Touquoy open pit gold mine in Moose River (contributed)

Debbie Marlborough lives just 15 kilometres as the crow flies — 50 kilometres by road — from the giant crater, massive tailings pond, and mountains of waste rock at Atlantic Gold’s Touquoy open pit gold mine in Moose River.

She’s never been able to make herself go and see it.

Marlborough says that even though everyone says she should have a look at the Moose River mine, she and her late husband, Lawrence Goodland, who died suddenly of a heart attack while walking in the woods near their home on Beaver Dam Road last October, “would never go.”

“We didn’t want to see the destruction that’s over there,” Marlborough tells me.

We’re seated — safely spaced — at the kitchen table in the small off-grid house that Marlborough and Goodland bought in 2015 as a camp, and then turned into their permanent home.

Her recent loss is very raw, and Marlborough tears up often, recalling all the things she and her late husband appreciated about their lives on their two acres that front the West River.

Marlborough says they swam there every day in summer, canoed much of the year, and fetched all the water they need for laundry, cooking and washing from the river.

She grows all kinds of vegetables in a garden behind the house.

Debbie Marlborough Photo: Joan Baxter

The view out the windows, new ones that she and her late husband put in last summer, is enchanting, idyllic. Evening grossbeaks flit like yellow sunbeams from one feeder to another, darting among the maple trees that cover the property. Beyond that is a lake-like part of the West River that is partly covered in ice.

There is a sugar shack beside the house, and Marlborough says she and Goodland tapped 65 maple trees last year. Now that she’s on her own, she can’t manage it, so one of her two sons who lives a half hour away will move the sugar shack to his property.

Marlborough says wildlife abound in the area — bears, rabbits, deer, owls, eagles, and many other birds.

Marlborough, a retired screener from the Halifax airport, says she could never live in the city. She and Goodland, a retired sheet metal worked, moved here from their previous rural home in Rawdon, in East Hants.

“Lawrence was a master bow teacher,” she says. He also hunted deer and fished for trout in the lakes around Beaver Dam.

Marlborough recently set up an archery target among the trees, intent on refreshing her own bow skills. Her daily routine involves a long walk down the Beaver Dam Road.

They set up benches beside the river, and sometimes Marlborough does her yoga down at the river’s edge.

The whole family — her sons and her grandson — go tubing and swimming in West River in the summertime.

West River near Beaver Dam. Photo: Joan Baxter

“And wintertime, you just sit here and there’s nothing, not a noise. All you hear is the river gurgling outside, just gurgling,” Marlborough says. “I sit on the deck and look at the stars. It’s paradise.”

But all is not well in paradise.

A gold mine is planned for paradise

If Atlantic Gold has its way, within a year or two a massive open pit gold mine will be up and running on the banks of the Killag River, just six kilometres down the Beaver Dam Road from Marlborough’s home.

Proposed Beaver Dam mine site as of October 2020

The proposed mine will be right on the edge of the Killag River, a tributary of the West River, and will put at risk 16 years and millions of public and private dollars worth of work by the Nova Scotia Salmon Association (NSSA) and its partners to lime the river and help its salmon population recover from acid rain, as the Examiner reported here.

Atlantic Gold was acquired by Australia’s St Barbara Ltd in 2019 for $722 million, and its subsidiary Atlantic Mining NS currently operates the open pit gold mine in Moose River, which Marlborough cannot bear to make herself go and see.

Nor can she imagine what the Beaver Dam mine will do to the area around the West River that she so loves.

In the last couple of years, Marlborough and her late husband discovered many beautiful places “back there,” where the mine is planned. “There are the most beautiful patches of cranberries, blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries. It’s all going to be gone. I’ll never be able to go in there to pick them again.”

But that is just a small part of her concerns about the mine.

Marlborough’s driveway comes off the Beaver Dam Road, which is the route that Atlantic Gold intends to use to haul the ore from the proposed mine to its Touquoy mine for processing.

Atlantic Gold proposed haul road from 2020 “plain language” summary

According to the company’s June 2020 “Plain Language Summary” of the Beaver Dam project, mine construction will take one year, it will operate for four years, and then it will take two years to close it.

Marlborough says that in the past year or so, as the company prepares for the mine, traffic on the Beaver Dam Road has increased dramatically. On her daily walks she has been encountering many dead snakes, frogs, and other animals that are being run over by all the vehicles on the road.

It’s difficult to imagine what life will be like in her home once they begin construction of the mine, even more so after it goes into operation.

