Gold mining in Nova Scotia: environmental and economic impacts

Michael Parsons, Nikole Bingham-Koslowski, Lori Campbell, and Jennifer Bates – Nova Scotia EdGEO Workshop Committee, Atlantic Geoscience Society
Gold mining has been a practice in Nova Scotia for over 150 years with new gold mines still being proposed today. Why is there gold in Nova Scotia? What are the environmental consequences of these gold mines? Why is the Province of Nova Scotia putting millions of dollars into remediation? What are current and proposed gold mines doing to protect the environment now and in the future? Why do we still need gold mines? Attendees of this session will learn about the history of gold mining in Nova Scotia, the environmental impacts that mining has had (and continues to have) on the environment, how we remediate and study past gold mining operations and how this information is being used to protect the environment going forward.

The session will run the full day from 9 am to 4 pm and will start with an in classroom introduction to the topic of gold mining in the province. After the morning coffee break, attendees will be driven to a local outcrop to observe the impact of local acid-generating rocks on infrastructure and city planning. Lunch will be back at Halifax West, after which we will head back out and go to Montague gold mine. Here we will discuss the history of the gold mine, observe some of the remaining infrastructure, and run some tests on the left over tailings piles to understand why exactly remediation is important. We will then head back to Halifax West to close out the session. A resource package including "The Last Billion Years" (book), "Nova Scotia Geological Highway Map" (geological map), "Nova Scotia Rocks" (brochure), "Nova Scotia Pebbles" (brochure), "Geology of Green Cove" (brochure), as well as various printed educational materials will be provided to each participant.

Professional geologists will make the presentations and lead the field trip. The workshop will run 9 am to 4pm.

For the field trip, you will need a backpack, rugged (non-slip sole) footwear for walking on uneven, possibly wet terrain (be prepared that your footwear will get wet), pen or pencil for making notes, and extra water if you will need it. Sandals or open-toed shoes are NOT appropriate or safe to wear in the field. Please wear footwear that is suitable. Please remember to bring a sun hat and sunscreen for a sunny day, and a warm and waterproof jacket with a hoot (or hat) in case weather is cool and/or rainy. Transportation will be by bus or van.

Webmaster: Joe Mac.. (Last Updated October 08, 2019)