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Donkin, N.S., coal mine set to reopen this summer

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WATCH: A job fair is being held tomorrow in Grande Cache, Alta., to lure people from Cape Breton back to the island. The Donkin coal mine is set to reopen in the coming months, with the expectation of over 100 full-time jobs being created. Environment groups say it’s bad idea that the provincial government is allowing coal mining to continue when the province is trying to limit greenhouse gas emissions, but the government says it will meet its targets. Global’s Steve Silva has more – Jan 4, 2016

HALIFAX – There are still conditions to meet, but the coal mine in Donkin, N.S., is on track to reopen this summer, according to the company behind the project.

“The idea would be to continue with meeting the demands of any market, and if there continues to be a demand, then there are people that will be willing to meet that demand,” Kameron Collieries consultant Tanya Collier MacDonald said over the phone from Sydney Monday.

About 30 people are working at the site, which hasn’t been operational since 1992, to prepare it, she added; another 90 full-time jobs are expected to be created at the mine over the next year or so.

“I’m discouraged to see that Nova Scotia is seriously thinking about opening a coal plant in 2015. It doesn’t seem like good long-term planning for our province,” said Catherine Abreu, energy coordinator for the Ecology Action Centre, an advocacy group. “When China starts talking about phasing out coal, you know that this is a dying industry.”

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Andrew Murphy, acting executive director of Sustainability and Applied Science Division at Nova Scotia Environment, said the mine will emit one megatonne of greenhouse gas per year.

“To put that into context, Nova Scotia’s economy as a whole emitted about 18 megatonnes last year,” he said.

On Dec. 30, 2015, a request for proposal was posted on the government’s website looking for “consulting services for greenhouse gas mitigation options for underground coal mines.”

The government is aiming to cap the amount of emissions to at least 10 per cent below 1990 levels, which is about 18 megatonnes, said Murphy.

“We anticipate that we’re going to meet that goal by 2020 whether this project [happens] or not,” he said, adding that measures are in place to do so.

Kameron Collieries is holding a job fair tomorrow in Grande Cache, Alta., with the goal of attracting people from Nova Scotia to go back to the province to work at the mine.

Nova Scotia Power is completing a test burn with the coal, according to Collier MacDonald. Potential buyers of the coal are in and outside of Canada, she added.