News release

Cape Breton Coal Exploration Call Issued

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: