Fifteen Mile Brook

Gold was discovered at Fifteen Mile Brook, just north of Middlefield, Queens County, in 1880.

(Fifteen Mile Brook is not to be confused with Fifteen Mile Stream, an historical gold district in Halifax County.)

The Fifteen Mile Brook discovery was along the Liverpool-Caledonia road, now called Highway 8. Rich drift (gold flakes in gravel) was found on the east side of the road but most historical activity took place on the west side.

Some prospecting was done in the 1880s and 1890s but it was not until 1901 that efforts became more substantive. A shaft was sunk on the Lowe vein that year and tunnels were dug. A 5-stamp mill was built in 1902 but there are no known production records to tell us how much gold was produced in the next several years.

(Most Nova Scotia gold is in quartz veins, which means the gold needs to be separated from the quartz and other host rock. The first step is to pulverize the rock/ore so the gold can be chemically separated from it. The most common technology in Nova Scotia for pulverizing ore in the second half of the 1800s and early decades of the 1900s was the stamp mill – a large machine that crushed gold-bearing rock by stamping it over and over. Learn more about how gold ore was milled at

In 1906, C. N. Crowe worked at the site for about two months. He extracted 240 tons of ore, which produced 54 ounces of gold.

In 1910, the Lowe mine was dewatered and more tunnelling was done. Ninety-two ounces of gold were produced from 530 tons of ore that year and in 1911, 25 ounces were produced from 250 tons.

The Switzer Mining Company operated the mine from 1912-14. Twenty-one ounces were produced in 1912, 304 ounces in 1913 and 45 ounces in 1914. Work then ceased.

S. A. Forrest did prospecting at the mine in the 1930s and produced one ounce of gold in 1934.

In 1946, the Consolidated Mining and Smelting Company of Canada (later called Cominco) had a study done of the Lowe mine. Assays (tests) were promising, but the company did not pursue the project.

Exploration has taken place at the site intermittently since.

Total reported production at Fifteen Mile Brook was 881 ounces of gold.

The Fifteen Mile Brook gold deposit is 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 Fifteen Mile Brook 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 Fifteen Mile Brook and a small number of other sites in southwestern Nova Scotia 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 these gold deposits formed that way.