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.
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.