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Inco - Iron Ore Pellet Loader
While not a part of the Algoma Eastern physical plant of the 1930s, the Iron Ore Pellet Loader deserves a place on this tour, if for no other reasons than it was both a major consignee of CP Little Current Sub traffic in the 1970s and 80s and a significant and familiar part of the Turner docks for many years.

The early 1950s brought changes in the refining methods of Inco's ores.  The Sudbury basin nickel ores contain significant percentages of other metals,
John Morgan (1976)
The Inco Iron Ore Pellet Loader as seen from across the harbour.  If you look closely under the bridge the southeast corner of the Engine House can been discerned.
including iron ore.  After the second World War, Inco began investigating the possibilities of extracting the iron from the ore, thus providing another revenue stream from the Company's Copper Cliff operations.  The results of these experiments lead to the commissioning of Inco's Iron Ore Recovery Plant in Copper Cliff in 1956.  

Although the product of this plant is called iron ore, it is not the same as iron ore which is dug out of the ground.  The process produced a small round pellet of enriched iron ore, about a quarter to a half inch in diameter.  These pellets were somewhat heavier than raw iron ore, but the increased iron content made them far more economical to ship than raw ore.  

Sometime during the sixties, Inco constructed the Pellet Loader on the dock at Turner.  It soon became a major transhipment facility for the output of the Iron Ore Recovery Plant.

The ore was moved from Copper Cliff to Little Current in hopper cars via the CPRs Webbwood Subdivision to McKerrow and thence south on the Little Current Sub to Turner. 
John Morgan (1976)
The Inco Iron Ore Pellet Loader hopper car unloading bridge seen from the back side.  The shack housed the un-loader operator and a car puller to moved loaded hoppers over the unloading bridge.
Full cars were shoved up an elevated unloading siding located about 200 feet behind the Pellet Loader between the dock and the yard.  At the top of this siding, almost directly across from the Turner engine house was an open deck plate girder bridge through which the hopper cars were unloaded onto the ground below.  The unloaded pellets were moved by rubber tired loader from the unloading area to one of a number of storage piles of pellets located on either side of the unloading siding both east and west of the Pellet Loader.  Just in front of the unloading bridge, between it and the Pellet Loader was a single story concrete structure with two sloped grizzlies on either side of it.  This structure contained a hopper, into which the rubber tired loaders dropped the pellets to be loaded into waiting lake freighters.  The bottom of this hopper emptied out onto a covered conveyor belt which transported the pellets up into the loader.

The Loader consisted of a tall corrugated metal enclosed tower that looked very much like a typical Sudbury mining headframe.  The loading portion of the structure
Dale Wilson (circa 1971)
Inco Pellet Loader, looking west
along the dock.  The concrete 
pier in the foreground of the 
photo is the remnant of the rail
base for the coal loader.
consisted of a long metal truss loading arm which could be swung out from its resting place parallel to the dock on the east side of the tower to its loading position at right angles to the dock.  When a freighter to be loaded had finished docking, the loading arm was swung into position and loading commenced.  The pellets which had been carried via conveyor up into the tower were dumped onto another closed conveyor which ran from the base of the loading arm out to about half its length.  Slung underneath the loading arm was a moveable conveyor belt, again about half the length of the loading arm which could be run in and out so as to reach all parts of the hold being loaded.  The pellets dropped onto this moveable conveyor from the fixed conveyor and were carried out over the open holds.  The pellets then dropped off the moveable conveyor, through a metal funnel and into the hold of the ship.  The operators cabin was up on top of the loading arm where he could see what was going on and adjust the arm and the movable conveyor to suit.  The loading arm could also be moved vertically to bring it closer to the ship.

When not in use the moveable conveyor was run down to the inner end of the arm, which was swung over so the outer end
Dale Wilson (circa 1971) 
Looking back on the east side of the Pellet
loader towards the unloading bridge
of the arm rested on a steel lattice work cradle on the east side of the tower.

This facility continued in use until 1991 when the Iron Ore recovery Plant was shut down.  The pellet loader was removed in 1998.

More Pictures of the Iron Ore Pellet Loader

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