Bell Island's Mine Museum and Underground Tour

Useful Information

Location: On Bell Island. From St. John's Route 40 to the Portugal Cove Ferry Terminal, ferry to the island. 20-minute ferry ride. From the ferry terminal follow Beach Hill, then Main Street, turn left at the church, then first right before the hospital.
Open: JUN to SEP daily 11-19.
OCT to MAY by appointment.
Fee: Museum with mine tour: Adults CAD 7, Children (0-11) CAD 3, Seniors CAD 5.
Museum only: Adults CAD 2, Children (0-11) free, Seniors CAD 2.
Classification: MineIron Mine
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: T=7 °C.
Guided tours: V=10,000/a [2007]
Address: Bell Island's Mine Museum and Underground Tour, Bell Island Heritage Society, P.O. Box 219, Bell Island, NF, A0A 4H0, Tel: +1-709-488-2880, Fax: +1-709-488-2909. E-mail: contact
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


1895 first surface mining at Wabana.
1901 start of underground mining.
1902 No. 2 mine opened.
1949 No. 2 mine closed.
1966 last mine on the island closed.
2000 mine museum opened.


Bell Island was once one of the world's largest suppliers of iron ore. 78 million tonnes of iron ore were shipped in total.


The No. 2 Mine on Bell Island was once the world's largest submarine iron ore mine. There is a mine museum, which shows artifacts from the Islands mining past. An exhibition of old photographs tells about the mining history. There is also an exhibition of pictures by the famous photographer Yousuf Karsh. The underground tour is part of the museum.

Once there were six mines in total on Bell Island. Four of the mines, numbers 2, 3, 4 and 6, were submarine mines, which means the mines actually went under the sea floor. The other two mines (1 and 5) ended at the shoreline. The submarine mines extended up to 4.8 km from the shore into Conception Bay. Mining under the sea is only possible if the overlying rocks are water tight. In general there is a greater danger of water inrush, and as it is the sea this will generally cause the immediate flooding of the whole mine.

Mining on bell island was hard, because of the northern location the days in winter were very short, and so the miners did not see any sunlight for months. 80 horses were working underground at one time, pulling ore cars. Once inside the mine they never left again, some of them worked in the mine for 20 years. However, the horses were important, so they were treated well. Some say they were treated better than the miners.