Gypsum

Early days of gypsum mining at Walton. Horse and cart used to haul gypsum rock to the train loading station circa 1920. R. CLARK PHOTO.

Early days of gypsum mining at Walton. Horse and cart used to haul gypsum rock to the train loading station circa 1920. R. CLARK PHOTO.

GYPSUM is a very important industrial mineral primarily used in the manufacture of wallboard for building construction. Nova Scotia is one of the largest producers of natural gypsum rock in the world with annual exports ranging from 2 to 6 million tonnes.

Francis Parker mined gypsum at the South Mountain Quarry and exported the rock from Petite (Walton) in 1820. Small sailing ships tied up along the river bank and workers used wheelbarrows to load the cargo. In 1836 the Petite Plaster Mills Company exported gypsum from the North Mountain Quarry from the plaster wharf near the present aboiteau. Records show 10,000 tonnes of gypsum were exported from Walton in 1871. E. Churchill and Sons operated a gypsum quarry in Walton in . They built a shipping pier for loading ships and barges and added a wharf extension in 1889. By then over 40,000 tons per year of gypsum were being produced. In 1913 Mr. Parsons interested the Rock Plaster Manufacturing Company to invest in gypsum mining in Walton.

Gypsum train at the Walton wharf circa 1920. Albert Parsons on the right and engineer Percy Sanford. R. CLARK PHOTO.

Gypsum train at the Walton wharf circa 1920. Albert Parsons on the right and engineer Percy Sanford. R. CLARK PHOTO.

A railway was built between the quarry and wharf in 1913 and a year later a mill was built to process ore using a steam powered generator. In 1927 Atlantic Gypsum Products Company constructed an up-to-date mill and in 1929 the railway was discontinued in favour of trucks. National Gypsum Company took over the operation in 1947  and subsequently exported over 200,000 tons of gypsum per year. Quarries extended from South Mountain, North Mountain, Fry Mountain, Finnice Mountain and Stephen’s Mountain. Gypsum Mining ceased in 1972 due to the small vessel size able to dock at Walton.

Busy Walton harbour in 1956. MV Union Pioneer loading gypsum on the left and the MV Malios loading barite. R. CLARK PHOTO.

Busy Walton harbour in 1956. MV Union Pioneer loading gypsum on the left and the MV Malios loading barite. R. CLARK PHOTO.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s