History of Coal Mining in Nova Scotia
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Dept. Mines


Consequent on the great rise in the price of iron the deposits of ore in this country have received a good deal of attention. Numerous licenses to search have been taken out in the neighborhood of Whycocomagh, Cape Breton, and the hill section of Pictou County. At Whycocomagh the iron ore is found in slates probably of Silurian age. One vein about 4 feet 6 inches thick has been opened not far from the waters of the Bras D'Or Lake, and convenient for shipment. The ore has an earthly appearance but analyses of average samples have given, it is stated, 65 per cent. of metallic iron.


  Pure Iron      60.90
  Oxygen         23.30
  Sulphur           11
  Alumena         1.40
  Lime            1.85
  Magnesia        1.64
  Silica         10.80


Many licenses were taken out in the vicinity of Springville on the East river of Pictou County, and prospecting and explorations carried on with vigor, but no reports of such explorations have been received by this Department. The general neglect to comply with the requirements of section 90 of the Mines and Minerals Act is greatly to be regretted. Much information acquired by explorations which might annually be recorded is thus lost, and can only be regained at a further sacrifice of much time and money.

From personal observation I noticed that most of the exploring was on veins of red hematite and the specular variety; the veins of red hematite presenting the most promising appearances. Near Webster's, on McLellan's Mountain, a vein varying in thickness from 8 to 40 feet has been proved by Mr. Donald Fraser to extend for some two miles and a half; the country rock being a soft slate and the gange of the vein silex.

Fresh discoveries of limonite are reported to have been made not far from Glengary R. R. station, but the locality has not been clearly defined.

The only mines actually in operation are those at Clementsport and Londonderry.

The POTTER mine the property of the Annapolis Iron Mining Company at Clementsport, neglected for several years, was reopened during the summer under the management of Mr. A. Conant. During the ten weeks that the mine was worked about 1000 tons were extracted and employment given on an average to 15 men. Of the quantity mined, 600 tons were smelted in the furnace on the ground and a yield of 163 tons of pig iron was obtained and shipped to Boston.

The yield of metal from the furnace was much smaller than analysis of the ore warrants; and future runs in charge of reliable furnacemen will doubtless be more successful. Preparations are in progress to establish the mines and iron works on a permanent basis, and during the coming season large quantities of raw ore probably will be exported for reduction in the furnaces of Pennsylvania.


I am indebted to the courtesy of Mr. Livesey the resident director, for facilities afforded me of examining the property and works of the Intercolonial Iron and Steel Company. Numerous excavations made along the outcropping of the vein, which has been traced for 12 miles in a direct line, have proved the existence of a series of valuable deposits of ore, but the principal mining is on a portion of the vein about two miles from the works, where an adit lately driven 240 feet below the back of the vein intersects a body of ore as extensive as any cut nearer the surface. Hence the supposition hitherto generally held that this vein was similar in character to the "gash veins" of Missouri would seem to be incorrect, and the probabilities are that the vein carries productive ore to depths which will not be reached for many years to come.

The difficulties connected with the transportation of supplies which have hitherto greatly retarded the growth of the iron business at Londonderry having been in a measure removed by the opening of the Intercolonial railroad, the development of this important industry may now be expected to progress with rapid strides.

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Last Modified: 99-06-02

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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