History of Coal Mining in Nova Scotia
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Dept. Mines



R E P 0 R T

Halifax, February 8, 1872.


I have the honor to submit, for the information of His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor, the customary Report respecting the Mines of this Province for the year ending December 31st, 1871.

It is gratifying to be enabled to state that there has been a satisfactory increase over that of last year in the products of the Collieries, in each of the Coal Mining centres. In Cumberland County there was an increase this year over the Coal mined last year of 3500 tons; in Pictou of 19,000 tons; and in Cape Breton of 15,000 tons: the total increase in the quantity of round Coal mined during the year being 38,000 tons. This increase, it is significant to notice, was obtained during an unusually short working, season, which was brought to an end sooner than is customary, by the closing of navigation very suddenly, and early, and the setting in of severe weather in November last. The increase above reported would, of course, have been much greater had the season been of the ordinary and average character.

The Gold mines have been worked steadily, and in many cases profitably. The returns, indeed, shew a small decrease in the yearly standard of production; but they are quite as good as could be expected, taking into consideration the scarcity of men and the consequent high price of labour. There has, perhaps, been no year since the commencement of Gold mining in this Province during which the business has been of a more legitimate character than it was in 1871; there has been no unhealthy speculations, and the losses generally have been small, whilst in some cases the profits have been large. I still have to regret the absence of improvement in the appliances for amalgamating and saving Gold. It is also a matter of regret that there are a number of mines, which have been proved capable of being worked at a profit, have been allowed from one cause or another to remain idle. In one or two instances efforts are in progress to remedy this inaction, but to what extent it would now be premature to judge. In the following special references to Gold-mining Districts, it seems advisable to state the names of the Mines or those of the owners of the more prominent areas, with the amounts produced.


In this District there have been three mines worked. These are of "The United Mining Association (Limited)," that of "The Associated Mining Company (Limited)," and the Johnston's Brook Mine. The United Mining Association Mine has been worked continuously through the year; but hitherto not so successfully as was anticipated, owing to the defective manner in which it was first opened. A very large excavation was made at the surface, and the sides thereof being insufficiently secured, caved in, by which the surface drains were destroyed and the mine flooded. A tunnel has now been made to carry off the surface water as it collects, and the Mine is again in working condition. The area is easily mined, the quartz is improving in quality, exists in large quantities, and may now be expected to be remunerative. The quantity crushed by the Association amounted to 1483 tons yielding 282 oz. of Gold.

On the Consolidated Mining Company's Mine, work began in May last. This mine is on a continuation of the same band of lodes worked by the United Mining Association, and has so far proved remunerative, with good prospects for the continuance of prosperous results. The quartz of both these mines is crushed at the mill owned by the United Mining Association, which is driven by water power, and is about half a mile from the mines of both Companies.

There were crushed from the Consolidated Company's Mines 306 tons of quartz, yielding 239 oz. of Gold.

The Mine at Johnston's Brook was worked until the month of May. There being a number of owners and a large expenditure becoming necessary for a Crusher and other acquirements, it was thought desirable to have a better organization of the Company before such further expenditure should be made. This it is proposed to accomplish by an Act of Incorporation, for which application will be made to the Legislature, without delay. The prospects of this Mine are considered to be very good, 140 tons of quartz from it yielded when crushed 37 oz., of Gold. The whole yield from the Stormont District was 560 oz., of Gold from 1937 tons of quartz, the result of the labour of 18 men which is equal to $575 for each.


In this District mining operations were more extended last season.

The "Eldorado" Company was the most successful, making fair and Profitable returns each month. The quartz crushed amounted to 1786 tons, yielding 1267 oz. of Gold.

The Phoenix Company returned in the months of August, October, and November, 140 tons of quartz crushed, yielding 151 oz., of Gold.

The Provincial returns since September were 684 tons of quartz, crushed, yielding 61 oz. of Gold ; and the "Gladstone" Company in the months of May, and June crushed 168 tons of quartz, yielding 46 oz., of Gold. These with a few others make the whole return for the Wine Harbor District 2927 tons of quartz, crushed, yielding 1538 oz. of Gold, the result of the labour of 36 men, being for each equal to $790.


In this District there have been 5 Mines kept constantly at work during the year; viz., the Wellington, the Sherbrooke, Dominion, Palmerston, and a small mine wrought by Messrs, McClure and Snow,

In the "Meredian" and "Wentworth" Mines and James H. McDonald's Mine, work was commenced in April, In John McDaniel's and Newell Snow's areas work began in July, and all of them were in full operation at the end of the year. There has also been considerable prospecting and mining in a desultory way done during the summer. In the months of August, and September, the Deputy Commissioner's returns show 18 mines at work.

