Goat Lake

Limestone was quarried in the 1800s at Goat Lake, about two miles east of Chester, Lunenburg County.

Stone from the Frail family’s quarry, by Frail’s Cove, was used to produce lime. Lime is made by crushing limestone down to powder and calcining it. (Calcining means heating a mineral to the point of changing its mineral structure. It is done as part of the process of manufacturing minerals into products. Calcining limestone removes carbon dioxide and leaves behind lime.) Much of Nova Scotia’s limestone production has been to produce agricultural lime which is spread on farm fields to improve soil quality. Lime is also an ingredient in cement.

Lime from the Frail quarry was used for both agricultural and building purposes. Much of it was shipped to Halifax at a price of two shillings per barrel.

A limestone ridge along the east side of the lake, approximately 200 feet wide extends back from the shore in an easterly direction. According to a 1946 government memo, “At the shore the exposed limestone face is 15 feet high and the ridge increases in height to the east. A small outcrop appears 125 feet east of the face, and it is possible that the deposit extends the length of the ridge (about 300 feet) before it runs into granite.”

At the time of the 1946 memo, the then-abandoned quarry was considered as a potential source of lime for the Mersey Paper Company’s Liverpool pulp and paper mill. Two samples of the exposed face were sent for analysis. The company was operating a quarry at East River Point in that period, called the Lordly quarry, but it was winding down and a replacement site was needed.

A house and large barn were on the Frail deposit in that period, making the area difficult to develop unless the depth of the limestone was more than the 15 feet that were visible. Only a larger deposit would have warranted the trouble and expense of dealing with the home.

Today, Goat Lake and the former Frail quarry are a lovely residential area.

Lime has several important uses in pulp and paper manufacturing. The main one is as an ingredient in caustic soda, which is used in several stages of paper production. For example, caustic soda is used to break down wood fibre in the cooking process and is used in the bleaching process to control pH. Caustic soda is also used in paper recycling to separate ink from used paper.