St. Lawrence is located on the southeast coast of the Burin Peninsula.
After a devastating tidal wave in 1929, the Great Depression and the collapse of the salt fish trade, many in St. Lawrence moved away.
In 1931, an American entrepreneur gave the people of St. Lawrence some hope when he visited the town to inspect the fluorspar deposits he had purchased from St. John’s businessman in 1929. Fluorspar is a non-metallic ore which, depending on the proportion of its components, is used in the manufacture of such things as aluminum, glass, and the refrigerant freon. At the time of its discovery, the St. Lawrence deposit was described as the largest in North America. In 1933, the men of the area, eager for the promise of steady, paying work, began the arduous task of extracting and shipping the ore for Seibert’s company, the St. Lawrence Corporation of Newfoundland (often called simply “the Corporation”).
By 1937, the American Newfoundland Fluorspar Company was also operating, at St. Lawrence. In 1939 it was sold to the Aluminum Company of Canada (ALCAN), which formed the Newfoundland Fluorspar Company (Newfluor). The mining and the town continued to be prosperous through World War II.
By the 1970s, however, ther was much competition from other sources and mining opperation took a downturn. ALCAN closed down operations completely in 1978. Shafts were sealed, buildings levelled, and much of the physical evidence of the town’s mining heritage was eradicated.
The St. Lawrence Miners’ Museum, where many artifacts, photos and displays document the town’s past.
St. Lawrence Miner's Museum
St. Lawrence, NL A0E 2V0