N.S. gold mine cutting jobs as extraction work winds down

The open pit of the Touquoy gold mine is seen amid the surrounding forests in Moose River, N.S. (Steve Lawrence/CBC - image credit)
The open pit of the Touquoy gold mine is seen amid the surrounding forests in Moose River, N.S. (Steve Lawrence/CBC - image credit)

Nova Scotia's only gold mine is cutting dozens of jobs as it winds down operations after five years.

St Barbara, the Australian company that owns the Touquoy gold mine in Moose River, N.S., said in a statement on Thursday that 44 positions are being eliminated. Ten other workers are being offered "alternative opportunities."

Overall, the company said it's reducing the number of jobs in its Atlantic operations from 292 to 182, but 56 of the positions being eliminated are already vacant.

Staff were informed of the cuts on Jan. 3-4, the statement said, with mining activity expected to wrap up by the end of January. Workers still employed at the mine will mill ore stockpiled at the site.

The open pit mine opened in 2017, and is located about 60 kilometres northeast of Halifax. It's the only operating gold mine in the province.

Environmental concerns

Last year, environmentalists raised concerns about a proposal by St Barbara's Canadian subsidiary, Atlantic Mining Nova Scotia Inc., to raise the height of a wall around a tailings pond at the site.

A provincial court judge also ordered Atlantic Mining Nova Scotia to pay $250,000 in fines and other penalties in February 2022, after it pleaded guilty to federal and provincial environmental charges.

Steve Lawrence/CBC
Steve Lawrence/CBC

Atlantic Mining Nova Scotia admitted it had failed to properly test for the level of sediment in water that could be hazardous to fish habitat, and that it had failed to report findings regularly to government, as required.

St Barbara has proposed developing three other gold mines in the province. All are at different stages of environmental review.

The company also has operations in Australia and in Papua New Guinea, according to its website.

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