No to Beaver Dam Mine

Reference Number

I believe the Beaver Dam gold mine should not be approved. It is an ecological disaster waiting to happen. The only way to prevent disasters such as this from happening, is to not allow the actions that cause them to happen at all.

    I work as an Assistant Fisheries Technician for the Nova Scotia Salmon Association on the West River Acid Rain Mitigation Project. This watershed is hugely important to myself, my colleagues, and many people who live in the area and those of us who use the river and surrounding area for fishing, hunting, hiking, boating, foraging, and more.

    The watershed is also ecologically valuable. On land, there are endangered mainland moose, one of Nova Scotia’s most endangered species with less than an estimated 1000 individuals remaining in the entire province. The river itself is also home to two species-at-risk: Atlantic salmon and American eel. These species are important for both the roles they play in the ecosystem as well as their roles in Mi’kmaq and Nova Scotian cultures as sources of food, recreation, and reverence (with moose and salmon in particular being two of Nova Scotia’s most iconic wildlife species). At a time where thousands of species around the world are at risk of going extinct - and even more are considered vulnerable and threatened - we need to be doing everything we can to protect the species-at-risk that we have in Nova Scotia before we lose them. This means saying NO to open-pit mines that post the threat of significantly harming rivers and forests that these species call home.

    This past month, we have been conducting salmon and brook trout redd counts in the Killag and West Rivers. So far, we have found 104 redds! Redds are extremely sensitive, and increased sedimentation will kill developing eggs. Atlantic Gold has already received 32 provincial environmental charges and three federal charges under the federal Fisheries Act at its Touquoy and Fifteen Mile Stream operations. These include charges for allowing sediment and effluent to enter fish-bearing streams. A large enough spill could wipe out an entire generation of salmon and trout downstream of the gold mine. Sediments also increase the turbidity of water, which kills young and adult fish due to stress, inability to eat, and lack of oxygen. That is just what excess silt in the water can cause, let alone the risks posed by effluent containing dangerous chemicals (such as cyanide, sulphuric acid, and arsenic) used and produced in gold mines.

    The West River watershed has had millions of dollars in public and private money, and countless hours of work from scientists, technicians, and volunteers put into it for habitat restoration. The West River Acid Rain Mitigation Project has benefited the river (through our two limestone dosers), the surrounding forests (through our catchment liming project), and the species that reside in them. An environmental accident at the gold mine would put all of this time, money, and effort to waste. It would cause significant harm to the species that many of us have worked so hard over the last 16 years of the project to protect.

    Four to six years of temporary jobs, with the majority of the profits going to an Australian mining company, is not worth destroying an entire river. As a society, we need to be shifting our focus away from economic value for a few to ecological value for many (which is not to say economics and ecology are mutually exclusive, recreational fishing for salmon and other species once and still does provide economic benefits to many regions of Nova Scotia), and the best way to start this is to protect what we have while we still have it. The Beaver Dam gold mine equals short-term gains for some, with long term losses for species-at-risk, biodiversity, and the many people who value the West River watershed for a multitude of reasons. The Beaver Dam mine should absolutely not be approved. 

Submitted by
Nova Scotia Salmon Association
Public Notice
Public Notice - Public Comments Invited on a Revised Summary of the Environmental Impact Statement
Comment Tags
Climate change Fish and Fish Habitat Species at Risk Wildlife / Habitat Surface Water Quality General opposition to project Fishing Recreation Hunting Biodiversity Indigenous Rights
Date Submitted
2021-12-17 - 9:29 AM
Date modified: