Exploration Highlights

When it comes to mineral resources, Nova Scotia offers tremendous opportunity. The province boasts competitive advantages over many jurisdictions, including diverse geology and a strategic location along the eastern seaboard of North America, with deep-water ice-free ports, well-established infrastructure, and an educated, skilled workforce. Its ′One Window′ regulatory process provides clarity and timely service to mining and exploration companies doing business in the province. This includes a streamlined environmental assessment process and success with Aboriginal consultation. Staff members of the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources (NR&R) provide professional service and expertise to the mineral industry and numerous other clients.

The Government of Nova Scotia implemented a Mineral Incentive Program in 2012 to assist prospectors and exploration companies in the search for new discoveries and to advance projects closer to production. To further support exploration and the province′s commitment to the mineral industry, the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources implemented an on-line Mineral and Petroleum Rights Registry System in 2013. The modern registry provides global access to a secure, map-based system for acquiring mineral and petroleum rights in Nova Scotia.

The Nova Scotia ′advantage′ along with strong prices for gold, base metals and rare earth minerals continue to support a healthy mining and exploration industry for prospectors and companies in Nova Scotia.


Nova Scotia hosts more than 60 historical gold districts. Record high gold prices bode well for companies exploring in the province′s many gold camps. In Nova Scotia there are ten advanced gold properties, nine of which have NI 43-101 compliant resources. The inventory of gold in Nova Scotia, from existing resource estimates, totals 1,808,200 ounces in the measured and indicated categories and 2,496,900 ounces in the inferred category.

Work continues toward a mine and mill re-start of the Dufferin Gold Mine. In 2013 pre-existing underground workings were dewatered to carry out detailed underground mapping and sampling. Phase II of the re-start will include surface and underground drilling, test mining, metallurgical testing and refurbishment of the existing mill facility. Phase III will include completion of the NI 43-101 resource estimate, an economic analysis and estimate of mineral reserves. Production is anticipated in 2013.

The Moose River gold property holds an approved Environmental Assessment, detailed feasibility study and a Mining Lease. The Touquoy deposit is a low-grade bulk-tonnage gold deposit with a National Instrument (NI) 43-101 compliant resource of 534,000 ounces of gold in the measured and indicated categories and 122,000 ounces of gold in the inferred category.

Exploration and advancement continue on numerous gold properties in the province including Cochrane Hill, Mooseland, Goldenville, Tangier, Forest Hills, Goldboro, Harrigan Cove, Mill Village, Fifteen Mile Stream and Beaver Dam.

Rare Earth Elements (REE)

Nova Scotia has exploration potential for rare earth element (REE) and rare metal deposits. The existence of anomalous occurrences of REE in Devono-Carboniferous, Th-rich, peralkaline granite intrusions, and in an overlying suite of felsic and mafic volcanic rocks, was first discovered in northern Nova Scotia in the 1970s. More recent exploration focused on these rocks has revealed numerous new REE occurrences.

To date, exploration has returned promising results, including several surface exposures with REE concentrations >1% total REE, and having enrichment of heavy REE. In addition, a current mapping project by the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources has determined that the potential for REE deposits in this composite plutonic/volcanic sequence extends beyond the location of original discovery into other areas underlain by these rocks in the Cobequid Mountains.

Rare Metals

Deposits of rare metals (Li, Ta, Nb, Be, F, Rb, Cs), along with deposits of Sn, W, Zn, Cu, Ag and In, are associated with the Devono-Carboniferous peraluminous granitic rocks of southern and eastern mainland Nova Scotia. In addition to the 56 Mt East Kemptville Sn-Zn-Cu-Ag deposit, which was mined by Rio Algom between 1985 and 1991, there are numerous other prospects and occurrences in the granites and contiguous metasedimentary rocks that have received varying degrees of exploration. Currently, the East Kemptville deposit and several sites along its contact zone are undergoing evaluation for rare metals. Rare metals are also being sought in the Brazil Lake/Deerfield area of Yarmouth County.

Base Metals

Exploration work continues to further evaluate the base- and precious-metal potential of Precambrian volcanic rocks in the Coxheath Hills area of Cape Breton Island. Detailed mapping, airborne survey programs and drilling have confirmed a 600 metre-long volcanic belt enriched in copper-molybdenum, surrounded by a copper-gold zone, to a depth of 300 m. The property has potential for a low-grade high-tonnage copper-gold deposit and a high-grade molybdenum porphyry deposit.

The Jubilee lead-zinc-barite deposit is also located in Cape Breton Island. Jubilee hosts an independent NI 43-101 compliant resource estimated at 3.1 million tonnes grading 4.71% zinc (inferred). The Gays River lead-zinc mine has Environmental Assessment and Industrial approvals for a mine expansion.

Southeast Cape Breton Island has a cluster of granite-hosted Cu-Pb-Zn-Ag-Au deposits. These deposits are known as the French Road or Oceanview deposits; they have characteristics indicative of the intrusion-related gold deposit type, or more recently named, thermal aureole gold (TAG) deposits. There are examples of these interesting deposits in the Oceanview area that have only ever undergone sporadic exploration. Never has there been a systematic, modern exploration of this interesting terrain in Nova Scotia.

IOCG Deposits

A four year regional-scale exploration program was recently completed in the Cobequid-Chedabucto Fault Zone for Iron Oxide-Copper-Gold (IOCG) deposits. An extensive ground-run gravity survey, has verified that there is potential for this mineral deposit type in Nova Scotia. More than ten drill-ready targets were delineated and a detailed IP survey and a deep drillhole were recently completed on the highest priority target, producing promising results.