Malagash is best known as the location of Canada's first rock salt mine, which operated from 1918 through 1959 under the Malagash Salt Company Ltd.. Despite there being a large amount of unmined salt left under Malagash, the mine was closed due to the shallow Malagash Harbour. A better harbour and rail spur existed at Pugwash, where a new shaft was sunk in 1956.
After the mine closed in 1959, the main industries in Malagash reverted to agriculture and fishing. A modern government wharf serves a small lobster and groundfish fleet. The Jost Winery produces wine from grapes grown in the temperate microclimate of Malagash, one of the few places in northern Nova Scotia where grapes can grow.