We are healthier, richer, and better informed
because of the treasures we extract from the earth.
From minerals and metals extracted from below our
feet, we create TVs and other electronics to
entertain ourselves, telephones to communicate
with, and computers that are essential
for our daily business, as well as the millions
of vehicles to transport people and essential
goods. Remove the contribution of the mining
industry to your home, and about the
only thing left is the mortgage.
As the face of mining has changed, so have the
faces of those it employs. Today, the old image of
miners and prospectors with picks and shovels has
been replaced by workers using robotics, computers,
and the most modern high-tech equipment.
Nowhere is the beneficial impact of mining so important
than in Nova Scotia.
According to a 2006 report by Gardner Pinfold
Consulting and CRA, Nova Scotia’s mining industry
can brag of one of the highest earning levels in the
provincial economy: more than $1,000/week in 2005.
This is more than 40 per cent higher than the average
of all other economic sectors in the province.Mining
contributed $400.4 million to the province’s GDP,
through direct and spin-off industry activities in
2005, the year in which the statistics were provided.A
total of 5,260 direct and indirect jobs were based on
Nova Scotia’s mining sector.
Mineral exploration in Nova Scotia during 2006
has shown a modest increase over the previous year,
with allowable provincial field expenditures estimated
at ~$8 million and Statistics Canada estimating
~$11 million for total exploration expenditures.
This increase is not only reflected in the upswing in
gold exploration around historical gold mining districts
in the southern part of the province, but also in
a resurgence of exploration for base metals throughout
both the northern and southern portions of the
province. Significant work worth mentioning
includes that of Acadian Gold Corp. at their Scotia
Zinc Project in Gays River that is intended to bring
the former zinc-lead deposit back into production in
2007. In addition, two new exploration drill programs
are being carried out for base metals on Cape Breton
Island by firstly, Merrex Gold Inc. and joint venture
partner, Aur Resources, at the Jubilee deposit; and
secondly, for base and precious metals at the
Coxheath deposit by Burnt Point Resources.
Although exploration for IOCG mineralization
along the Cobequid–
Chedabucto fault system is seeing
somewhat reduced activity, interest
along the entire linear is still high.
On December 15, 2005, the
Minister of Natural Resources
announced Xstrata Donkin Mine
Development Alliance was the successful
proponent for the Donkin
Coal Resource Block in Cape Breton
County.Over the next two years, the Alliance plans to
conduct an extensive resource evaluation and feasibility
study leading to the anticipated development
of the more than 200 million tonne (Mt) Donkin coal
resource. At present, the two tunnels have been
reopened and dewatering has commenced.
On December 28, 2005, Pioneer Coal Ltd received
environmental approval for a surface coal mine and
reclamation project at the former Prince mine site in
the Point Aconi Resource Block, Cape Breton. This
reclamation mine project will extract ~1.6 Mt of coal
over a seven-year period. This surface mine will
restore heavily disturbed land for future land use.
Pioneer Coal expected to be in operation at the
Prince mine site by summer 2006.
Brogan Mining Company Ltd has operated a
reclamation mining project at Little Pond since 1999.
The project is reclaiming a large tract of land that was
heavily impacted by numerous bootleg operations,
and several legal underground mines. In 2005,Brogan
Mining concluded coal extraction and focused their
work on final reclamation.
The Greenhills Development completed site
development and started production in early 2006 at
its surface coal mine in Florence, Cape Breton. This
project will reclaim an area impacted by the underground
workings of the Florence Colliery.
In Pictou County, Pioneer Coal Ltd has operated the
Stellarton Surface coal mine since 1996, producing
~220,000 tonnes per year. On September 21, 2005, the
Premier and Minister of Natural Resources announced
the impending transfer of impacted Crown lands to
the Town of Stellarton in three phases. Phase 1—lands
not mined by Pioneer Coal, will be transferred immediately
upon completion of surveying;Phase II—lands on
which mining is complete and reclamation is underway
will be transferred when reclamation is complete;
Phase III—land presently being mined will be transferred
when reclamation is completed. The provincial
government has promoted this partnership between
the municipality, the private sector, and the province as
a model of how reclamation mining can provide economic
activity to an area, and at the same time convert
lands that were previously an environmental and public
hazard into productive lands for future generations.
Aggregate and Industrial Mineral Resources
In 2003, aggregates and industrial mineral
resources were valued at $75 million. In September
2005, Fundy Gypsum Co. announced they would
spend $10 million over the following 18 months to
expand their open pit mining operations near the
town of Windsor.This is expected to secure the future
of the mine and its 150 to 160 jobs for at least 20
years.The province’s five gypsum producers are operating
at peak capacities, with total production
approaching 9 Mt per year.
Salt production for the year remained steady at
approximately 1 Mt from two operations, the
Canadian Salt Company Ltd and SIFTO Canada Ltd in
Black Bull Resources Inc. is currently undergoing
restructuring at its White Rock mine in Yarmouth
County where it produces and markets quartz products
under the trademark ScotiaWhite™. The total
measured and indicated quartz resource is presently
12.1 Mt grading 97.4% SiO2, with an additional 16 Mt
of an inferred quartz resource. The company continues
to evaluate their kaolin resources at the White
Rock mine. The total measured and indicated kaolin
resource is currently 4.8 Mt grading 24.2% kaolin with
an inferred kaolin resource estimated at 6.3 Mt.
