Cooper Jim Mine

Little is known about a mysterious historical gold mine in Chaswood, Halifax County: the Cooper Jim mine.

The only reference to the Cooper Jim mine in historical records was in a Geological Survey of Canada map from 1907, so we know the deposit was discovered and worked sometime prior to the map’s publication. It indicated there was a belt (group) of quartz veins in Chaswood in a wooded area behind where the Mount Traber Bible Camp is now. The veins ranged from 4-35 inches in width and the belt of veins was 37 metres wide in total.

The historical workings consisted of a series of pits and trenches among several outcrops exposed on the side of a low-lying hill.

A Government of Nova Scotia geologist visited the site in the late 1990s and wrote that quartz veins could be found in the “moss-covered outcrops and much quartz debris [extracted rock] can be found in the area of the pits and trenches.”

There was a water-filled pit about 1.5 metres deep at the northern edge of the belt and a trench that appeared to have been dug to follow a particular vein or veins. Immediately to the southeast was a large low-lying outcrop that contained at least one milky white quartz vein 60 centimetres wide.

About 100 metres along strike to the northeast of these workings were a few small prospecting pits.

While we call it a mine, the Cooper Jim workings, like many other historical operations, were not a mine in the sense that we use the word now. Historical mines were often pits just a couple feet deep, or a small shaft or two, often even without a mill for processing. There was often very little actual mining or production at such sites.

Given its significant quartz veins, it is surprising that the site has not gotten more attention since its discovery. This may simply be because it is little-known. However, it is only about eight kilometres east of the Gays River zinc mine and about 20 kilometres west of the Moose River gold mine, so it is in a region of significant mineral potential and a century and a half of active exploration and mining. Maybe more will be learned about this mysterious site one day.

Unfortunately, we could not find any information about who Cooper Jim was. Another mystery!

Chaswood was named for Lieutenant Charles Wood (1876-1899), the first Canadian to die in the Boer War. Born in Halifax, Wood was a great-grandson of the 12th American President, Zachary Taylor. His family moved to Nova Scotia after the American civil war because Wood’s father, Captain J. Taylor Wood, had fought for the South.