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As intimated elsewhere in this paper, operations in search of gold in Nova Scotia have been prosecuted almost invariably in the veins of quartz in situ. In the few localities where alluvial mining has been carried on the means employed have been, as in other countries, those of the cradle, long-tom, and sluice, but more especially the latter. But even in the few alluvial auriferous deposits which have yet been discovered free gold is only found in small quantity. In such places the surface soil is usually found to be profusely interspersed with fragments of auriferous quartz, with boulders and pebbles of what had been its enclosing rock. The processes referred to merely wash off the earthy matter from the mixed material, retaining the free gold and the fragments of quartz and other rocks. From the latter the quartz is separated and subjected to the stamping mill. This may seem a tedious process, and it requires much care; but in the few localities which have favored the operation, it has proved very remunerative. In some instances, and generally where the situation favored such a process, the whole of the surface material has been run through the stamping mill, as the more profitable mode of saving the gold contained in it.
The Nova Scotian gold, as taken from the matrix, is almost singularly free from alloy, a fact which, in a very material degree, exempts the gold hunter there from difficulties which beset him in many other parts of the world. As to the mode of reducing the auriferous quartz, slate, &c., and extracting the gold therefrom, numerous processes have been tried. For pulverizing quartz the first apparatus employed--not considering the rude and temporary appliances hurriedly improvised on the first discovery of gold-was the stamping mill. Since then, and more especially during the first two or three years of Nova Scotia's goldmining history, numerous other contrivances, involving some variety of mechanical principles, have been tried. We have had improved specimens of the rude arrastra, the Chilian mill, the revolving pan and sphere, the " dry process" of pulverizing quartz by passing it through a rapidly revolving cylinder, and various combinations and varieties of these. Some processes which I have not had opportunities of inspecting have also been employed for a time. But all others have, as yet, been, by practical men, sooner or later discarded in favor of the old stamping mill.
In the appliances used for amalgamation there has been almost as great a variety, but a pretty nearly uniform process has eventually been adopted. Quicksilver is deposited in quantity in the stamper-boxes. As a thin stream of water runs continually into each stamperbox while the mill is in operation, the finer and lighter particles of the triturated gangue are being constantly washed out, through a wire gauze or finely perforated plate, upon a sloping table, the sides of which converge, and, at its lower end, conduct to a succession of sluiceboxes which form a gradual descent. The bottom and sides of this table and these sluiceboxes are covered with copper plates. In some mills, instead of sluice boxes, there are provided shaking tables, the superior advantages of which yet remain, I think, to be proved. By this mode a greatly preponderating portion of the gold freed from its matrix never leaves the stamper-box, but amalgamates and remains there with the quicksilver. The particles of both metals, thrown out by the mechanical action of the machinery and the current of water, are caught upon the copper plates, over which, for a time, they are carried.
This is the mode of treatment which, thus far, has met with the most general approval. It is of not unfrequent occurrence that when a new comer from abroad enters a mining district he regards somewhat scornfully the simple processes I have briefly sketched; but it invariably happens that, after indulging in some-frequently very expensive-experiments in setting up the latest improvements," he falls back into the old mode, or some very slight modification of it. That all the gold is saved by this treatment is more than any person would be justified in saying. For about the first year of gold mining in Nova Scotia most mills had in connection with them kilns for roasting the quartz before it was subjected to the stamps. It was discovered, however, or supposed to be, that no profit was made by this, and that, indeed, the balance, if any, was on the other side of the account.
It is certain that in most auriferous quartz veins mispickel (arsenical pyrites) is found, in some of them in large and numerous masses. It may be safely averred that all of this is impregnated with gold; and, owing to the difficulty, if not impossibility, of amalgamating any considerable portion of the gold so associated by the simple process above described, a considerable quantity must be lost. Latterly some proprietors of mines have carefully separated this arsenical pyrites from the tailings of their quartz mills, barrelled it up, and sent it to Europe, where it has been subjected to chemical treatment and has yielded, I have been led to believe, a good profit to the owner. I am not aware that a like treatment has yet come into use in Nova Scotia.
I must here observe that the sodium amalgam, of comparatively recent discovery, where experimented with in the mines of this province, has produced highly gratifying results, and is gradually creeping into general use.