A letter Marlborough received from Atlantic Gold in June 2020 contains platitudes and meaningless claims such as:

Atlantic Gold will reduce dust produced by its operations by 80-90% through dust mitigation actions. Experts have modeled how much dust will be generated by the operations, and with 80-90% reduction, Atlantic Gold will meet the air quality standards at the project boundary and at all homes, cottages and camps.


Wetlands and fish habitat will be impacted in the area where mining will occur. Loss in wetlands and fish habitat will require a Fisheries Act Authorization and a Wetland Alteration Permit. Atlantic Gold will provide offsetting measures. Offsetting measures are fish restoration projects that counterbalance negative impacts on fish or fish habitat.

How much credence should be given to such promises?

Atlantic Gold is facing 32 environmental charges for alleged infractions at and around its Moose River mine.

And, as the Examiner reported here, the company has still not fulfilled a provision of its 2008 Environmental Approval that gave it four years to “develop and implement a plan” to procure conservation land – 256 hectares for protection with high biodiversity value, according to Nova Scotia Environment spokesperson Rachel Boomer — in the vicinity of the Touquoy mine.

The Examiner has repeatedly asked Nova Scotia Environment for an update on this. The last reply from NSE spokesperson Barbara MacLean, on March 10, said only, “We have reached a draft agreement. This is a priority for the new Minister, and we will have an update to provide to you soon.”

Even if Atlantic Gold still hadn’t complied with the terms of its 2008 environmental approval for Moose River, it seems to have no trouble gearing up to open big new mines.

A massive truck every 2 minutes and 36 seconds

The proposed Beaver Dam mine will cover 200 hectares. As the Examiner reported here, its footprint will be enormous:

According to the 2019 submission to the IAAC [Impact Assessment Agency of Canada] by Atlantic Mining NS, the subsidiary of Atlantic Gold that will operate the Beaver Dam mine, the open pit will cover about 30 hectares (ha), be about 900 metres long, 300–450 metres wide, and 170 metres deep.

That means the mine crater will be just 300 metres shorter than Lake Banook in Dartmouth, and more than 14 times as deep. Or, put another way, the mine pit will be twice as deep as Halifax’s tallest building, Fenwick Towers, is high.

Every day for the three years and seven months [different documents provide different figures, with the June 2020 summary saying four years] that Atlantic Gold plans to operate at Beaver Dam, it will blast an average of 35,480 tonnes of rock from the ground, of which 5,480 tonnes will be ore-bearing [containing gold] and 30,000 tonnes will be waste rock. For perspective, every 3.3 days the miners will extract rock that weighs as much as the CN Tower.

In total, the company plans to extract 47.3 million tonnes of rock from the ground, more than the weight of 400 CN towers.

The 2020 Beaver Dam project summary has this to say about the mine’s effect on noise in the area:

Activities such as construction, operation and hauling ore in trucks could affect the noise level at the Beaver Dam area. Therefore, it is important to Atlantic Gold to follow the government rules about noise levels. Pit and Quarry Guidelines limit the noise levels in the area.

Studies predict that noise levels will meet the Pit and Quarry Guidelines at the mine property boundary. Noise levels along
the Haul Road will meet Pit and Quarry guidelines at the property boundary (30 m from the centerline of the road in each direction). Noise is predicted to slightly exceed evening guidelines (by a maximum of 10 m outside the property boundary) at specific locations with tight corners.

Which doesn’t sound all that reassuring. Nor does the company’s prognosis for the effect of the mine on groundwater, streams, and wetlands in the area:

There will be several activities at the mine that could affect these resources. The waste rock management facility could make changes to groundwater. Pumping water out of the open pit mine could change water levels within streams and wetlands near the pit.

Here is what the “plain language” summary says about how the Beaver Dam mine will affect wildlife, including mainland moose, which it describes as “a species at risk” although to be more specific, the species was listed in 2003 as endangered:

Studies show the Beaver Dam Mine Project could affect animals such as black bear, moose and beaver. Effects could include animals moving away from the mine to different habitat areas to avoid increased noise and light levels. Scientists know that animals do not generally live close to mining activities, especially when the mines are being built.

The condescending nonsense and use of the conditional “could” in that paragraph about what the mine will mean for wildlife would be funny, were it not so tragic.

Residents of Mooseland have already expressed concern about the effect gold mining will have on moose in the area.

Touquoy gold mine tailings pond. Photo: Joan Baxter

Atlantic Gold plans to do all the processing — using cyanide to extract gold from ore-bearing rock — at its Touquoy facility, where gold production will have petered out just as it is ramped at the new mines proposed for Beaver Dam, Fifteen Mile Stream, and eventually also Cochrane Hill on the banks of the St. Mary’s River.

