21st-cen­tury min­ers strike new gold in Nova Sco­tia

Pre­cious metal found in hunks of stone is help­ing to re­vive dor­mant in­dus­try


MOOSE RIVER GOLD MINES, N.S.— Amid the dull clay­stone of a tube-shaped sam­ple of rock, the gleam­ing, pulse­quick­en­ing swirl of gold is un­mis­tak­able.

“It’s quite a spe­cial spec­i­men of gold — it’s by far the best vis­i­ble sec­tion of gold we’ve ever in­ter­sected,” said Tim Bourque, a ge­ol­o­gist with At­lantic Gold Corp, cradling the me­tre­long sam­ple in his arms.

The rock was gath­ered last fall at the firm’s Fif­teen Mile Lake prop­erty, one of four de­posits it owns in Nova Sco­tia’s old gold dis­tricts.

The dis­cov­ery of the pre­cious metal in such un­re­mark­able hunks of stone is help­ing to re­vive a dor­mant in­dus­try — and Bourque hopes it will keep the com­pany’s Moose River Con­sol­i­dated Project flour­ish­ing af­ter its ini­tial Touquoy mine starts up here in Septem­ber.

The com­pany says Touquoy will stamp out 87,000 ounces of gold in its first year — each ounce worth more than $1,200 (U.S.) each — an in­di­ca­tion of the po­ten­tial riches that have drawn At­lantic Gold and other min- ers to the in­te­rior of the prov­ince’s Eastern Shore re­gion.

The num­ber of pro­vin­cial ex­plo­ration li­cences shot up from 259, cov­er­ing 35,000 hectares, to 417 li­cences cov­er­ing al­most 97,000 hectares last year.

Those in­clude a va­ri­ety of other min­er­als, but the Depart­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources says “gold is a tar­get for many.”

Nova Sco­tia’s 21st-cen­tury gold in­dus­try dif­fers from the era of un­der­ground shafts at Moose River Gold Mines, the site of a world-fa­mous1936 cave-in that trapped three men and led to the live broad­cast of a dra­matic res­cue that was heard across the con­ti­nent.

Ge­ol­o­gists are now seek­ing tiny flecks of the pre­cious metal in the folds of or­di­nary, “host” rock that held the quartz, rather than ex­clu­sively in the quartz veins that char­ac­ter­ize un­der­ground gold mines.

The new Moose River mines are open pits the size of mul­ti­ple foot­ball fields, us­ing daily ex­plo­sions to ex­tract tonnes of ore along with a mass crush­ing and leach­ing to draw out tiny amounts of gold.

Dur­ing a tour, chief op­er­a­tions of­fi­cer Maryse Be­langer says about 25,000 tonnes of ore will start to be moved around the grounds each day this fall.


About 25,000 tonnes of ore will be moved around Moose River Gold Mines each day this fall, chief op­er­a­tions of­fi­cer Maryse Be­langer says.

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