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Developing Canada’s critical mineral supply chain in Nova Scotia

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A key player in Canada’s vital mineral supply chain, Nova Scotia manages a long-standing legacy to pioneer mining and exploration while aiming to meet the demands of the low-carbon future.

Through exploration, mining, refining, manufacturing, and recycling, the province of Nova Scotia plays a significant role in Canada’s vital mineral supply chain as the nation strives to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 while also achieving low-carbon economic growth.

Over 3,200 people from a population of just over one million work in Nova Scotia’s exploration and mining sector, which also generates about$ 400 million in annual economic growth. For this region’s thriving exploration and mining industry, we have a very educated workforce and an outstanding service/supply sector. There are several deep-water ports in Nova Scotia that are normally ice-free and accessible all year long.

As a mining province, Nova Scotia

In addition to producing gold, coal, and gypsum, Nova Scotia has a long history of producing these commodities, with mining operations dating up at least to 1720. For what are now referred to as essential minerals ( copper, zinc, manganese, etc. ), Nova Scotia had numerous historical mines. These first mines demonstrate the province’s varied mineral endowment, which can be effectively explored for new crucial mineral deposits and contribute to the global supply of these minerals.

Exploration companies are currently concentrating primarily on the South Mountain Batholith in the province’s south region, the largest hybrid batholilith exposed in Appalachians, despite its enormous potential for difficult rock lithium mining.

Immediately, Nova Scotia will publish its Essential Mineral Strategy. Instead of limiting exploration or mining of various minerals, this strategy aims to concentrate individual and financial resources on the minerals needed to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

In order to create its list of essential minerals, Nova Scotia used four criteria:
Prospective for exploration and the discovery of a mineral resource within the province
Requirements for Nova Scotia to achieve its emission reduction targets include net-zero emissions by 2050 and 80 % of energy produced from renewable sources by 2030.
Recent and/or anticipated supply and demand imbalances on a global scale, as well as
The likelihood of providing a proper opportunity andnbsp for the province is as follows:

16 minerals, including antimony, cobalt, copper, graphite, iron, gallium, lithium, magnesium, molybdenum, nickel, rare earth elements ( REEs ), tantalum, tungsten, and zinc, are regarded as critical by Nova Scotia.

Nova Scotia’s downstream vital mineral projects

Five of these characteristics will be covered in more detail below as they highlight Nova Scotia’s different geology and significant potential for discovering and creating important mineral projects.

Pegmatites bearing spodumene in Brazil Lake

In southwestern Nova Scotia, the Brazil Lake lithium project is located about 300 kilometers west of Halifax and 25 kilometers north-northeast of Yarmouth. The very evolved, spodumene-bearing pegmatites are found in the meta-sedimentary and mega-volcanic rocks of the White Rock Formation. The metal sequence commonly found in peraluminous granites is paragenetically comparable to the mineralization of the Brazil Lake pegmatites. Li, Rb, Sn, and Be levels are found to be geographically anomalous in the sampling results. The powerful host minerals spodumene, potassium feldspar, slight accent cassiterite, and beryl, which are all found in drill core and outcrop, correspond to these, both. More mineralization may be present and has not yet been found in this area of Nova Scotia, according to local exploration activities.

According to JORC ( 2023 ) guidelines, the Brazil Lake lithium project mineral resource estimate as of August 6, 2023, was reported as 10.01 MT@1.20 Li2O at a cutoff grade of 0.33 percentLi2.O. Three spodumene-bearing pegmatites—the Army Road, North, and South sites—are combined to produce this estimate of mineral resources.

Data from 167 diamond-drill holes with 33, 311m of core are included in the Mineral Resource Estimate.

Coxheath shortly to mid-stage Cu, Mo, and Au porphyry-episodic system

The Beechmont 30km2 evolutionarily linked porphyry-episodic system property, which is divided into three distinct adjoining claim groups, including the historic Coxheath deposit, is being constantly explored and defined by Nova Copper Inc., a privately held young mining company with 100 % control and ownership. This property is close to Sydney, which has a deep-water, year-round, ice-free port.

A connected copper-gold-molybdenum polymetallic porphyry-episode system is connected to a mix of greenfield and brownfield sites with numerous mineralized zones. Andnbsp, The deposit is found within a delayed Precambrian, medium- to fine-grained hornblende diorite pluton that penetrates the basalt and basaltic basaltic volcanic layer.

There are 30 000 meters of historical drilling, 175 drillholes, and considerable geoscience data, including flying surveys, that have all been digitalized.

Scotia Mine ( gypsum, zinc, and lead )

A fully owned subsidiary of EDM Resources Inc. ( EDM), Scotia Mine Limited, is the owner and sole owner of the built and permitted mine and mill that make up the Columbia Mine. About 60 kilometers north of Halifax, close to Halifax International Airport, is Scotland Mine.

canada's critical mineral supply chain, nova scotia

The Windsor Group’s Carboniferous sediments, which are located on top of Horton Group geological rocks and meta-sedimental rocks of the Meguma Supergroup, predominate in the local geology. A dolomitized carbonate reef, the mineralized rock ( Gays River Formation ) can form as a basal breccia/conglomerate or come into direct contact with paleotopographically high basement rocks. Massive and/or dispersed oxide make up mining, and Gays River is thought to be a deposit similar to that found in the Mississippi Valley.

