Protecting the Environment

Geese flying over wetlands.

Mining for gold in Nova Scotia today is a multi-year, highly regulated process that weighs the benefits and hazards to both people and the environment. Gold mining involves several stages such as prospecting for gold, staking a claim, doing scientific studies of the gold deposit, opening and then closing the mine. Each step involves government approval – sometimes mines need only provincial approval and other times federal government approval is required.

Unlike historical gold mines, modern mining companies cannot leave behind ‘abandoned openings’. Before mining is allowed to begin, companies have to have approved reclamation plans and leave a large financial deposit with the government. Once mining is complete, the site must be left in good enough shape that it can be safely used for other purposes such as recreation.

Mining companies must submit an Environmental Assessment before undertaking any work in the province. All Nova Scotian citizens have the opportunity to have their voice heard regarding any mining activity through this process.

Many different lines of scientific evidence must be gathered and submitted as part of an Environmental Assessment.


Aerial view of an open pit mine.

An aerial view of part of the Pioneer Coal open pit operations in Stellarton.

Photo courtesy of Shirley Robb, Communications Nova Scotia

Aerial view of the same mine, with an athletics field in one section.

Reclaimed mine land.

Photo courtesy of Shirley Robb, Communications Nova Scotia

Close-up of the athletics field and running track.

Detail of the Pioneer Coal Athletics Field in Stellarton, built as part of the mining reclamation process.

Photo courtesy of Shirley Robb, Communications Nova Scotia

The above images show an example of a mining landscape that must be reclaimed according to government regulations. Reclamation efforts by Pioneer Coal Ltd. provided the Stellarton community with a new recreational facility. Similar reclamation techniques are used in the gold mining industry.