Lake Catcha Gold District

Gold was first discovered at Lake Catcha, Halifax County, in 1865 but not much attention was paid to the discovery until 1881.

Most of the mining and development in this district was done by the Oxford Gold Mining Company which was very active from 1881-1896. By 1882 Oxford had acquired a number of areas north of the lake, erected a 10-stamp mill and become a steady producer. Under J. M. Reid, the company’s mine manager, Lake Catcha became one of the most productive gold districts in Nova Scotia.

Unfortunately, Reid had to quit work in late 1894 due to health issues after running the Oxford mine for 10 years. He passed away months later, in July 1895, and the company’s production plummeted from 1643 ounces in 1894, when Reid was running the mine, to 396 ounces in 1895 and 90 ounces in 1896.

While Oxford was the biggest producer in the area, a number of other companies also did smaller-scale mining and prospecting at Lake Catcha. However, their production was measured in hundreds of ounces of gold per year (or less), not thousands, as had been the case many of the years that Oxford was in operation.

After 1915, little work was carried out at Lake Catcha until the mid-1930s when there was again some small-scale mining. Between 1940-41 there was production of 245 ounces of gold, the last produced at Lake Catcha.

There has been sporadic exploration at Lake Catcha since the 1970s and there is likely still significant potential in the area. Over 100 quartz veins were found in the district but historical mining was limited to only about six veins. Modern science also makes it possible to target disseminated gold – tiny flecks of gold scattered throughout host rock – as was done at the Moose River mine which opened in 2017.

In total, 25,947 ounces of gold were produced in the Lake Catcha District, most of it by the Oxford Gold Mining Company which produced 17,166 ounces between 1882-1896.