Tangier Gold District

Nova Scotia has 64 historical gold districts – areas in which gold exploration and/or mining took place in the 1800s and 1900s.

Establishing gold districts allowed the government to administer provincial mineral rights. It also helped avoid the crime, violence and disease that accompanied gold rushes in California (1848) and Australia (1851) by establishing a legal process for staking claims and managing the areas.

Some Nova Scotia gold districts saw a lot of mining but many saw very little.

The Tangier gold district was one of the first established. Gold was discovered there in 1860 and over 600 miners and prospectors arrived in the Tangier area within a year. Government officials laid out mining lots approximately 16 metres wide by 7 metres long along the strike of the veins known at that time. This led to excavation of 114 shafts averaging 22 metres in depth.

Recorded gold production started in 1862 and continued almost every year until 1918. 29,360 ounces of gold were recovered in total.

A lot of gold was lost to the tailings due to the lack of sophistication in processing at the time. It’s estimated that only about 50% of gold was recovered from the ore.

Sometimes mined gold didn’t even make it out of the mine! In 1936, a piece of gold quartz the size of an apple, which contained 20 ounces of gold, was found in a waste rock pile inside the Kent Shaft. Today, those 20 ounces would be worth about $30,000. A number of other nuggets ranging from 1/2 to 4 ounces were also found in this discarded rock.

In contrast, modern mining is a science- and technology-based business. For example, Moose River, one of the most efficient and lowest-cost gold mines in the world, is extracting tiny, often microscopically-small flecks of gold from rock. It's also cleaning up historical tailings.

You can learn more about Nova Scotia's gold districts at http://novascotiagold.ca/…/explo…/carte_dor-gold_map-eng.php