Mining - Outlook 2014

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Although there is currently no metal production in Nova Scotia, 2014 could prove to be a very important year for gold. There are several companies that hold gold resources in the province.

The Dufferin gold mine will be the first underground mine to operate in Nova Scotia in decades. — Photo courtesy of the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources

(Originally published in "Outlook 2014" - January 2014 issue of the Nova Scotia Business Journal)

By Diane Webber, Industry Liaison Geologist, Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources

When it comes to mining, Nova Scotia has a history that spans nearly three centuries. Much of Canada’s pioneering mining activity originated in Nova Scotia, in Canada’s first large-scale coal, iron ore and gypsum mines.

The value of mineral production remains important for the economy of the province, especially in rural areas, and today that value is approximately $250 million per year. Most production is focused on aggregates with lesser contributions from gypsum, salt and coal.

Although there is currently no metal production in Nova Scotia, 2014 could prove to be a very important year for gold. There are several companies that hold gold resources in the province. Current company resource estimates total more than four million ounces of gold on nine different properties. Quebec-based Ressources Appalaches is investing about $10 million to re-open a former-producing underground gold mine near Sheet Harbour, east of Halifax. Australian-based Atlantic Gold NL plans to invest an estimated $140 million to develop the Touquoy gold deposit at Moose River Gold Mines, northeast of Halifax. In addition to these advanced projects, there are several junior exploration companies spending millions of dollars to determine the potential of gold properties in rural areas of eastern Nova Scotia.

Nova Scotia has many untapped opportunities and a competitive advantage for mineral exploration and development. The province boasts a very advanced infrastructure of roads, rail, electricity grid, communication network, and deep-water ice-free ports, significantly reducing costs for exploration and mining companies.

These are very challenging times for industry, especially when it comes to raising money in tough financial markets. To help alleviate this challenge, Nova Scotia’s Mineral Incentive Program will continue to support grass-roots exploration programs and advanced projects.

This support will help the mining industry continue to provide much-needed high-paying jobs in rural Nova Scotia and inject millions of dollars into the provincial economy.

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IN PROFILE: Dufferin Gold Mine

The Dufferin gold mine near Sheet Harbour last produced gold in 2001 but ceased production when $300-an-ounce gold made it unprofitable. The property sat idle until 2008 when a mining contractor took over the assets and reprocessed the historic tailings to pour the last Nova Scotia gold bars in the province.

Quebec-based Ressources Appalaches purchased the property in 2009 for $4 million and subsequently spent an additional $3.5 million on exploration.  The company recently announced that it received the second and final portion of a $10 million loan from New York investor Lascaux Resource Capital which it is using to refurbish and prepare the site for mining operations.

Ressources Appalaches expects to start pouring gold by April with annual production to reach between 20,000 and 25,000 ounces of gold, while employing about 70 workers.  

The Dufferin gold mine will be the first underground mine to operate in Nova Scotia in decades and industry representatives believe that this will increase the province’s profile on the international mining scene.

Organizations: Nova Scotia Business Journal, Department of Natural Resources, Atlantic Gold NL

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, Canada, Sheet Harbour Halifax New York

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