NAME: Port Radium (Eldorado Mine)
CLIMATE: Short summer, long and cold winter
BEST TIME TO VISIT: summer, accessible only by float plane
COMMENTS: No ruins aside from the old RCMP log cabin. Owned by the government. Toxic conditions related to uranium mining. Restricted access.
REMAINS: RCM Police log cabin, heritage plaques
Considering the importance of this site, little is actually left of the Port Radium community. It's existence was owed to the operation of the Eldorado uranium mine, which was discovered in 1930 and began operations in 1932. Port Radium was the name given to the operation in the mid 1930s. Radium, at that time, was the principal product of the mine. Uranium production began in 1942 as a result of the war effort. Uranium salts were sold to the United States government and went towards the production of the world's first atomic weapon, which was dropped on Japan in 1945. The Eldorado mine in Canada's NWT was the Allies only source of uranium during the war. Without Eldorado and Port Radium, the history of the world may have turned out much differently. Between 1930 and 1939, the mine was owned privately and the townsite was restricted to company employees. The mine manager did not want workers to bring women to the camp, although he had his own family living with him. The Canadian government expropriated the company in 1942 because of the strategic need for uranium, and for the duration of the war a viel of secrecy was unfurled over the Eldorado mine and Port Radium. Employees and the new family arrivals were sworn to secrecy. After the war, operations expanded as a result of Cold War tensions. By then the secret of Eldorado was widely known. The townsite was privately operated and no outside business was allowed to set up shop. Employees bought discount products at the company's commissary, and single men were feed in the mess hall. Several bunkhouses, apartments, and family residences were built. The mine closed in 1960 when the US government cancelled purchases of uranium products, but Eldorado reopened in 1964 as a silver mine. It closed in 1982, and Port Radium was bulldozed. Only the old RCM Police log cabin remains. Submitted by: Ryan A. Silke, 2004