Manganese Mines

Many places in Nova Scotia are named for their connections to mining! The village of Manganese Mines, Colchester County, is an obvious example.


Manganese was first discovered in the area around 1880 on what is referred to as the Borden Property in mining records. A number of pits were dug at the site and a cut was dug in a hill on the west side of a small gully. However, little ore was extracted.


The property known as Manganese Mines was worked continuously from 1880-1896 and 1800 tons of ore were mined, concentrated and shipped.

The main site was a surface mine 30 metres long, 15 metres wide and 15 metres deep. At one time there was a shaft at the bottom of the pit with three tunnels off it. Another shaft was 21 metres west of the pit.

Work was sporadic between 1896-1905.

In 1917, six barrels of ore, weighing about 1000 pounds each, were shipped to the Department of Mines in Ottawa for examination. The ore was taken from the old waste rock pile and crushed, washed and hand-picked before shipping. Two samples from the shipment averaged 48% manganese.

In 1938, the surface mine was pumped out and examined but no further work was done. Additional exploration took place in the 1960s and 1970s.


Manganese was discovered at the East Mountain Mine, pictured below, in 1897. (The mine was also known as the Fraser Property, named for Sandy Bob Fraser). A shaft 7.6 metres long was dug by a prospector named T. W. Pinkam from Boston. Ninety-one tons of ore was extracted. Some of the ore was placed in barrels that were never hauled out for some unknown reason.

The property then lay idle until 1918 when the shaft was pumped out and deepened 1.5 metres. Nine tons of ore were extracted that year.

In 1938, a new incline tunnel was started on the east side of the road and some additional tunnelling was also done. Forty-five tons of ore were mined.

from 1939-41, some exploration and development work were done.


Manganese was also discovered at Farnham Brook, about two miles west of the East Mountain Mine. Several small pits were dug on the west side of the brook sometime around 1880 and a small amount of ore was extracted.

Most mined manganese is used in steel-making. It makes steel stronger and more flexible so it can be used in things like railway tracks, safes and rifle barrels.

Manganese is also a key ingredient in the rechargeable batteries used in things like electric cars. It is often considered a critical mineral for green technologies.

Nova Scotia has dozens of manganese occurrences and had a bunch of mines in the 1800s and early 1900s, mostly along the south shore of the Bay of Fundy.

East Mountain Mine/Fraser Property