Jim Campbells Barren

In the 1990s, Cape Breton missed out on an economic development opportunity at Jim Campbells Barren, Inverness County.

Exploration drilling discovered gold there in the late 1960s and drilling in 1989 further confirmed its presence. Additional geophysical surveys, drilling and trenching in 1989-90 deepened our knowledge of the area’s geology.

Today we know that Jim Campbells Barren hosts widespread zones of gold, silver and base metal mineralization. A 1992 provincial government report that analyzed its mineral potential called the Barren a “highly significant area” and a “very important exploration target.”

Politics then intervened and the land was designated for protection by the provincial government in 1993, which effectively prevented further exploration of the area, despite its significant potential to create jobs for Nova Scotians.

The government changed its mind three years later and announced in 1996 that the site would not be protected. A government news release said the decision was in response to the wishes of the local community, “which wants the jobs and economic diversification that mineral exploration and potential development can bring to this area.” The news release also quoted the Cheticamp Development Commission, which opposed protection, saying, “The Barren has a high potential for gold deposits.”

However, the next government re-designated the area for protection in 1997 and mineral exploration and development have been prevented ever since.

Another opportunity to create jobs in both mining and manufacturing was lost when land around a zinc deposit in northern Inverness County was protected: https://notyourgrandfathersmining.ca/meat-cove