Loch Lomond

Manganese was discovered in 1879 at Loch Lomond in Richmond County.

Starting the following year, two small mines were established about three quarters of a mile apart on the south side, near the head of Loch Lomond.

The McCuish Mine was located at McCuish Brook on the farm of Murdoch McCuish. The Morrison Mine was three quarters of a mile east of the McCuish Mine on the farm of Norman Morrison.

Mining took place sporadically. The area produced about 129 tons of manganese ore in 1881-82. In 1889, 243 tons were produced and in 1916, twelve tons of ore were produced.

Much of the ore was obtained from the soil as loose masses that had weathered out of the shale and limestone bedrock. In other words, a significant amount of the production was not from underground mining but from simply gathering what was easily available at surface. Some ore also occurred as nodules in stream beds.

Extraction at the Morrison Mine was from shallow trenches and pits, a shaft 20-feet deep and a tunnel. In 1915 the Dominion Steel Corporation sank a shaft at the mine.

The ore was shipped to Boston where it was used to manufacture chlorine and bleaching powder.

The manganese was also used for decolourizing glass. Sand, which is used in glassmaking, often contains iron, which can cause glass to have a greenish tint. For centuries, manganese was used to remove the greenish tint because manganese causes a magenta tint which effectively cancels out the green. When light passes through glass tinted green by iron, the green light is unaffected while other colours are dampened, so the glass appears green to our eyes. Adding manganese to glass dampens the green light and makes the glass appear clear.

The Loch Lomond ore was described in an historical report as being “very free from iron and remarkably pure." The purity of a manganese deposit was important for its role in decolourizing glass.

The McCuish Mine was also referred to as the Moseley Mine because Ebenezer Tilton Moseley (1844-98) first developed it. Moseley, a lawyer, was mayor of Sydney and he represented Cape Breton County in Nova Scotia’s legislature from 1874 to 1882. He was elected speaker of the legislature in 1878. He ran unsuccessfully for a seat in the House of Commons in 1887.

Today, manganese is a critical mineral in green technologies. For example, it is a key component in the cathode material used in high-performance lithium-ion batteries.