In the Gays River region, zinc and lead were found in 1972. In the 1980s and 2008, the Scotia Mine was run. The mine and all of its assets were bought by EDM Resources ( previously known as Selwyn Resources Limited ) in 2011.

With total reserves of 13.66 million tonnes and a zinc equivalent grade of 3.09 % ( 2021 Updated Pre-Feasibility Study NI 43-101 Technical Report ), the Scotia Mine mineral reserves are categorized as either proven or probable. The Scotia Mine has strong economics, with a pre-tax NPV of$ 174 million, an IRR of 69 %, and projected annual cash flows of$ 13 to$ 41 million over the course of its lengthy 14-year mine life.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans is awaiting a permit for the Scotia Mine, which is anticipated to start operating commercially in 2025.

Tin-indium property in East Kemptville

The East Kemptville Tin-Indium Project, which is situated about 45 kilometers north of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, close to the formerly owned Evalon Advanced Materials Inc., is the sole owner of the company. By road, the property is about 300 kilometers away from Halifax.

The Cambrian-Ordovician Meguma Terrane, a series of intertwined, metasedimentary rocks intruded by Eocene granites of the South Mountain Batholith, the largest hybrid batholilith exposed in the Appalachians, is where the East Kemptville Tin-Indium Project is situated.

The deposit is a greisen-hosted deposit of tin, copper, zinc, silver, and indium, with the regional leucogranite of the South Mountain Batholith, which came into contact with Meguma Supergroup metasediments, being primarily altered by alteration and mineralization.

The former East Kemptville Tin Mine, which produced 56.1 MT of 0.163 % Sn ( Rio Algom Limited, 1983 ), is currently undergoing redevelopment. Avalon Advanced Materials Inc. published a preliminary economic assessment ( NI 43- 101 ) in 2018. This re-development plan is primarily an environmental remediation project that involves processing the 5.87 MT stockpile of earlier mined oxidized, low-grade mineralization, supplemented by the careful mining of 9.2, tin mineralisation from the two main deposits that is near-surface in grade.

Graphite Frenchvale Flake

Mount Cameron Minerals Inc. is working on the Graphite Frenchvale Flake Project on the graphitic marble and schist in Precambrian rocks on the eastern flank of the Boisdale Hills, at Frenchvale, 25km west of Sydney. The mineralised marble has been identified along a strike length of approximately 9.5km, with up to 300m wide zones. A 1,300m diamond-drilling program identified an area west of Campbell Lake where ten holes intersected up to 40m of high-grade graphitic marble, extending about 400m along the strike.

nova scotia

Early-stage diamond drilling and geophysics have been done on the property by Mount Cameron Minerals Inc. There have been primary studies done on mineral processing, and the findings are encouraging.

On this property, a NI 43-101 report is being created and will be made public soon.

Recovery of Brownfield Minerals

Nova Scotia is looking into ways to remove waste minerals from the environment. Due to Nova Scotia’s centuries-long mining history, tailings material containing important metals are produced. Due to the following factors, these metals may presently be financially recoverable:

  • anticipated decrease in energy requirements for crushing and grinding operations ( the material has already been screened and crushed )
  • Mineral processing methods have advanced, allowing for the economical recovery of minerals at lower concentrations.
  • At the time of first processing, some minerals found in tailings were either not found or were never thought to be valuable. As a result, no effort was made to get them back. Examples of these minerals include, among others, rare earth elements, gallium, and germanium.

Reprocessing tailings may also have the advantage of reducing sulphides, which will reduce the ability for acid production and make remediation and reclamation processes easier.

Potential of Nova Scotia in advancing Canada’s vital mineral supply chain

The province is well-positioned to be a key player in the crucial mineral sector, which will even create interesting opportunities for Nova Scotians. This is due to the province’s abundance of natural resources, sound economic principles, experienced labor, strategic location, solid business and scientific communities, and favorable geology and location. The future of Canada’s essential minerals supply chain is promising thanks to a different geology that makes it easy to find new crucial mineral deposits, as demonstrated by the examples above.

Matthew Boyle

Matthew Boyle is a distinguished Smart City Consultant, renowned for his expertise in IoT (Internet of Things) and cutting-edge urban technology solutions. With a deep understanding of Smart City initiatives, Matthew excels in leveraging IoT innovations to transform urban landscapes into efficient, sustainable, and connected environments. His strategic insights and hands-on experience in urban planning, data analytics, and IoT implementation make him a trusted expert in the field. Matthew Boyle is your go-to consultant for navigating the complex world of Smart Cities, ensuring seamless integration of IoT technologies, and unlocking the potential of data-driven urban solutions. With his guidance, your city can thrive in the digital age, enhancing quality of life and fostering a sustainable future.

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