OF MINES OTHER THAN GOLD.-In treating of the mineral resources of Nova Scotia other than auriferous deposits, and more especially of its coal fields, I find myself even more at a loss to speak definitely than in dealing with its gold mines. This difficulty is owing to the very imperfect character of the geological and mineralogical explorations that have yet taken place in the province. To explain this, again, I must be historical to the extent of a few
In 1826, at which time little or nothing was known of the geology and mineralogy of the
country; all the minerals reserved to the crown in granted lands and all those in crown lands were granted by George IV to his brother, the late Duke of York, for a term of 60 years. This grant virtually transferred nearly all the mineral products of Nova Scotia. The property thus conveyed to the Duke of York eventually came into the hands of the "General Mining Association," a powerful English company. While the whole mineral resources of the country were thus locked up by a monopoly, little or no disposition was shown, either by the provincial government or private individuals, to ascertain what the extent of those resources was. At length, after years of irritation, probably on both sides, and some not very successful efforts on the part of the Nova Scotians to possess themselves of a share of the mineral wealth of their own country, an arrangement was effected between the provincial government and the General Mining Association in August, 1857, which was confirmed by the Nova Scotian legislature early in the ensuing year, and went immediately into effect. According to this arrangement the association were allowed to retain, with some ameliorations in the terms of their lease, all the coal seams contained in about 75 square miles, comprising the mines already opened and worked by them at Sydney, Point Aconi, Lingan, and Bridgport, in Cape Breton, the Albion mines in Pictou, and Springhill and The Joggins in Cumberland. The association, on their part, relinquished all claim whatsoever to the mines and minerals throughout the remainder of the province. Almost immediately upon the conclusion of this arrangement there commenced an activity previously unknown in Nova Scotia in exploring for minerals, and more especially for coal, outside of the tracts still retained by the General Mining Association. Years must yet elapse before the results of this still actively continued exploration can enable us to form anything like a close approximation to an estimate of the area of Nova Scotia which is underlaid by available coal seams, or of the aggregate quantity of coal which may be extracted from those coal beds and put in the market. I shall, however, give a brief outline of what seem to be the possibilities of the country in this respect.
It has already been stated above that of the 18,600 square miles of the total area of the province of Nova Scotia about 10,000 square miles belong to the geological formation throughout which auriferous deposits are found. Let us deduct from the remaining surface of the province that portion which belongs to the new red sandstone formation, associated with trap rock. This is represented by a narrow strip of land varying from two to five miles in width, extending along the south shore of the Bay of Fundy, from Brier island to Cape Blouridon, and also some islands and isolated headlands on both sides of Minas basin and Cobequid bay. All the remainder of Nova Scotia belongs to the carboniferous formation. The productive coal measures of this formation naturally divide themselves into the following independent coal fields:
The North Hants and South Colchester coal basin presents no good, natural cross section,' although it is bisected in nearly equal halves by the Shubenacadie river. Thin seams of coal have been discovered at several points near the margin of this basin, but no mines have been opened, and its value as a productive coal field yet remains to be proved.
The North Colchester field comprises a narrow strip between the Cobequid Hills, on the one side, and the shores of Minas basin and Cobequid bay on the other, and extending from the vicinity of Parrsborough to the confines of Pictou county. Coal has been mined to a small extent, but, although several seams have been discovered, they are so thin that to work them to any extent, in the present state of the coal and labor markets, would not prove remunerative. The Cumberland coal field is much more extensive. At the western confines of this district, at a place called The Joggins, the shore of Chiegnecto_bay affords a remarkably fine cross section of the whole formation. Here may be observed upwards of 70 coal seams, compris-ing an aggregate thickness of over 40 feet. The more important workable seams, taken in descending order, are of the respective thicknesses of five feet, one foot nine inches, two feet nine inches, five feet, four feet, and five feet, being six in all. Two of these seams are worked on the Joggins shore by the General Mining Association, who there hold four square miles of mining territory. From three to four miles east of the Joggins mine are the Victoria and Lawrence mines, on opposite sides of the navigable river Hebut. Further east, and fronting upon the navigable Macan river, is the Macan mine. On the east side of the same river and lying contiguous to each other are the mines of the Chiegnecto, the St. George, and the New York and Acadia companies. All of these mines have been opened within a comparatively recent period, and all are supposed to be worked upon some of the same seams which exhibit themselves upon the Joggins shore, although none of them conform in every particular to any of the beds found at the latter place.