All three are currently undergoing joint federal and provincial evaluation by the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada (IAAC).

The plain language project summary states that the haul route is 30.1 km long. Trucks carrying the ore will travel on the Beaver Dam Mines Road to Highway 224, and “once across the Highway, trucks will travel southwest along a 4 km stretch of new construction,” before joining the Moose River Cross Road to the Mooseland Road.

Trucks hauling the concentrated ore the 30.1 km from the mine to Touquoy will make 185 return trips per day between 7 am and 11 pm.

That means that a giant truck, travelling on a gravel road and churning up dust, will be passing Marlborough’s driveway every 2 minutes and 36 seconds, every day for four years.

This is not, however, what Marlborough has been told. In the past year, she says has been visited by two women representing the mine — Veronica Chisholm, Atlantic Gold’s environment and permitting manager, and Chrystal Fuller, community engagement consultant for Atlantic Gold and a principal of Brighter Community Planning & Consulting — who have discussed the project with her.

Asked what she understands about the truck traffic, Marlborough says, “In the beginning, it was going to be 192 return trips per day. So, over 300 and some odd trucks. Now it’s going to be 92 return trips, but it might be extended for another year, instead of four years it would be five years, but it’s going to be 92 return trips a day, which is basically cut in half. And Chrystal said after the first year or second year, it will be even less traffic.”

The last meeting she had with them was in October 2020, before her husband passed away. During that meeting, they asked the Atlantic Gold representatives how the truck traffic would be regulated.

“What is your plan for who’s going to have the right of way?” she recalls asking. “Are the haul trucks going to have the right of way to go across the road? Are they going to stop the traffic on the 224, or are they going to have to stop if cars are coming?”

The answer she recalls getting from the Atlantic Gold representatives?

“Well, we haven’t figured that out yet. That’s a minor detail.”

Marlborough’s driveway

Marlborough says that during the October meeting, Chisholm and Fuller told her that Atlantic Gold would put in a new driveway for her, one directly linking her home to Highway 224, rather than the Beaver Dam Road, where the haul trucks will be roaring past for 16 hours every day.

Marlborough told them that if she agreed to that, she would want the driveway paved, and asked that they put something in writing.

Marlborough received a letter from Chisholm on November 6, almost a month after the meeting and just over a week after her husband’s death, which said that the continued use of the existing driveway on the Beaver Dam Road would be a “safety concern” during construction and operation of the mine, and that a surveyor would be in touch with her to “undertake a constructability assessment” of a new driveway off Highway 224.

It contained this confusing and convoluted paragraph:

The construction of the Haul Road will not permanently impact the existing driveway on Beaver Dam Mines Road. The residence [sic] would like to opportunity [sic] to use the Beaver Dam driveway following the construction and operation of the mine, once traffic is reduced to a level where there are no further safety concerns.

Chisholm did not, however, commit to paving the new driveway, saying only that Atlantic Mining NS (Atlantic Gold) would “evaluate the possibility of paving the HWY 224 Driveway if that remains the request of Ms. Marlborough.”

“One of the lowest cost gold producers in the world”

This seems an appropriate moment to consider what is at stake here for Marlborough, and to provide some perspective on Atlantic Gold.

Marlborough is a retiree in her early 60s who, since the passing of her husband, lives alone in a modest, off-grid home on Beaver Dam Road that she loves because of the peace it affords and the nature that surrounds it. Her ask for a paved driveway is hardly a big one, given what the Beaver Dam mine is likely to do to her whole life, decimating the nature and tranquility that she so cherishes in the area.

Atlantic Gold Touquoy gold mine. Photo: Joan Baxter

St Barbara Ltd, which owns Atlantic Gold, is an Australian gold mining company with mines in three countries, and revenues in the hundreds of millions of dollars, which has so far paid no taxes to either the federal or Nova Scotia governments since it started producing gold in Moose River.

As the Examiner reported here:

Gold produced at the Touquoy mine in 2018 would have had a value of about $205 million, in 2019 about $172 million, and in 2020 about $241 million.

It’s also worth recalling that except for a few hundred thousand dollars in property taxes that Atlantic Gold pays to HRM, according to “ESTMA” reports it must submit to Natural Resources Canada under the Extractive Sector Transparency Measures Act, Atlantic Gold paid $0 taxes to the provincial or the federal government in 2018 and 2019. The 2020 ESTMA report has not yet been submitted.

