A proposed gold mine on Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore has dredged up concerns about mercury and arsenic contamination in the area from 125 years ago. Toronto-based Anaconda Mining Inc. wants to develop a 125-hectare surface and underground mine just outside Goldboro, N.S., about 250 kilometres east of Halifax.
The company submitted its environmental assessment last month, and on Sept. 19, Environment Minister Margaret Miller said it was not detailed enough for her to make a decision whether to approve the project.
Public and government feedback on the project shows that some are worried the mine’s activities will disturb sites contaminated by gold mining as far back as 1893.
“Our experts warn us that disturbance to these contaminated surfaces may reintroduce this source of toxicity,” reads a joint submission by the Nova Scotia Salmon Association and the Atlantic Salmon Federation, which goes on to note that Anaconda’s report does not adequately address that concern.
History of contamination
The Goldboro area has been mined extensively through the years and historically, mercury and cyanide were used to extract gold from the rock.
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