Historical gold mine
- Ecology &
- Chinese mystery snails
wetlands impacted by 150-year old contaminated tailings be
remediated in-situ to encourage natural recovery?
Note: We are
continuing this research 2021-2025. If you are interested in
potential applications of our research, joining our research group
or would like to contribute to our data analyses, please email Dr. Linda Campbell and Dr.
Please see our historical
gold mine tailings page for more context about the impact
of gold-mining activities 150 years ago.
Wetlands are a valuable ecological resource in
Nova Scotia. Freshwater wetlands provide
important ecosystem services, including nutrient control, flooding
protection, carbon sequestration and supporting biodiversity.
However, gold processing processes 150 years ago relied on
freshwater sources to process the high-arsenic ore through mercury
amalgamation and/or cyanide extraction. After processing, the
finely-powdered material called "tailings" was slurried back into
low-lying freshwater sites as seen in the pair of historical photos
below. Those practices have impacted numerous freshwater ecosystems
and wetlands across the province, exposing those ecosystems to
chronically elevated arsenic and sometimes mercury for decades. The
ecological impacts of the tailings can still be observed to this
by E. R. Faribault, Natural Resources Canada Photo
Library. L: Photo #5214, 20-stamp mill, Dufferin Gold Mine
#5297 Stamp mill engine house and shaft house, Mooseland
Gold Mining Co. (1897). (Open Government Licence - Canada.)
Our team is researching and developing a in-situ
"Reactive Amendment - Protective Capping" (RAPC) application
to support the natural recovery of tailing-impacted wetlands.
Dr. Emily Chapman is leading the development of the RAPC components
and the multi-stage testing of the treatments on wetland sediments.
This is a 5-year interdisclipinary project funded by NSERC
Alliance and St. Barbara Ltd.
We have conducted multiple experiments and R&D projects,
and we are planning a series of laboratory and field experiments
for 2023-2025. The interdisclipinary projects span
ecotoxicology, chemistry, geology, geography, biology and cultural
history topics, and our team includes researchers, collaborators and
students from a wide range of disciplines.
Our projects can be categorized below. More
details will follow.
- R&D of the RAPC materials and benchtop testing
- Ecotoxicology and bioacculation assessments using live
- Geochemistry and speciation investigations of the RAPC
materials and sediments.
- One-year Geochemistry Sediment Column Experiments and
Mini-core experiments. (2022 - 2025)
- Half-year Bucket Mesocosm Ecology & Geochemistry
Experiment (Summer-Fall 2022).
- One-year Field Mesocosm Ecology & Geochemistry Experiment
(Summer 2023 - Fall 2024). The Summer 2023 build is
shown below. We will update this with the field deployment of
DEEHR Team & Collaborators Resources
DEEHR Team & Collaborators
- Jenna Campbell et al. 2022. Assessing the Effectiveness of
Reactive Amendment Protective Capping (RAPC) at Reducing the
Mobility of Arsenic and Mercury in Wetlands Impacted by
Historical Gold Mine Tailings. Poster Presentation for ARC
2022 Conference. PDF
- Liam Hill et al. 2022. Design of a lab-scale tabletop
flow-through wetland mesocosm. Poster Presentation for ARC 2022
- Dr. Emily Chapman's seminar on low-dose selenium additives for
reducing toxicity of gold mine tailing waste to earthworms. Link
video. (note: we are not using selenium, but
those early experiments has informed many of our current
- EEV Chapman, C Moore & LM Campbell. 2020. Evaluation of a
nanoscale zero-valent iron amendment as a potential tool to
reduce mobility, toxicity, and bioaccumulation of arsenic and
mercury from wetland sediments. Environmental Science and
Pollution Research. Published online. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-020-08347-6.
Read online: https://rdcu.be/b3cNZ.
- EEV Chapman, C Moore & LM Campbell. 2019. Native plants
for revegetation of mercury and arsenic-contaminated historical
mining waste - Can a low-dose selenium additive improve seedling
growth and decrease contaminant bioaccumulation? Water,
Air, & Soil Pollution.
online for free: https://rdcu.be/bP9M7.
- EEV Chapman, J Robinson, J Berry & LM Campbell. 2016. Can
a low-dose selenium (Se) additive reduce environmental risks of
mercury (Hg) and arsenic (As) in old gold mine tailings? Water,
Air, & Soil Pollution. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11270-016-2909-9
Read online for free: http://rdcu.be/mFfT.
- Gold: A Nova Scotia Treasure. Comprehensive website resource.
- Nova Scotia Archives "Men in the Mines: A History of Mining
Activity in Nova Scotia, 1720-1992". Link.
- Nova Scotia DNR Geoscience & Mine Branch Maps, Reports
& Data. Link.
- NovaScan Portal. Link.
- Dr. Michael Parsons et al. 2012. Environmental geochemistry of
tailings, sediments and surface waters collected from 14
historical gold mining districts in Nova Scotia. Geological
Survey of Canada. Link
PDF of Open File 7150 (note: large document, 326 pages).
- John Drage. 2015. NS DNR Open File. Review of Environmental
Impacts of Historic Gold Mine Tailings in Nova Scotia. ME
2015-004. PDF Link.
- What do gold mine tailings look like? (PDF file from NS
Environment). Link to PDF.
- HRM Advisory for Barry's Run, Dartmouth NS & legacy gold
mine tailings from Montague. Halifax
Regional Municipality informational website.
- Dillon Consultants. 2019. Halifax Regional Municipality Phase
I/II Environmental Site Assessment Port Wallace, Dartmouth, Nova
PDF file (large document over 600 pages).
- Intrinsik Corp. 2020. Human
health risk assessment of sediment, surface water, and fish
from Barry's Run, Halifax Regional Municipality. (216
- NS Government NS Lands Inc - Request for Proposals Tender
MINE SITES MONTAGUE AND GOLDENVILLE - For Closure Concepts and
Costs". Tender ID NSLAND97 (September 2018. Large
document! 873 pages.)
- Intrinsik Corp et al. 2019. Conceptual
Closure Plan for the Historic Goldenville Tailings Area.
July 24, 2019. Large document (762 pages).
- Intrinsik Corp et al. 2019. Conceptual
Closure Study for the Historic Montague Mine Tailings Areas.
July 24, 2019. Large document (745 pages).
- NS Lands & Forests and NS Lands Inc. NS mining site
clean-up priority list (as of March 11, 2020). PDF.
SELECTED MEDIA MENTIONS (for full
list, go to this page.)
- SMU Press release: AMNS - SMU Partnership. Link.
See media page for reporting.