Sibley Mountain Slate Quarry

One of Nova Scotia's oldest mines was the Sibley Mountain Slate Quarry in Colchester County. From the 1770s to 1860s it provided shingles and flagstones for buildings in Halifax.

Only the early Acadian mines at Joggins, which provided coal for Fort Beausejour and Port Royal, and the French mine at Port Morien, which provided coal for Louisbourg, are known to be older.

The Sibley Mountain quarry was built on land owned by John Olemixon and was commissioned by his close friend, John Wentworth, who became Lieutenant Government of Nova Scotia in 1792.

Prior to his appoint as Lieutenant Governor, Wentworth served as Surveyor General of the King’s Woods in Nova Scotia.

Olemixon brought experienced quarrymen from England to build the quarry along McLean Brook, which was raw wilderness at the time. A two-story manager’s house and workers’ cabins were built, and the quarry produced shingles that were taken by ox cart over a very rough road to Fort Ellis on the Stewiacke River. From there they were taken by barge and schooner to Halifax and overseas to England.

The Sibley Mountain quarry closed mainly because it lost its workers to higher-paying gold mining jobs in Nova Scotia’s first gold rush during the 1860s.

The quarry is a beautiful spot and a municipally-designated heritage site. It has a narrow, gorge-like entrance that opens into the 10 metre-wide and 40 metre long quarry. A retaining wall and the chimney from the manager’s house, pictured below, can still be found.