Near Northumberland strait, the extreme eastern shore of Cumberland, some coal seams have been discovered which are supposed to be the equivalents of those seen at The Joggins, but none of workable thickness have there been exposed as yet,
At a place called Spring Hill, in the interior of this county, and near the northern base of the Cobequid Hills, about 20 miles southeast of The Joggins, the General Mining Association. possess a tract of four square miles. A seam of excellent coal, 12 feet in thickness, has here been found, but no proper mine has yet been opened. The explorations made of late years by other lessees, outside of the association's tract, seem to indicate that there are several available coal seams in this vicinity; but the partial nature of those explorations and a very considerable degree of disturbance of the strata, which is a characteristic of the district
and a serious difficulty to the explorer, precludes our forming anything but a vague estimate of either the number or extent of its coal beds.
The Pictou coal basin lies about the centre of the county of the same name. Considering how comparatively limited is its horizontal extent, it comprises an enormous aggregate thickness of coal beds. The most important seams of good coal known, as yet, in this district are of the respective thicknesses of 38, 22, 6, 111⁄2, Ï‡ (“oil coal,") 19, and 13 feet. In the centre of this district the General Mining Association have an area of four square miles, and at their colliery, known as the Albion mines, have carried on operations for many years. Surrounding this colliery on every side are others which have but recently been opened. Judging from its development thus far, the horizontal area underlaid by the above-mentioned seams, including what is believed to be an eastern extension of the Albion mines coal measures to Merigonish harbor, may be roughly estimated at not less than 30 square miles. Upon this space there are eight collieries now in operation, and preparations are being made for opening several others.
The Antigonish coal field comprises a small portion of the northeastern coast of the county of that name. Some small coal fields have been found in the vicinity of Pomquet harbor, and in consequence of this, explorations are being prospected with the sanguine hope of discovering one that can be worked with profit.
The productive measures of the Inverness coal field seem to be confined, for the most part, to a narrow band of country near the coast. A mine has recently been opened at Port Hood upon a seam of good coal, averaging six feet in thickness. Other coal seams, varying from three to seven feet in thickness, are found along the coast at Mabon, Broad Cove, and Chimney Corner. Although showing no extensive deposit on the shore, these beds, like the one being worked at Port Hood, dip seaward and are probably the outcrops of an extensive coal field under the waters of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. In the southern part of this county, along the river Inhabitants, coal has been found in several places, and there are promising indications of a valuable deposit of that mineral, but, owing to the comparative remoteness of the place from navigable water and the existence of so much coal elsewhere in the province in more favored situations, little exploration has been made in this locality.
This River Inhabitants district may more poperly be considered a northern extension of the Richmond coal field, which comprises, along with the tract just mentioned, all the western and middle portion of Richmond county. Here, all along the north side of Lennox Passage, from St. Peters west to the Strait of Canso, good indications of coal are found, although the stratification is, in places, very much disturbed. At Seacoal bay, in the southwestern part of the county, a mine has been opened upon a bed of coal and bituminous shale, nearly 12 feet in thickness, and of which four feet only are worked as a coal seam. The dip is here nearly vertical.
The Richmond mine is four miles inland, and northward of the last mentioned. Here two seams of three and four feet respectively are being worked. Their dip, as at Seacoal bay, is nearly vertical.
Victoria county has also its special coal field, isolated from any that have yet been, or will hereafter be described. Coal has been discovered on the north side of St. Patrick's channel, in the vicinity of the Wagamatkook and Baddeck rivers; but no mine has yet been opened, nor have explorations been there prosecuted to any extent.