The principal amount of the work has been done, and the largest part of the Gold obtained by the Wellington, Sherbrook, Dominion, Palmerston, Caledonia, and Wentworth Companies, the returns show the following result:

The "Wellington" raised and crushed 2095 ton of quartz yielding 1385 ozs. of Gold, The "Sherbrooke," 1698 tons, yielding 1696 ozs. The "Dominion," 2580 tons yielding 637 ozs. The "Palmerston," 4048 tons, yielding 805 ozs. The "Caledonia," 367 tons, yielding 502 ozs., and the "Wentworth," 2542 tons, yielding 736 ozs. There are some other mines wherein the amounts obtained, though small, do not show unfavorably. The "Cleverdon" crushed 38 tons of quartz, yielding 99 ozs. of Gold. The "Meridian" Company, 85 tons yielding 132 ozs., James H. McDonald's Mine, 67 tons, yielding 136 ozs. The Mine wrought by McClure & Snow, 25 tons, yielding 129 ozs. Snow's Mine, 42 tons, yielding 35 ozs. John McDaniel's Mine, 50 tons, yielding 28 ozs. The returns from the whole district show that 14,382 tons of quartz were crushed yielding 6570 ozs. of Gold, the result of the labour of 171 men which is equal to $711 to each.


Tangier, one of the oldest of our Gold mining fields produced more Gold in this, than any previous year. The "Strawberry Hill," "Humber," "Forrest," and "Froud" Mines have been wrought continuously throughout the year, and the "Burlington" also, except in the June quarter. The Strawberry Hill produced more than half the amount raised in the district, viz., 1212 tons of quartz, yielding 1.154 ozs. 09 dwts, of Gold, the "Humber" produced 789 tons, yielding 416 oz. 10 dwts., the "Burlington" 388 tons yielding 180 oz., the "Forrest" 198 tons, yielding 164 oz. 15 dwts., and the "Froud" 220 tons, yielding 109 oz. of Gold. Some Gold was obtained also from other small lots, making the total returns for the year, from Tangier, 2924 tons of quartz crushed, yielding 2093 oz. of Gold, by 88 men, and showing an average of $440 to each.


In this District, two Companies, those of Messrs. W & E Lawson, and Taylor & Company, have been at work continuously throughout the year, and in June another Mine was opened by Brown & Barker, on tribute; it is owned by the "Montreal Exploration Company" and work still proceeds in It. The amounts obtained by each enterprise are as follows: Lawson & Co, 468 tons of quartz, yielding 2272 oz 17 dwt 10 grs of gold; Taylor & Co, 309 tons, yielding 724 oz. 13 dwt 10 grs., Brown & Baker, 67 tons, yielding 154 oz. 07 dwts. 21 grs. These with the proceeds of some other small lots make a total of 848 tons of quartz, yielding 3152 oz. 08 dwts. 15 grs. of Gold, obtained by labor of 51 men, giving an average to each of $1143.52.

This District has always been characterized as giving the largest average yield per ton of any of the Gold fields. The lodes worked are small but a great number of larger lodes can be traced showing Gold which will no doubt be ultimately worked at a profit.


In this District two mines have been steadily worked during the past year; one by the "Lake Major" Company, and the other by the "American Hill" Company. The "Burkner" mine has been worked a part of the year.

The Lake Major Company crushed 1485 tons of quartz, giving 993 oz. of Gold; the "American Hill" 997 tons, giving 363 oz. 16 dwts. of Gold; and the "Burkner" mine 260 tons, yielding 71 oz. of Gold, in all 2742, tons quartz, yielding 1427 oz. 8 dwts. 12 grs. of Gold, raised by 56 men; showing an average to each, of $471.72.


The mining operations in this District during the year were rather of a fluctuating character, over 25 different parties were at work. The principal part of the mining was done by the "St. Andrew's Company," which crushed 381 tons of quartz, giving 649 oz. of Gold; the Sterling Company 384 tons, yielding 454 oz.; Doyle & Horne 35 tons, yielding 224 oz.; and R. G. Fraser 110 tons, yielding 153 oz. The others obtained varying quantities from a few grains up to 47 oz. of Gold, the whole results for the year were 1374 tons of quartz crushed, yielding 1718 oz. 12 dwts. 12 grs. of Gold, mined by 43 men, giving thus to each an average of $739.41.


