Province releases risk ranking of potentially contaminated old mines – by Frances Willick (CBC News Nova Scotia – July 4, 2022)

Most of the sites with the highest risk scores are former gold mining sites

The province has released its risk ranking of potentially contaminated historical mine sites — a year and a half after it said it would.

The list includes 69 sites strewn across the province that were once home to a range of mining operations dating back to the 1800s. The CBC requested the ranking under freedom-of-information rules.

Most of the top sites are old gold mines, while many of the lower-ranking ones were once home to other types of mines, including copper, coal and limestone. People flocked to Nova Scotia from all over the world in the latter half of the 1800s to hunt for precious flecks of gold.

But gold processing was not subject to environmental regulations at that time, and materials containing chemicals such as mercury and arsenic were dumped on land and in waterways, leaving a legacy of contamination that exists to this day.

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