History of Coal Mining in Nova Scotia
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To the Annual Reports
Of the Nova Scotia Department of Mines

The Nova Scotia Department of Mines annual reports are a remarkable and valuable source of mining information. The reports chronicle most aspects of mining and prospecting activities over the past 130 years. They serve as an archive for a great deal of technical information that would otherwise have been lost from the historical record.

The annual reports begin at a time when mining in Nova Scotia was in its most primary stage. In the early years, mining was conducted by horses, men and boys; using candles for light, and picks and shovels for tools. The annual reports have continued to the present day when men and women have worked in the mines; and the tools of the trade are high-powered electric machines, computers and hand-held radio remotes. Throughout this progression of time, administrators and mining inspectors have put their observations and opinions to paper in a most diligent fashion.

The contents of the reports provide an interesting insight into the fabric of the mining industry. By reading the reports chronologically, one can experience the significant transitions and events that unfolded over time. As the reader continues to move from one year to another, it is apparent that the attitudes of mine owners, mine inspectors and miners played an important role in the eventual progression of the practices and conditions in mining. The reader can expect to be absorbed in the achievements and the tragedies of a culture that has survived to the present day.

Some people may choose to refer to the reports in a more selective or purposeful manner. Researchers, students and professionals will find that the annual reports provide an historical account with stoic and determined reliability. The mining statistics provide an excellent data source for social and political comparative analyses. On the other hand, the inspectors' narratives on the general topics, and even some of the more specific topics, offer the historian a clear reference for building the bigger picture. Possibly, the genealogist may study accident and mine disaster accounts, which put names to the image of the coal miner through first hand testimonies or lists of injured parties. It is even conceivable that the safety specialist may refer to the nature of earlier mining practices, and the sequence of events relating to accidents and disasters, in order to provide contexts for todays industrial workplace challenges.

The annual reports were published by the provincial authorities and made available to interested parties. Consequently, copies can be found in a number of formal and informal libraries. Some of the reports are soft cover bound while others are hard cover bound. One particular collection, shown at the right, contains 27 books which are hard cover bound and entitled "DOMINION COAL COMPANY, LIMITED", "OFFICE OF THE GENERAL MANAGER". This particular set spans a period of time between 1871 and 1960.

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Last Modified: 2015-03-15

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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