Renfrew District continued in almost the same condition as in the previous year. The "Ophir" Company's returns, show 1436 tons of quartz crushed, yielding 625 oz. of Gold; the "Hartford" 494 tons, yielding 383 oz. The "New Haven" and "Renfrew" mines yielded smaller amounts. Only the foregoing Companies were at work, and the full returns from all were 900 tons of quartz, crushed, yielding 360 ounces of Gold; there being on, the average 36 men employed.


Little has been done in this District during the past year. Several fresh mining attempts were made, but apparently without vigor; although in some cases appearances seemed to warrant success. The results of the year's labour were 900 tons of quartz crushed, yielding 360 oz. 17 dwts. of Gold, obtained by 14 men; which gives an average of $476.83 to each.


In this District Mr. Touquoy's mine is the only one that has been continuously worked during the year; he has crushed 384 tons of quartz, yielding 405 oz. of Gold. Mr. Josiah Jennings crushed 39 tons, giving 68 oz., and Mr. Robert Taylor 36 tons, giving 26 oz. 15 grs. ; which were all the attempts at mining of any importance. Preparations are now in progress to work the Bushing mines,

The yield for the year is 179 tons of quartz, giving 304 oz. 16 grs. of gold, being an average for the 10 men employed of $933.88.


The proceedings for the year have not been of much importance. At Gay's River there is a crushing mill now a building, and another at Beaver Dam was licensed during the summer. The Yarmouth mill has done but little. The remaining mills throughout the Province have been idle. The whole results are 281 tons of quartz crushed, yielding 112 oz. of Gold.

The usual statistical information collected from the official mining returns will be found appended in the form of tables arranged as clearly and as concisely as possible, for the purposes of comparison and general reference.

The Report of the Inspector of Mines is also subjoined, and possesses information on the general condition of our mining industries of great importance and interest. It is but proper to remark here that the recent resignation of the Inspectorship of Mines by Mr. Rutherford, who enters on a new career in connection with one of our foremost Coal mining Companies, has deprived the Department of a highly efficient, active and valuable officer. Arrangements are under consideration by the Department for such a re-adjustment of the duties of the office of Inspector of Mines as will economize public expenditure and bring the work of inspection up to the very latest requirements of mining enterprise.

In reference with the mining capabilities of Nova Scotia, it is worthy of remark that an admirable representation of these in all their great variety and comparative economic value exists in the noble geological and mineralogical collections in the Provincial Museum. While the other resources of the Province are represented, and the usual varying departments appropriate to a museum are to be found therein, the geological department is pre-eminently the most valuable feature of the whole. It has been enriched by one of the best Collections ever made in the Province; additions are constantly made, and all have been arranged with such scientific care as to afford a most complete view of the geological aspects of the Province, especially in reference to the products of its mines. Dr. Honeyman's Report will give a more detailed description of the value of the Provincial Museum.

I cannot close this Report without urging the necesssity there exists for the establishment of a School of Mines for the Province. To her mineral riches mainly Nova Scotia must look more and more every year for the sources of progress and prosperity. But unscientific mining must in Nova Scotia be always comparatively unproductive. The Gold fields of this country show no alluvial lotteries where luck may dispense with skill. The gold-bearing quartz of the country forms a remunerative investment for capital, which is scientifically applied and intelligently managed, but mere ignorant labour has hitherto proved for the most part fruitless labour. To attract foreign capital to our mines, and afterwards to extend manufactures, give greater safeguards to our own native capital flowing in the same direction, and to find lucrative employment for a growing mining population, are those requirements of our present position which can be best satisfied by a more general diffusion of accurate information regarding our mineral resources and the right modes of reaching and working them. For this purpose a School of Mines, wherein practical and economic geology could be studied, where the Mineralogy of the Province could be properly defined, and where the best technical mining education could be imparted, would be of the highest value to our population, and would lead far more rapidly to the proper development of the mining resources of the whole country. I trust, therefore, that the earliest available opportunity will be taken to commence the establishment and equipment of a Provincial School of Mines.



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Last Modified: 98-07-27

Originally Printed by: The Citizen Publishing Company

The information contained on this site is not provided for the purpose of factual
representation. Instead, it is provided in an historical context. Every effort has
been made to ensure that this information represents the actual content
of the published Nova Scotia Department of Mines annual reports.
Nevertheless, no warranties are provided in any respect.

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