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Granite quarrying in Cap Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada

Several struggles in Cape Breton against quarrying, e.g. in Kluskap’s Mountain, of spiritual importance to Mi’kmaq people. Opposition to extraction of aggregate for road building in the US. Similar cases in Canso and elsewhere.


We shall consider two related protests, out of many. One is about Kluscap mountains, a sacred area (also known as Kelly Mountain). The second is in Canso, Guysborough County.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Granite quarrying in Cap Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada
State or province:Nova Scotia
Location of conflict: Canso, Guysborough County, Cap Breton; also in Kluskap Mountain.
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Establishment of reserves/national parks
Building materials extraction (quarries, sand, gravel)
Specific commodities:Sand, gravel
Project Details and Actors
Project details

(This refers to one of the proposed quarriesin Canso.. The Kluscap (or Kelly) mountains is another famous case, (4).

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Project area:360
Level of Investment:100,000,000
Start of the conflict:1989
Company names or state enterprises:Mining Association of Nova Scotia from Canada
Vulcan Materials Co. from United States of America
Relevant government actors:Mining Association of Nova Scotia
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Chiefs.
Sacred Mountain Society (SMS).
First Nations Environmental Network.
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Social movements
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Mi’kmaq First Nation
Forms of mobilization:Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Street protest/marches
Arguments for the rights of mother nature
Refusal of compensation
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Violations of human rights
Other socio-economic impactsImpact of wilderness which is of spiritual value to First Nations.
Project StatusProposed (exploration phase)
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Under negotiation
Development of alternatives:Conserve wilderness and sacred spaces, Support tourism.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:Some of the proposed sites for quarrying granite still under discussion by 2017. The Mining Association of Nova Scotia is proposing "land swaps" (although it is difficult to swap sacred sites).
Sources & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

(5) Moving Mountains: Community and Resistance in the Isle of Harris, Scotland, and Cape Breton, Canada. A Fiona D Mackenzie and Simon Dalby. Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, Carleton University,

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada;
[click to view]

(4) Alf Hornborg, Canadian Review of Sociology/Revue canadienne de sociologie 31(3):245 - 267 · July 2008. Environmentalism, Ethnicity and Sacred Places: Reflections on Modernity, Discourse and Power.
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

(1) Cape Breton Mining project protesters slow traffic on Kluscap Mountain. JEREMY FRASER Cape Breton Post . December 17, 2017.
[click to view]

(6) CTV Atlantic, Cape Breton First Nations protest mining on Kellys Mountain . Nov 25, 2017.
[click to view]

(3) Between a rock and a sacred place on Kellys Mountain. Cape Breton Post. Nov 19, 2017
[click to view]

(2) Ballad of Fogarty's Cove: The Nova Scotia legend, a hard reality and a quarry; clash between cultural preservation and economic development. JOSH O'KANE. GUYSBOROUGH COUNTY, N.S. Globe and Mail. 2016.
[click to view]

Northern Cape Breton quarry expansion approved. Chris Shannon ([email protected]). Province attaches conditions to Money Point project

SYDNEY, N.S.The provincial government has approved the Money Point quarry expansion in northern Cape Breton following an environmental assessment review.

The decision was released by Environment Minister Iain Rankin on Friday afternoon along with conditions that must be met. Dexter Mining Inc. of Bedford wants to increase production at a gravel quarry it currently operates on top of Money Point Mountain, near Bay St. Lawrence, to 50,000 tonnes per year for the next 40 years.
[click to view]

Owner of Cape Breton quarry aims to expand operation

If approved, Rhodena quarry would grow from 4 to 17 hectares

Frances Willick · CBC News · Posted: Jun 20, 2017
[click to view]

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Last update18/08/2019
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