No surprise, then, that Atlantic Gold is able to boast that it is “one of the lowest cost gold producers in the world.”

Atlantic Gold’s booth at 2020 PDAC mining convention in Toronto. Photo: Joan Baxter

There are many ways of keeping costs low, and none of them is good for Nova Scotia or Nova Scotians.

Nova Scotia’s “sacrifice zone”

The Touquoy mine, as well as the ones planned for Beaver Dam, Fifteen Mile Stream, and Cochrane Hill, constitute what Atlantic Gold calls its Moose River Consolidated Project.[1]

If all three new mines, which Atlantic Gold has called its “string of pearls” in “backyard Canada,” were to be approved, public roads in eastern Nova Scotia would become very busy with truck traffic carrying ore from those mines to Moose River.

Atlantic Gold’s map of its four Nova Scotia mines.

In its March 16, 2021 revised Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) summary to the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada for its Fifteen Mile Stream mine, Atlantic Gold says initially, the concentrated ore will be hauled to Moose River over 73 kilometres of public road, namely:

… along Highway 374 (31 km) to Highway 7, through Sheet Harbour (27 km) and onto Mooseland Road to the Touquoy Mine Site (35 km).”

Then the route will change:

Once the Beaver Dam Mine Project becomes operational, and the Beaver Dam Haul Road has been upgraded as part of that project, haul trucks from the Project are expected to take Highway 224 from Sheet Harbour to the Beaver Dam Cross Road (21 km) and the Beaver Dam Haul Road will be used for the remainder of the haul to the Touquoy Mine Site (24 km).

For its proposed mine at Cochrane Hill, Atlantic Gold’s plan involves appropriation and heavy use of still more public infrastructure. Its 2018 project description for Cochrane Hill says that ore will be hauled 142 km to Moose River for processing, of which 118 km will be on public roads. The project description states:

Gold concentrate will be hauled south along Highway 7 (97 km), through Sherbrooke to Sheet Harbour, and onto Highway 224 from Sheet Harbour to the Beaver Dam Cross Road (21 km). From there, the Beaver Dam haul route will be utilized for the remainder of the haul to the Touquoy Mine (24 km).

The same project description says that 175 tonnes per day of concentrated ore will be hauled on these roads “using a C Train truck configuration,” an “8 axle, 58,500 kg” truck.

That is a big, heavy truck.

The description continues, saying that with a maximum payload of “28.5 t, 6 return trips per day will be required. Assuming a 12-hour shift, this would result in approximately 1 truck every two hours, however, the exact number will depend on the final hauling schedule, truck sizing and road restrictions.”

It turns out that Atlantic Gold intends to seek special dispensation to get around restrictions intended to reduce wear and tear on public roads. Says the project description:

…a 51km section of Highway 7 between New Chester Road and Port Dufferin is subject to a year-round weight restriction of 41,500 kg. The intention for this section of road is to apply for an exemption through NSTIR [Nova Scotia Department of Transport and Infrastructure Renewal].

As if that weren’t enough to expect of the province, Atlantic Gold also intends to take possession of 2.9 km of Highway 7 at the Cochrane Hill mine site north of Sherbrooke, which will be “relocated approximately 1 km to the west.”

Nova Scotia promotes the Eastern Shore region to tourists as a region of “Pristine wilderness, historically-themed attractions, authentic fishing communities, and beaches stretching as far as the eye can see offer explorers an array of off-the-beaten-path adventures.”

The province’s Doers and Dreamers catalogue lauds the “natural beauty” and “relatively low vehicle traffic” along the Eastern Shore. No mention of C-train trucks hauling arsenic-laden ore along Highway 7, or open pit gold mines that would blight the natural beauty of the landscape.

Atlantic Gold Touquoy open pit gold mine in Moose River Photo: Joan Baxter

As the Examiner reported back in 2018 in part 2 of its Fool’s Gold series:

Putting aside the increased risk of traffic fatalities on these public roads with the heavy truck traffic, and the effect it might have on tourism and human well-being in eastern Nova Scotia, there is also the question of what this will cost in added wear and tear on roads and bridges.


Barbara Markovits of Eastern Shore Forest Watch [Association] worries that the Eastern Shore, which has already suffered from such intensive clearcutting, will become “a sacrifice zone” if gold mining proceeds according to industry plans that seem to be heavily supported by government.

Clearcut, then mine

Most of the land slated for mining at Beaver Dam belongs to Northern Timber, an affiliate of Northern Pulp, just as it does at the Touquoy mine in Moose River.

