Lake Charlotte

This will sound strange coming from us but running a gold mine is probably the least interesting thing Robert Logan ever did!

Robert Archibald Logan was born in Middle Musquodoboit on August 17, 1892. According to, he attended the Technical University of Nova Scotia to become a Dominion land surveyor. When war broke out in 1914, he learned to fly an airplane at his own expense and became the first Canadian civilian pilot to earn a commission in the British Royal Flying Corps. During the war he distinguished himself as a pilot and navigator and was involved in training other pilots.

On April 8, 1917, he was shot down behind enemy lines by an aerial attack led by Baron von Richthofen (aka the Red Baron). He and his observer survived the crash and spent the rest of WWI in six different German prisoner of war camps.

When the war ended, Logan participated in a Canadian government expedition by boat into the Arctic and helped to establish the first air landing fields in the far North, including on Ellesmere Island. He also became involved in the new field of aerial surveying, which led him to South Central Africa for two years.

He then went to the United States, where he was employed by Pan-American Airways, for whom he investigated potential landing sites from Alaska to Argentina. He was also Operations Manager for Pan-Am in Argentina and Brazil.

In 1929, Logan discovered gold-bearing quartz veins west of Lake Charlotte, Halifax County.

In 1933, he participated in a North Atlantic voyage with the Lindberghs, which investigated fuelling and landing sites for Pan-Am’s trans-Atlantic routes.

In 1934, Logan formed Prospectors Associated Activities Ltd. to work what is now called the Lake Charlotte Gold District. The company also worked an area on the east side of the lake that hosts the Lake Charlotte East Scheelite Prospect.

Scheelite is a mineral from which the metal tungsten is often extracted. Nova Scotia has a number of known tungsten deposits, several of them hosted in scheelite. Interestingly, several of these deposits are associated with gold districts, as is the case in Lake Charlotte, but other Nova Scotia gold districts do not contain scheelite. It remains a bit of a geological mystery why that is.

By 1936 Prospectors Associated Activities Ltd. changed its name to Prasac Ltd. and Logan employed eleven men at the mine from June until at least November. A small test mill had been built to process ore, powered by a gasoline engine. A sample of 1900 pounds of ore had produced one ounce of gold, a respectable showing but a very small test of the area’s potential.

A powder magazine was “well constructed,” according to a government memo, and 900 feet from the nearest building to ensure the explosives were safely stored. A second magazine was at the edge of the lake, 600 feet from the nearest building. “No more than four or five cases of dynamite are stored in these magazines at any one time. All blasting in the shaft is carried out by electricity,” said the memo.

Between 1936-39, the company mostly focussed on working three main sites west of Lake Charlotte. The No. 4 Vein and the No. 5 Vein were essentially gold prospects that contained small amounts of scheelite. A 17-metre-long decline tunnel was sunk on the No. 4 Vein, and 30 metres of lateral tunnels were dug. An inclined shaft was sunk 11 metres on the No. 5 Vein. The No. 32 Vein is a scheelite-bearing quartz vein and an adit (tunnel) was started on it.

According to, sometime in this period Logan was hired by the Irish national airline, Aer Lingus, as general manager until World War II necessitated the shutdown of its operations.

In 1939, the Lake Charlotte property was optioned to Guysborough Mines Ltd. when, according to a Nova Scotia government memo, “R. A. Logan was called to England in connection with the Imperial Airways,” the early British commercial long-range airline, which operated from 1924 to 1939.

Logan basically outsourced the Lake Charlotte mining project to Guysborough Mines Ltd. as airline work and WWII occupied his time.

Guysborough Mines continued tunnelling on the No. 32 Vein and a 5-stamp mill was built to process the ore. A selected sample of 300 pounds was sent to Ottawa for testing in November 1939. The test found that the sample contained 4.6% tungsten trioxide.

Guysborough Mines also sank a shaft east of Lake Charlotte to a depth of 70 feet and drifting (tunnelling) was done 100 feet west and 140 feet east.

Given this activity, Lake Charlotte was assessed for its tungsten potential during WWII. Tungsten was a critical mineral during the war. It was used as filaments in lightbulbs and, because it is the metal with the highest melting point (3,422 °C), in plane engines and munitions. Tungsten is often mixed with other metals to make alloys that have high temperature tolerance, high corrosion resistance and excellent welding properties. Today, tungsten is still considered a critical mineral because these superalloys are used in the aerospace and automotive industries in things like airplane turbine blades and wear-resistant parts and coatings.

An assessment in 1943 concluded that “A small amount of scheelite could be obtained in an emergency, but gold values are low and production costs would be excessive.”

No additional work was done and Guysborough Mines shifted its attention to the tungsten mine in Indian Path, Lunenburg County, which contributed tungsten to the war effort for several years (

Guysborough Mines also explored a manganese prospect just east of the Lake Charlotte’s southern end. Manganese is a critical mineral today because it is in steel alloys and in lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicles and electronics.

Manganese-bearing rocks had been discovered by prospectors in 1931. Guysborough Mines Limited examined the property in 1942 and reported a few assays (tests) showing 3% to 5% manganese, but little else was done at that time. The manganese prospect has been explored intermittently ever since.

Only 77.5 ounces of gold were produced at Lake Charlotte between 1938-64 and just small amounts of scheelite. However, it has been explored intermittently since WWII, including by Logan who returned to work there in the 1950s.

While Lake Charlotte’s mining history has not been very successful, the past activity, and combination of minerals found in the area, make it an intriguing exploration target in the modern era, when improved science and technology may make the deposits economically viable.

As for Robert Logan, he worked during WWII for the Royal Canadian Air Force as a Command Navigation Officer in Nova Scotia, and Lt. Colonel and Director of Intelligence in Ottawa until the United States entered the war. In 1941, he participated in a secret Arctic expedition to Greenland and Iceland with the US military for the establishment of northern military airbases.

After that, he continued work with the American military, and was sent on another special mission to the South Pacific in 1943 to research potential airfield and fuelling sites for the US military. Due to a leg injury during this expedition, he was given a medical retirement discharge and retired as a Colonel.

After his retirement from the military, he became a writer.

Logan died on September 26, 1995, at the age of 103 in Duluth, Minnesota.