Moose River Gold Mines, Nova Scotia

Moose River Gold Mines is a Canadian rural community located in Nova Scotia's Halifax Regional Municipality.[1] It is located at the junction of Moose River Road and Mooseland Road. No numbered highways run through Moose River Gold Mines. Gold was discovered in the area in 1866 and mining started in the 1870s. Interest waned around 1900 but rose in the 1930s. The community gained international attention in 1936 when three men were trapped in the mine.

Moose River Gold Mines
Rural Community
Moose River Gold Mines is located in Nova Scotia
Moose River Gold Mines
Moose River Gold Mines
Location within Nova Scotia
Coordinates: 44°59′03″N 62°56′34″W / 44.98417°N 62.94278°W / 44.98417; -62.94278Coordinates: 44°59′03″N 62°56′34″W / 44.98417°N 62.94278°W / 44.98417; -62.94278
Country Canada
Province Nova Scotia
MunicipalityHalifax Regional Municipality
 • Governing CouncilHalifax Regional Council
Time zoneUTC-4 (AST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-3 (ADT)
Part of a series about Places in Nova Scotia


J. Allister Bowman, district plant superintendent, Maritime Tel & Tel, using earphones to listen for entombed men

Gold was first discovered in the area in 1866, but no mining took place until the 1870s when the area became known as the Moose River Gold District. Interest waned in the early 1900s but resumed in the 1930s and the mine was brought back into production in 1935.[2] These historic workings produced some 26,000 oz. of gold which was largely taken from quartz veins, but some also from open slate quarries.[3]

1936 disasterEdit

On April 12, 1936 the roof of the mine collapsed, trapping three men, Herman Magill, Dr. David Robertson and Alfred Scadding,[4] 150 feet down for 11 days. The men were reached by drilling a borehole on the sixth day to bring food, water and a telephone until the rescue was completed. Robertson and Scadding survived and Magill died on the seventh day. The event was broadcast by J. Frank Willis of the Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission (CRBC) to more than 650 radio stations throughout North America over the course of fifty-six hours, and was picked up by the BBC and broadcast to Europe.[5][6] It was the first live 24-hour radio coverage of a breaking news story in Canada.[2]

Today, there is a provincial park with a cairn and there was a plaque where the borehole was drilled, and there is a museum portraying the history of the gold mine.[7] The plaque was stolen sometime before June 28, 2006. It has yet to be recovered.

Mining in the 21st centuryEdit

In the 1980s, drilling exploration in the area of the earlier slate workings found significant gold deposits in what became known as the Touquoy zone,[3] after a former mine owned by Damas Touquoy.[8] DDV Gold Ltd. applied to operate an open pit gold mine in 2007. Deposits at the project named Touquoy hold an estimated 635,000 ounces (~18 tons) of gold, worth $700 million in 2012.[9] The surface operation will involve drilling, blasting, and gold cyanidation to process the ore.[10] The Moose River Gold Mines site will also process ore from the company's mine at its Beaver Dam deposit, 37 km away, which has an estimated yield of 426,600 ounces.[11] This will save the construction of a second tailings pond, and an old bush road will be upgraded to facilitate transport. The Moose River mine will have a life of five years and Beaver Dam just three.[12] There are more deposits at Cochrane Hill and Fifteen Mile Stream, 57 km away.[13]

Despite the controversy of land expropriation,[14] production is expected to begin in 2015 or 2016.[15]

Nearby attractionsEdit

  • Moose River Gold Mines Museum
  • Moose River Gold Mines Provincial Park[16]


  1. ^ "Moose River Gold Mines". Geographical Names Board of Canada. Natural Resources Canada. Retrieved 22 October 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Disaster at Moose River Gold Mine". Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. Retrieved 22 October 2015.
  3. ^ a b "Too Coy with Touquoy?" (PDF). Nova Scotia Minerals Update. Government of Nova Scotia. Spring 2003. Retrieved 23 October 2015.
  4. ^ MacDonald, David (1977) "Buried Alive at Moose River", Reader's Digest, January, pp. 160-174.
  5. ^ Benedict, Michael Les; Frayne, Trent (2000). "The Cave-in That Shook the Country". In the face of disaster: true stories of Canadian heroes from the archives of Maclean's. New York, N.Y: Viking. pp. 117–127. ISBN 0-670-88883-4.
  6. ^ The Canadian Communications Foundation. "Moose River Mine Disaster". History of Canadian Broadcasting. Retrieved 3 October 2018.
  7. ^ "Moose River Gold Mines Provincial Park" (PDF). Department of Natural Resources. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 22 October 2015.
  8. ^ "Moose River Gold District". Nova Scotia Gold. Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. Retrieved 23 October 2015.
  9. ^ "Moose River gold mine project gets green light. Natural Resources Minister says decision 'difficult' to make". CBCNews. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Jun 15, 2012. Retrieved 22 October 2015.
  10. ^ "KMKNO Consultation News" (PDF). Kwilmu’kw Maw-klusuaqn Negotiation Office. July 2015. p. 5. Retrieved 22 October 2015.
  11. ^ "Atlantic Gold Announces Updated Mineral Resource Estimate for Beaver Dam Deposit, Nova Scotia". Market Wired. Retrieved 22 October 2015.
  12. ^ GORMAN, MICHAEL (July 6, 2015). "Moose River mine rule change approved". The Chronicle Herald. Retrieved 22 October 2015.
  13. ^ Stokes, Lesley (2015-08-05). "Prudence pays off for Atlantic Gold in Nova Scotia". The Northern Miner (Volume 101, Number 26). The Northern Miner Group. Retrieved 23 October 2015.
  14. ^ POWER, BILL (April 23, 2012). "Family fighting expropriation near Moose River gold mine". The Chronicle Herald. Retrieved 23 October 2015.
  15. ^ ERSKINE, BRUCE (April 4, 2014). "Golden opportunity: N.S. could be on the verge of a mining renaissance". The Chronicle Herald. Retrieved 23 October 2015.
  16. ^ "Moose River Gold Mine".

External linksEdit