Nova Scotia is embarking on what many are calling its fourth gold rush — but instead of panning for chunks of gold, mining operations in the province today consist of massive tailings ponds, enormous open pits extracting small traces of gold and a climate toll that one expert says we’re not properly tracking.
Alana Westwood, assistant professor at the School for Resource and Environmental Studies at Dalhousie University, says Nova Scotia’s regulations are woefully behind the times and nowhere near able to keep up with the explosion of new mining claims.
“This is happening across Canada, but Nova Scotia is starting to shape up as a bit of a flashpoint for a national conversation,” she told CTV’s Your Morning on Thursday.
And some experts say the little-understood long-term impacts of contamination from gold mining in Nova Scotia coupled with a new gold rush may be creating a problem of an unknown scale. There have been three gold rushes in Nova Scotia’s history: one in the early 1800s, another in the early 1900s, and the most recent in 1942.