The last, and in all probability most extensive and most important coal field which I shall have to describe, is that of Cape Breton. It extends along the eastern coast from Cape Dauphin, near the southeastern extremity of Victoria county to an unknown point nnder the waters of Mira bay, off South Head or Point Gage, a distance of about 40 miles. Along this whole coast band, the productive coal measures are found extending inland for a distance of from seven to nine miles. The contained coal beds dip northeastward, thus indicating the more than probable existence of an immense body of coal beneath the sea. Notwithstanding the explorations which have been prosecuted with spirit and diligence for some years past, it is impossible as yet to state with confidence the number of coal seams of sufficient dimensions to be profitably worked in this fine district. I may state that not less than 20 of these seams have been opened and worked, and that these opened seams comprise an aggregate thickness of over 100 feet of superior coal. The whole district of these productive measures covers a horizontal area of from 250 to 300 square miles. All that portion of the district immediately adjoining the coast is under lease, and there are 16 collieries here in operation. These are all of recent origin, except those of the General Mining Association at North Sidney, Lingan, and Bridgport. Here is the largest tract retained by this association. It covers all the land extending along the line of coast from the north side of Boularderie island to a point about a mile south of Bridgport basin, and comprises over 60 quare miles. A cross section of the association's ground, on the north side of Sidney harbor above, shows no less than 34 seams of coal; but of these only four have yet been worked. I may observe that all the coal yet found in Nova Scotia is soft bituminous coal.
In our present still very limited knowledge of the real extent of the productive coal measures in Nova Scotia and their available contents in coal, any estimates of either the one or the other might be so remote an approximation to the truth as to be of very little practical value. It can only be said, in general terms, that the circumstances of that Province point to an enormous future development of that branch of mining.
The following figures showing the total amount of coal raised and shipped. in Nova Scotia, in tons and hundred weights from 1827 to 1867, inclusive, will exhibit the progress of its trade in this particular :
The slight falling off during the last two years is to be attributed to the abrogation of the "reciprocity treaty" between the Provinces and the United States.
The law of Nova Scotia relative to coal mines, as well as to all other mines other than gold, may be briefly summed up thus: The first step to be taken by the party intending to invest is to apply to the department of mines for a "license to search" upon whatever ground he may have selected for that purpose. The application must be accompanied by a payment of $20, and the filing of a bond to make good any damage done to private lands, and the license is not to cover more than five square miles, and it holds good for one year. At the expiration of this license, the holder thereof may, out of the ground covered by it, select one square mile; this area to be enlarged under certain special circumstances, over which, upon the payment of $50, he can obtain a "license to work," which holds good for two years. If, during this period, he shall have commenced "effective mining operations," he is entitled to receive a lease, terminable in 1886, but renewable On such leases there is reserved a royalty of 10 cents on every ton of 2,240 pounds of coal; eight cents on every ton of iron, and five per cent. on all other minerals except gold, the royalty upon which has already been stated.
I may here add a few remarks as to the presence in Nova Scotia of the other more important reserved minerals. Copper has been found at several localities. Mining operations have been carried on for some years past in a bed of cupriferous clay, containing nodules of copper, in the carboniferous formations, at Tatamagouche, Colchester county. As this happens to be a place where the minerals have been granted with the soil, I have no reliable means of knowing what degree of success has attended the venture, What were considered promising indications were found a few years since, at Cheticamp, Inverness, and a Copper Mining Company commenced work there; but their operations have not yet proved successful. This mineral is also found in thin veins and detached masses, in the form of native copper and of the gray sulphuret, green carbonate, and oxide of that metal, at numerous points in the trap rock, on the shores of the bay of Fundy. At some localities in the vicinity of Polson's lake and the head waters of Salmon river, on the confines of Antigonish and Guysborough counties, there are to be found large and numerous masses of copper ore, yielding from 5 to 20 per cent. of metal; but no real lode has yet been discovered.
At Gay's river, near the northern bounds of Halifax county, the boulders of lower carboniferous rock scattered through the surface soil over a tract of country considerable as to extent, as well as the soil itself, are profusely interspersed with galena, seeming to indicate the vicinity of an important lode of that mineral. Washed samples of this ore afforded 17% per cent. of lead, and this lead gave 11 ounces per ton of silver.
The only other useful mineral known to exist in quantity in Nova Scotia, of which mention need be made, is iron. On this head I will make some extracts from a work by the writer of this paper, entitled "Nova Scotia considered as a field for emigration," published in 1858:
The most western deposit of any extent yet discovered occurs at Clements, on the south side of Annapolis basin. The outcrop of the vein may be traced on the surface for the distance of a mile, with an average thickness of nine feet six inches. The ore consists of scales of specular iron, firmly cemented together and mixed with silicious and calcareous matter, and it has been in part converted by heat into magnetic iron
It yields from 33 to 40 per cent. of cast iron, the quality of which is said to be very superior. “A bed of iron ore occurs at Nictau, also in the county of Annapolis, and is similar to that found