Atlantic Gold map of land ownership (EIS 2019 Map book 1)

When I visited Beaver Dam on February 22, two Irving pickup trucks were parked in the area.

Three weeks later, when I went back to speak with Marlborough, clearcutting in the area had already begun. Although Atlantic Gold has still not submitted its revised EIS to the Impact Assessment Agency, it looks as if — on the ground at least — it’s full steam ahead preparing for the proposed Beaver Dam gold mine.

Asked when the company would be ready to get its revised EIS to the IAAC, Atlantic Gold communications manager Dustin O’Leary wrote:

At St Barbara Ltd, our staff are working diligently to complete a comprehensive submission to IAAC to continue the exhaustive and stringent approvals process on the proposed Beaver Dam Gold Mine. That submission is expected to be made in the weeks ahead and we will look forward to answering questions from regulators, rightsholders and the public upon the federal and provincial government’s acceptance of that submission.

Clearcutting in Beaver Dam. Photo: Joan Baxter

“Money, money, money”

Harry Kelly knows very well what it’s like to live on a road close to a gold mine. He’s lived on the Moose River Road, which goes right through the Touquoy mine, since 1980.

“I can’t drive by it any more,” he tells me in a phone interview. “This idea that a stream or a lake or a river is expendable is deadly thinking.”

Kelly reminds me that back in the early 1970s, the area south of Moose River was considered so special that there were plans to turn it into Nova Scotia’s third national park.[2]

An avid hunter, hiker, fisher, and nature lover, Kelly used to spend a lot of time in the area that Atlantic Gold has turned into a massive open pit gold mine. He recalls that Scraggy Lake was one of Nova Scotia’s iconic trout-fishing lakes

Atlantic Gold has a permit to draw 262.8 million litres of water a year from Scraggy Lake, for which Nova Scotia Environment (NSE) spokesperson Barbara MacLean says the province charges the company $370.48 annually. The effluent from the mine’s tailings facility also flows into Scraggy Lake.

Kelly says that the heavy traffic on the Moose River Road while the Touquoy mine was being constructed turned it into a “road to the apocalypse” that wrecked cars, leaving bits of them scattered all over the rutted roadway. He was relieved when the province agreed to repave the road, but says that in his view, Atlantic Gold should have covered at least some of the costs.

Kelly recognizes that some restaurants and other service industries in the area are benefiting from the mine, and that people need jobs. But he thinks those should be “greener jobs,” not ones that involve destruction of the environment.

Kelly, a retired teacher, says he was already teaching students about climate change 40 years ago. Today, in his view, it is “delusional thinking” to be “digging holes” for gold. “Once it’s done, it’s done forever,” he says.

Kelly points to research that shows gold mining is anything but climate-friendly, and that open pit gold mining is particularly bad. On average, every ounce of gold produced in 2019 accounted for 1 tonne of carbon emissions.

In 2019, Atlantic Gold produced 93,000 ounces of gold in Moose River, so emitting 93,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide, the equivalent of taking 93,000 return flights between New York and Paris.

Carbon emissions from Atlantic Gold’s 2020 gold production at Touquoy would have been the equivalent of taking 106,663 such return flights.

Kelly also worries that the massive tailings facility near Scraggy Lake, where Atlantic Gold plans to store the toxic tailings from all four mines in its Moose River Consolidated Project, has a “shelf life” and that extreme weather events caused by climate change pose a huge risk to the tailings facility and to the lake, and everything downstream from it.

Touquoy open pit gold mine tailings pond (contributed)

We should be thinking “climate, climate, climate, and ecosystem, ecosystem, ecosystem,” Kelly tells me. “Not money, money, money, growth, growth, growth.”

“I’m just an average everyday Joe,” he says. “But I worry about the future, not just for my grandchildren, but also for my children. It’s really that bad.”

“This little old lady has become a lot tougher”

Debbie Marlborough is also concerned about what lies ahead. She wonders where she will be able to walk when the Beaver Dam Road becomes a highway for giant trucks passing every few minutes.

Nevertheless, despite the looming likelihood of the giant gold mine in her neighbourhood, which she believes will go ahead, she has no intention of leaving her home, which she wants to leave to her two sons when it’s her “time to go.”

And even before that, she says, if she can’t manage to live year-round alone in the house as she gets older, she hopes she can rent a little apartment in Sheet Harbour, about 18 km away, and still come and stay in her beloved home overlooking the West River.

