Many people do not realize that some of Canada’s biggest gold rushes over the last 200 years have taken place in Nova Scotia. Nova Scotia is not as well-known for the gold it has produced compared the famous placer mining regions in British Columbia or the Yukon, but it definitely has a storied history.
The first gold discoveries occurred centuries ago, but in more recent times it has been large scale commercial mining that has been of the most interest in recent years.
The terms ‘feast or famine’ and ‘hit or miss’ often come to mind when thinking about gold mining, and Nova Scotia is no exception. Although there has been a series of major gold rushes in Nova Scotia in its almost 150 year history of gold discoveries, there were also times that gold prices were so low that very little mining activity was going on.
It is estimated that the Nova Scotia area has yielded over one million ounces of gold since mining first started there on a large scale in the 1860s. There is some evidence to suggest that Sir Humphrey Gilbert was the first to discover gold in the region as early as 1578, but the official discoveries were in the 1860s. This was when mining really started in the region.
The first gold deposits that were mined here were placer gold deposits found within rivers and streams in Nova Scotia. The first areas that prospectors began finding gold were the Mooseland mining district and the Tangier Mining District. Prospectors scoured these areas and soon began finding hard rock sources of gold within quartz in addition to the placers.
Many small mines and prospects began development. Additional discoveries were later made along the eastern shore that was also profitably worked. Within a few years, large commercial operations started to become established here, developing larger mines to extract the deep ores.
Nova Scotia Gold
The gold that is predominately found in the area by small-scale gold prospectors is often coarse enough to be found using standard gravity separation methods. Placer gold deposits that sometimes contain good sized nuggets have been found.
Additionally, there is considerable gold that is found somewhat sporadically throughout huge quartz rock veins that are prevalent in the region. This gold is sometimes free-milling and coarse enough that it does not require cyanide leaching to extract gold from the ore.
The Meguma terrain is of particular interest. It makes up the southern half of Nova Scotia, and the major gold discoveries have been found in this region.
Gold has been found within beach placers near Halifax along the Atlantic Ocean. Many of the rivers between Halifax and Cape Sable Island are worthy of prospecting.
Also Read: Gold Mining in Newfoundland & Labrador
Current Gold Mining News from the East Coast of Canada
There have been some recent new discoveries in and near the old mines in Nova Scotia recently and with gold trading near all-time highs it has renewed interest in the mines in Eastern Canada. Because of all this, it seems that the area may start to see gold mining activity increase to a level that has not been seen since the 1930’s.
Many commercial companies have either purchased old mines from the former owners or are partnering with them to start reworking these old mines.
The trick has always been to access the gold pockets in the quartz veins in a cost effective manner to make a profit. The issue isn’t that the Nova Scotia mines have run out of gold; as a matter of fact, there is an estimated 2.7 million ounces that has been located and is currently ready to be mined. It’s always a constant balance between being able to mine enough gold to cover expenses and still make a profit.
It will be interesting to see over the next few years if new mining activity will lead to significant new mining activity in Nova Scotia. Everyone will be watching the spot price of gold to determine how profitable these mining endeavors will be.
Learn More About Gold Mining in Canada