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.

See more...
Basic Data
NameGranite quarrying in Cap Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada
ProvinceNova Scotia
Site 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 CommoditiesGranite
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).

A) If the Canso project meets environmental and corporate approvals, construction could begin as early as 2018, bringing with it an anticipated capital investment of $80-million to $100-million (U.S.) and as many as 150 direct and indirect jobs. Over as many as 50 years, developer Vulcan Materials Co. wants to blast and chop up to 400 million tonnes of its granite to ship down the Atlantic coast, where it would be used in roads from Virginia to Florida. (2)

B) Kluscap (or Kelly Mountain). The Mining Association of Nova Scotia hopes to develop a quarry in the area of Kellys mountain in Cape Breton, but the Mi’kmaq say the land is sacred.

The picturesque landscape is covered by the Kluscap wilderness and considered First Nation's holy ground, but the association believes there’s an aggregate deposit of over 2 billion tonnes on the mountain in New Harris, Nova Scotia. .Protesters from First Nations communities gathered near the mountain Saturday, Nov. 25, 2017.

“This mountain is sacred to us because it is the departure point of our hero in Kluscap,” says protester, Suzanne Patles. “It is the home of the Kluscap caves where we performed ceremonies.”

Executive director for the Mining Association, Sean Kirby says construction of a quarry could potentially employ dozens.

“If we were able to make a quarry there it would employ about 80 people directly for a half century so it's a tremendous economic opportunity for the province,” says Kirby. “ Johnanna Padelt from the Inverness Chapter Council of Canada says it’s not the first time the idea of mining or quarrying on Kelly’s Mountain has been discussed. She was part of a group protesting against a company called Kelly Rock Ltd., in the late 1980's.(6).
Project Area (in hectares)360
Level of Investment (in USD)100,000,000
Start Date1989
Company Names or State EnterprisesMining Association of Nova Scotia from Canada
Vulcan Materials Co. from United States of America
Relevant government actorsMining Association of Nova Scotia
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersAssembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Chiefs.

Sacred Mountain Society (SMS).

First Nations Environmental Network.
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingIndigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Social movements
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Mi’kmaq First Nation
Forms of MobilizationCreation 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-economic ImpactsVisible: Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Violations of human rights
OtherImpact of wilderness which is of spiritual value to First Nations.
Project StatusProposed (exploration phase)
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCompensation
Under negotiation
Development of AlternativesConserve wilderness and sacred spaces, Support tourism.
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.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 and Materials

(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]


(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]

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]

(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]

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

Other Documents

Source: Globe and Mail
[click to view]

Source: JEREMY FRASER Cape Breton Post . December 17, 2017
[click to view]

Meta Information
Last update16/07/2018