Debbie Marlborough beside the West River. Photo: Joan Baxter

Both her sons are “dead against the mines,” and Marlborough says she will never meet again with anyone from Atlantic Gold without her sons or her brother-in-law there with her.

She says her late husband was also opposed the mine.

Marlborough adds:

I think they thought that they would have a fight with Lawrence, because Lawrence told them, “I’m dead set against it. You people do nothing but destruct the land wreck the land.” He said, “All you do is you leave a big hole and the whole province of Nova Scotia is going to be nothing but a hole.”

Marlborough wasn’t much involved in the mine issue before Goodman passed away. He attended an open house that Atlantic Gold held in Sheet Harbour about the Beaver Dam mine, but she only really became aware of it in 2018.

“I think basically I’m one of the very few that they actually have to deal with because I’m the only one on this road,” Marlborough says. “I shouldn’t say this, but they’re probably thinking, ‘all we got now is a little old lady there and we can probably do whatever we need to do and we can talk her into it.’”

Then, with a smile, she adds, “But this little old lady has become a lot tougher since Lawrence passed away.”

[1] The Halifax Examiner has reported extensively on Atlantic Gold since 2018. A sample of those articles is here:

May 23, 2018            Fool’s Gold Part 2: Going for gold and:

Jan. 25, 2019            Friends of St. Mary’s River say “NOPE” to Atlantic Gold

March 15, 2019       Spill at Moose River gold mine raises environmental concerns: Atlantic Gold springs an effluent leak, plugs a new mine, and sells itself to investors

May 17, 2019            The $722 million deal: An Australian company is buying the Vancouver company that owns Nova Scotia’s largest gold mining operation; What’s in it for us?

May 24, 2019            RCMP violently remove and arrest citizen at public meeting about gold mine

May 27, 2019            Setting the record straight on Atlantic Gold’s spin job

June 3, 2019             St. Barbara still intends to acquire Atlantic Gold: The violent arrest of John Perkins has put the critical spotlight on gold mining on the Eastern Shore, but for the mining companies, operating in low-regulation and low-royalty Nova Scotia is, well, a gold mine.

Feb. 5, 2020              Survey says: Why are people calling me with pro-mining propaganda?

Mar. 11, 2020       Atlantic Gold’s incommunicative communications (item in Morning File)

Mar. 25, 2020       Atlantic Gold is waging a propaganda blitz in Nova Scotia

Mar. 29, 2020       The possible horrible legacy of the “Coronavirus Convention” Against suggestions that it be cancelled, 23,000 people from around the world attended a mining convention in Toronto in March.

April 3, 2020            The Moose River betrayal: In 2008, the approval of the Moose River gold mine was conditioned on the mining company giving the province hundreds of acres of conservation land within four years; 12 years later, there’s still no approved plan in place.

April 10, 2020         Mining Association of Nova Scotia uses the pandemic to promote its own agenda

Dec. 23, 2020           Nova Scotia has laid charges for 32 environmental infractions against Atlantic Gold

Jan. 20, 2021            Atlantic Gold is going to court: The St. Barbara Limited company is facing 32 environmental charges, even as more complaints roll in

Jan. 27, 2021          Atlantic Gold paid $0 in taxes in 2019: Even as the company is in court facing 32 charges of polluting the environment, the promised windfall in tax revenue is proving illusionary.

Feb. 18, 2021.          Atlantic Gold says it is getting “into the halls of government” in Nova Scotia, but it has no registered lobbyist.

March 3, 2021.        Greenwashing the goldfields Atlantic Gold “partnership” with St. Mary’s University: Linda Campbell’s work is invaluable, so why is it a mining company supporting it, and not the government?

March 4, 2021.       Sacrificing wild Atlantic salmon for gold: A project that is undoing environmental damage from acid rain finds itself under threat from a gold mine proposed for Beaver Dam.

[2] The plans for the national park were cancelled in 1973, partly because the province didn’t want “to surrender to the federal government huge areas of viable pulp forests that had already been leased to forestry companies,” clearly a reference to Scott Paper, predecessor of Northern Pulp, which was given a lease on more than 230,000 acres of woodland in the Scott Maritimes Limited Agreement Act of 1965, in addition to the million acres Scott already owned in the province.

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Joan Baxter is an award-winning Nova Scotian journalist and author of seven books, including "The Mill: Fifty Years of Pulp and Protest." Website:; Twitter @joan_baxter

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  1. Amazing work. Too much to digest in one reading. It’s too bad that anything in this province that happens outside of Halifax proper gets very little attention.