Cape Breton Coal Exploration Call Issued

Department of Natural Resources

December 5, 2003 1:26 PM

The province issued a call today, Dec. 5, for proposals for
exploration, development and reclamation of coal resources for
four areas of Cape Breton.

The four areas, or claim blocks, are located in Point Aconi,
Broughton, Boularderie Island and Birch Grove areas Cape Breton
Island.

"Nova Scotia still has significant coal resources which can
benefit our province and our communities when mined in an
economically viable and environmentally responsible way," said
Natural Resources Minister Richard Hurlburt. "This is an
opportunity for private industry to pursue mining of coal
deposits."

"The provinces's energy strategy, Seizing the Opportunity,
committed the government to supporting the responsible
development of our coal resource," said Energy Minister Cecil
Clarke. "Today's call for proposal honours that commitment."

The province owns the coal resources of Nova Scotia. This call
for proposals will provide the successful bidder(s) with the
opportunity to acquire the mineral rights to these sites in the
form of a mineral lease. The lessee will be subject to the laws
of Nova Scotia and will be required to obtain land access rights
and all the necessary environmental approvals before mining can
begin. Several of these sites require reclamation work because of
past underground mining operations.

"Reclamation can be accomplished through mining the remaining
coal and reclaiming the area as part of the surface mine
operations," said Mr. Hurlburt.

Mr. Hurlburt also announced that the Department of Natural
Resources will be in a position to tender mineral rights to the
Donkin resource block early in the new year. He said the
department will shortly issue a request for proposals for a
specialist consultant to assist in this tendering process.

"The Donkin resource is the single most significant coal resource
remaining in the Sydney coalfield," he said. "Therefore it is
important for Cape Breton and Nova Scotia that the successful
bidder for this resource is a company that has significant
technical and financial capability to develop the resource in a
responsible manner."

A copy of the call for proposal is available online at
www.gov.ns.ca/natr/meb/mdp/sydneyproposals.htm .


FOR BROADCAST USE:

     The province issued a call for proposals today (December

5th) for the opportunity to acquire the mineral rights to coal

resources for four areas of Cape Breton.

     The four areas are located in Point Aconi, Broughton,

Boularderie Island and Birch Grove.

     Natural Resources Minister Richard Hurlburt says this is an

opportunity for the private sector to develop Nova Scotia's coal

resources in an economically viable and environmentally

responsible way.

     The province made a commitment in its energy strategy to

support the development of Nova Scotia's coal resources.

     The Department of Natural Resources will be in a position

to tender the mineral rights to the Donkin coal resource in 2004.

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Contact: Mary Anna Jollymore
         Natural Resources
         902-424-2354
         E-mail: jollymmt@gov.ns.ca


tdt         December 5, 2003         1:21 P.M.