Testing indicates the ScotiaWhite™ quartz can also
be upgraded to produce a high-quality product with
greater than 99.5% SiO2 for use in e-grade fiberglass
and other specialty glass markets.
MacLeod Resources Ltd continues production of
high-quality red marble from its quarry at Kennedy’s
Brook in southwest Cape Breton. In addition to local
markets, blocks are being extracted and shipped to
Italy for cutting, polishing, and marketing in that
region, as well as to China and North American markets.
The company is making significant headway in
creating new markets and, most importantly, establishing
a fine reputation for their high-end products.
New financing currently in place will allow the company
to move forward on a number of marketing and
development opportunities in the immediate future.
Gold exploration in Nova Scotia is currently dominated
by two junior mining companies: Atlantic
Gold NL from Australia and Acadian Gold Corp from
Atlantic Gold NL has completed an open pit feasibility
study at its Moose River,Touquoy deposit where
it has delineated 11.28 Mt @1.8 g Au/t for a total of
653,500 oz of gold. Confidence in these resources
was gained through 10,480 metres of diamond
drilling from 129 holes in addition to previously
drilled holes. Company reports suggest ~98 per cent
recovery with a
low waste to
ore ratio of
3.5:1, and high
deposits in the
area. Plans call
for 1.5 Mt of annual
throughput to recover ~90,000 oz Au
per year. In
Acadian Gold Corp. holds a large land position
that includes four advanced gold districts (Beaver
Dam, Forest Hill, Goldenville, and Tangier) as well as
20 other properties.Current reserves for its four main
deposits are reported to be 527,536 oz in the indicated
category and 826,670 oz in the inferred category,
for a combined total of 1,354,206 oz of gold.The
company is currently investigating the open pit
potential of the Beaver Dam deposit where ore intersections
of 23 metres @ 2.27 g Au/t and 36 metres @
1.65 g Au/t were recently drilled and are indicative of
the large open pit potential of the deposit. In addition
to its numerous gold properties, the company
recently acquired the 1,500 tonne per day mill and
mineral rights to the Gays River ScoZinc Ltd (see
above) lead-zinc property from HudBay Minerals Inc.
for $7.5 million, and intends to move towards an
open pit operation as soon as possible.
Orex Exploration Inc. acquired new financing late
in 2004 to resume a detailed assessment of the former
Boston Richardson mine at Upper Seal Harbour,
Guysborough County, and completed a detailed
resource study of its gold reserves. Resource estimates
include measured reserves of 755,000 tonnes
grading 1.21 g Au/t and indicated reserves of 12.5
Mt grading 0.75 g Au/t. Ongoing evaluation of
recent bulk drill results suggest a gold grade as high
as 3.77 g/t over a significant width in the hinge area
and the company is examining the open pit potential
of the deposit.
The former Gays River Pb-Zn mine has current
reserves of 2.4 Mt grading 8.6% Zn and 6.3% Pb. The
mineral zone,dated at 300 million years old, occurs as
replacement minerals filling the pore spaces in a carbonate
bank fore-reef environment of the
Macumber Formation. This property has become a
primary focus for Acadian Gold Corp. who intends to
bring the mine into production in 2007.
Monster Copper Resources Inc. and exploration
partner, Wallbridge Mining Company, continued an
exploration program to evaluate the iron oxide-copper-
gold (IOCG) potential of the Cobequid-Chedabucto Fault Zone.Avalon Ventures Ltd entered
into an option agreement with private interests in
the fall of 2003 to evaluate the IOCG potential near
the Mount Thom Cu-Co-Au prospect, and recent
work has consisted of ground geophysical surveying
and additional diamond drilling. Canstar Resources
Inc.continued work in the Black River area, Colchester
County, to evaluate the IOCG potential of a known
copper showing along the Cobequid-Chedabucto
Rainbow Resources Limited carried out prospecting,
geological mapping, and ground geophysics in
the French Road-Oceanview area in southeastern
Cape Breton County to evaluate the potential for
porphyry-related base metal mineralization. Merrex
Resources Inc., under an option agreement with
Jubilee Minerals Ltd, completed a diamond-drilling
program in the Little Narrows area,Victoria County, to
evaluate the base metal potential of the Lower
Carboniferous Windsor Group in the vicinity of the
Jubilee lead-zinc property.Drilling is currently continuing
with encouraging results.
Nova Scotia is blessed with a vibrant mining
industry that includes several recently opened
mines. In addition, several current projects have the
potential of significantly increasing the overall size
of the province’s industry. Today, mining represents
an essential but temporary land use, disrupting relatively
small areas for a specific (usually short)
period of time, which benefits all Nova Scotia residents.
When it comes to our social and cultural heritage,
mining represents a total win-win situation
for Nova Scotia.