Digby Quarry

On November 19, 2002, the Atlantic Canada Chapter of Sierra Club of Canada and the Partnership for the Sustainable Development of Digby Neck and Islands Society called on Nova Scotia’s Minister of Environment and Labour, David Morse, to issue an immediate stop work order and revoke the permit for a massive basalt quarry on Digby Neck until a number of critical issues are addressed.

The quarry company, Nova Stone Exporters, has told its Community Liaison Committee it plans to build a 600 foot pier, to allow large ships to carry the crushed stone to the USA. This clearly indicates that their long-range plans call for a much larger quarry than the 3.9 hectares (approximately 10 acres) that have been approved.

The proposed quarry is within 50 meters of the Bay of Fundy. The quarry operation's blasting to remove the basalt from the ground will impose serious hazards on marine life. These hazards are outlined in Chapter 3 of the Department of Fisheries and Ocean's "Guidelines for Blasting." Of particular significance is section 7 which requires that no blasting is to be knowingly detonated within 500 meters of any marine mammal. Whales are present in the White Cove area - some species for only four months of the year, others up to 10 months of the year and seals are present in the area for 12 months of the year. Because the proposed quarry is less than 50 meters from high water mark, and marine mammals are found within 500 meters on a year-round basis, the blasting will impose serious hazards.

Forty to fifty 45,000-tonne (PanaMax-size) vessels annually will carry the quarried basalt to market, increasing the potential of mortally wounding endangered right whales. Approximately 50% of all northern right whale deaths occur as result of ship impact and roughly a third of these occur in the Bay of Fundy.

The quarry company claims that 31 full time jobs will be created. This is totally out of line with the amount and rate of aggregate that can be extracted from a 3.9 hectare quarry. More importantly, the potential loss of jobs and negative impacts on the fisheries and eco-tourism industries on Digby Neck and Islands would negate any positive effects this quarry may have on the economy.

In August 2003, the Federal Minister of Department of Fisheries and Oceans recommended that the Federal Environment Minister refer the proposed Digby Mega-Quarry project to a joint panel review, and a Joint Panel Review was established in November 2004. 

The Sierra Club of Canada's Atlantic Canada Chapter participated in all stages of the environmental assessment of the quarry, and gathered experts to explain the impacts of the quarry on the Bay of Fundy ecosystem, right whales, greenhouse gas emissions, and Canada's ability to protect the environment within current free trade agreements.

The Public Registry  for the Environmental Assessment (EA) lists all documents and presentations made from the public, government departments, and Bilcon as part of the federal environmental assessment.

The Joint Review Panel that was struck to evaluate the environmental impacts of the quarry has completed gathering information necessary to make their recommendations regarding the Whites Point Quarry and Marine Terminal project, and has announced they will release their conclusions on October 13, 2007. Their recommendations will be delivered to Nova Scotia's Minister of Environment and Labour and the federal Minister of Environment, who will then decide if the quarry will proceed.

Posted on August 11th, 2003 -
The Federal Minister of DFO recommends that the Federal Environment Minister refer the proposed Digby Mega-Quarry project to a joint panel review, and a Joint Panel Review is announced.

Posted on November 4th, 2004 -
Under the Joint Panel, public consultation began in November, 2004 to draft the Environmental Impact Studies Guidelines to present to the proponent, Bilcon of Nova Scotia, (a New Jersey Co.). The Guidelines will provide direction to Bilcon in preparing a statement of the anticipated effects of the project on the environment.

Posted on March 31st, 2005 -
The Joint Panel reviewing the proposed quarry project today released the final Guidelines for the preparation of the Environmental Impact Statement. The Panel has asked Bilcon to provide a schedule indicating the anticipated timeframe to produce the EIS.

September 14th, 2005 -
The Joint Panel reviewing the White Point Quarry and Marine Terminal Project in Digby County, has been notified by Bilcon of NS that it will submit the EIS to the panel by Dec. 15, 2005

July 13 2007 -
The Joint Review Panel for the Whites Point Quarry and Marine Terminal concluded all information gathering on the project, and announced that they will release their recommendations regarding the quarry on October 13, 2007. Click here to view the press release from the panel.

October 23 2007 -
The Joint Review Panel releases a ground-breaking report, recommending rejection of the Digby Quarry project and changes in coastal zone management, mining regulations, community consultation, and ballast water regulations. Please see the report by going here.

November 21, 2007
Nova Scotia Minister of Environment and Labour Mark Parent announced that he accepts the joint panel review panel's recommendation to REJECT the Digby Quarry project. Other recommendations of the panel, such as the development of a coastal plan, changes in mining regulations and moratorium on mines on the North Mountain were not addressed in the Minister's decision. Please go to the Department of Environment and Labour's press release.

February 5, 2008
Blicon filed notice of intent to the government of Canada that they will appeal the decision to reject the Digby Quarry.


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