Dingwall

This is the Dingwall gypsum quarry, before and after!

The Cape Breton quarry was opened in 1933 by the Atlantic Gypsum Mining Company and taken over in 1937 by National Gypsum when it bought AGMC. National Gypsum continued to operate the Dingwall quarry until 1955. Dingwall produced about 10 million tons of gypsum in its 22 years of operation.

National Gypsum closed the Dingwall quarry in 1955 because it was opening the world’s largest surface gypsum mine in Milford, East Hants. National still employs about 100 Nova Scotians in Milford and at its dock facility in Bedford Basin.

Dingwall Harbour had siltation issues which contributed to the Dingwall quarry being shut down. The shallowness of the harbour limited production to the months of May-November. Each spring the channel had to be dredged and, toward the end of the shipping season, cargo size was reduced to keep the vessels afloat. In contrast, National’s Milford quarry can operate year-round.

In the 1990s, National Gypsum reclaimed the Dingwall Quarry on its own initiative – the quarry closed long before mining companies were required by law to reclaim sites. National hauled away the remaining stockpiled gypsum, contoured the land, covered it with topsoil and planted grass. It also did extensive landscaping around the local community center.

Today, Nova Scotia mining companies have to get government approval of reclamation plans and post reclamation bonds (money in escrow, basically) before mining starts. This ensures sites are properly reclaimed.

The Atlantic Gypsum Mining Company, and later National Gypsum, also operated the Cheticamp gypsum quarry (1907-1939). The newer Dingwall operation contributed to the decline and eventual closure of the Cheticamp quarry.

National Gypsum donated the Cheticamp quarry land to the community and today it is a beautiful swimming hole and hiking trail. See our May 23 post for the history of the Cheticamp gypsum quarry.