hurt in the mine because they just shrug it off. We had one guy lose an entire finger and was back to work that night to line up his guys.