Finding Gold in Nova Scotia

Knoji reviews products and up-and-coming brands we think you'll love. In certain cases, we may receive a commission from brands mentioned in our guides. Learn more.
Gold is found in several places in Nova Scotia associated with Maguma terrane and sediments from the Maguma

In the 1860s a gold rush happened in Nova Scotia that is the reason the author lives in the United States instead of Canada. His Great-Grandfather got caught up in this gold rush. His problem though was he went poaching gold on the Queensland, which was frowned upon by the authorities. My ancestor decamped in a hurry from Nova Scotia for reasons of health. It seems the queens men wanted to make him the guest of honor at a necktie party. He departed from Canada and fetched up in New York where he went to work as a mine rigger at the Tilly Foster iron mine in Brewster, New York.

Today the business of gold prospecting and mining still occurs in Nova Scotia carried on by both weekend and professional prospectors. There has been a resurgence of mining in Nova Scotia over the recent past, and it isn't only for gold but other metals and industrial minerals as well. Nova Scotia has been the site of mining activity of one kind or another since its earliest days.

One foray into Nova Scotia mining was undertaken by a fellow geologist. He had just received his degree in geology when he was hired by a mining company that wanted him to survey some old mine tailings that were left behind from the 1860s rush. When he arrived at the mine site he discovered that the provincial highway department had used all the tailings as crushed stone. He reported to his employer that the roads in Nova Scotia were paved in gold.

Most of the gold is found in quartz veins or as placer deposits on the beaches south of Halifax on the Atlantic Coast. More gold deposits are found in granular magnetite, an iron ore. Hardrock mining of this kind of deposit is best left to the professionals!

You can pan for placer gold along the coast between Halifax and Yarmouth. There are campgrounds, museums and other places where you can pan for gold on the beaches or rivers and streams that drain from the inland in several localities.

The gold bearing rock in Nova Scotia is found associated with the Meguma Terrane a part of Avolonia an ancient island that was attached to Nova Scotia in the late Ordovician and Devonian times. This is represented by quartzite, slate, schist, gneiss along with minor volcanics and iron formations consisting mostly of granular magnetite. These rocks were later intruded with granite, granodiorite and diorite. It is assumed that the gold was deposited from these intrusions by metasomatic means.

The lower Carboniferous rocks are younger contain placer gold caught up in the sediments, especially the conglomerates that are capable of having fossilized deposits of gold entrapped in the rock. Like the oldtimers said, “Gold is where you find it!”

For more information about gold mining go here!

If you like to read about gems go here


Introduction to the Geologic History of Nova Scotia, This website has some excellent maps.

Nova Scotia Gold Panning, Worldwide Web, This website has places to pan for gold.


Abdel-moniem El-Shorbagy
Posted on Mar 23, 2011
Posted on Nov 3, 2010