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“There’s Gold in Them Thar Hills”

By Richard Bell 

Gold’s rise in price, from $1,216 an ounce on July 10 to over $1,300 an ounce at the end of August, is raising the chances of more open-pit gold mines on the Eastern Shore. The area around Atlantic Gold’s Touquoy mine at Moose River Gold Mines has already attracted at least two other mining companies.  

Osprey Gold Development Ltd. has optioned 256 hectares around the site of the old Caribou Gold mine, about 8 kilometers north of the Touquoy open-pit mine. The site is completed surrounded by other Atlantic Gold claim holdings The site contains Halifax Group argillites, the same rocks that contain the disseminated gold being mined at Touquoy. The company is planning exploratory drilling. Osprey also has an option on the Goldenville Gold Project near Sherbrooke, site of Nova Scotia’s largest historical gold production.  

And Genius Properties Ltd. announced on September 14, 2017 that it had staked 243 new mining claims covering an area of 39.3 square kilometers adjacent to Atlantic Gold’s Touquoy open-pit mine. There are old abandoned mines in the area of the claims. According to a company press release, “These gold-bearing structures are all in trend with the magnetic anomaly associated with Atlantic Gold’s four deposits.”  

Atlantic Gold’s plans to truck ore 37 kilometers from a site in Beaver Dam to be processed by the facilities at Touquoy has still not cleared the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency’s review. CEAA sent the company two letters in August, one on August 9 and one on August 21, asking for more information about the environmental impact statement that the company had submitted. Some of the issues mentioned in these letters include fish and fish habitat, lichens (see “New Gold Rush Poses Environmental Challenge,” September, 2017), the impacts of light at night and noise, and concerns from indigenous groups.   

One of the most contentious questions about the proposed Beaver Dam expansion is Atlantic Gold’s plan to dispose of the tailings from the Beaver Dam ore by simply dumping them into the open pit left over after completing the mining of the gold deposit at Touquoy. The company plans to put the Touquoy tailings through an elaborate multi-step process to reduce the possibility that any toxic materials could reach local watersheds. CEAA’s letter of August 9 specifically asks, “the proponent provides an alternative means analysis for the disposal of Beaver Dam tailings.”  

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