Centre Rawdon

The historical Northup Gold Mine, before and after!

Gold was discovered at Centre Rawdon, Hants County, in 1884 by James Cope and mining took place at two main sites.

The first was the Northup Mine at which the Cope and West veins were mined. The mine was to the south of the intersection of highway 14 and South Rawdon Road.

The second was the East Vein (so named because it was to the east of the Northup Mine). The East Vein was also called the Church Vein because it was in the woods behind a church.

The Cope Vein was initially mined by the Northup-Dimock Company (named for Gould Northup and Clarence Dimock). They built a 10-stamp mill in 1888 and began crushing in August. By the end of the year 375 tons of ore had been crushed, yielding 835 ounces of gold.

In 1889 they produced 2,358 ounces of gold from 925 tons of ore.

The Northup Mine then passed briefly into the hands of some Philadelphia capitalists, and Northup and his associates moved to the East vein where they opened a mine and built a 15-stamp mill. The Philadelphians did not keep control of the site for long, however. In 1890, the Northup Mining Company was formed to take over the old Northup mine on the Cope and West veins.

The Central Rawdon Mining Company was also formed in 1890 to continue work on the East Vein. Gould Northup was a co-owner of both companies.

Work continued with decent returns for several years.

In 1893, a 5-stamp mill was built to crush ore from a third mine - the Withrow property, which was about 1.5 miles southeast of the Northup mine. In 1894 a small amount of mining and milling took place at Withrow.

Back at the Cope Vein, the Northup Gold Mining Company continued operations and by 1897 the company employed twenty-eight men at the site. There were several shafts on the Cope Vein, of which the deepest was over 400 feet.

At the East Vein, a tunnel was dug in 1897 into the hillside from Landerkin Brook to connect with the East Vein and to further explore the property. The tunnel carried to a length of 450 feet.

After 1897, the district was comparatively idle until 1904 when work on the East Vein property was resumed by the Central Rawdon Consolidated Mines Limited. Work on extending the tunnel started in May and by the end of September the vein was reached at a distance of 926 feet from the tunnel mouth. The workings were dewatered, but little mining was done and a mere 13 ounces of gold was produced from 30 tons of ore in 1906.

In 1923, the Central Mining and Development Company acquired the East Vein property. However, it only produced 23 ounces of gold in 1924 and operations ceased.

There has been intermittent exploration in the district since the 1970s.

The Centre Rawdon gold district produced a total of 9,820 ounces of gold, 8,707 ounces of it between 1887-1890.

The Rawdon gold deposits are unusual geologically. In most Meguma gold mines in Nova Scotia – which is almost all our historical gold mines – the producing quartz veins ran parallel to bedding (the layers of rock).

However, the Centre Rawdon veins were cross veins, meaning they cut across the bedding.

That may not sound like a big deal but picture a grid. Most Nova Scotia gold is found along the horizonal lines but in Rawdon and a small number of others sites the gold is found along the vertical lines. This is a simplification to illustrate the point, but that is a huge difference geologically and it’s a mystery why Rawdon’s gold deposits formed that way.