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Brunswick Mines, Bathurst

In his fourth report on the Geological Survey of the Province of New Brunswick in 1842, Abraham Gesner stated, “New Brunswick is abundantly stored with valuable minerals that are capable of supplying the means and strength of greatness”. Later in 1864 Loring Bailey the professor of geology at the University of New Brunswick wrote:

… I may yet say that in no part of the Province have I been so much pleased with the prospects of mineral wealth and the probability of valuable discoveries as in the eastern portion of Gloucester County ... I have no doubt that the discovery of extensive and valuable metalliferous lodes would be the reward of a thorough and intelligent exploration of this district

Time proved both of these geologists to be right. The massive sulphide mineral deposits discovered in the area called the ‘Bathurst Camp’ have proved to be one of the world’s largest reserves of zinc and lead. Today the mine is operated by Xstrata Zinc Canada, owner of Brunswick Mine. The Bathurst Camp is an area approximately 50 km in diameter with over 30 known mineral deposits. The mine called Brunswick No. 12 south of Bathurst has been in operation since 1964 and is one of the largest underground mines in the world. After 50 years of work the mine has produced almost $20-billion worth of mineral wealth. The ore body is located within steeply dipping volcanic and sedimentary rock units. Although the primary commodity is zinc, the massive-sulphide ore body produces lead, zinc, copper, silver, gold, bismuth, antimony and cadmium.

Colour graphic illustrating ore deposits and movement of rocks beneath Brunswick

Massive sulphide mineral deposits discovered near Bathurst were formed in an ancient sea-bottom. Water circulating through the sediment concentrated minerals along volcanic domes and faults. Undersea features called ‘black smokers’ can be formed as superheated water ejects sulfur-bearing minerals from chimney-like vents.