Province Delays Tendering of Surface Coal Resources

Department of Natural Resources

April 3, 2006 1:20 PM

The province is scaling back the size of a lease area for a surface mining project at Point Aconi, while putting 13 other potential surface coal mining projects on hold for three years.

Brooke Taylor, Minister of Natural Resources, and Carolyn Bolivar-Getson, Minister of Environment and Labour, discussed the leases after touring various coal mine sites in eastern Cape Breton today, April 3.

"We fully support the economic benefits of coal mining," said Mr. Taylor. "However, we want to see the results of best management practices and new guidelines governing the Point Aconi project. We can learn valuable lessons that benefit all Nova Scotians as we move forward."

Ms. Bolivar-Getson added that there are strict accountability requirements for any project that might affect the environment, and that current and future leaseholders will be monitored closely.

"The Department of Environment and Labour supports a competitive business climate, but is also vigilant in protection of the environment," said Ms. Bolivar-Getson. "Operators must conform to rigorous environmental standards."

On Dec. 28, 2005, the Department of Environment and Labour issued an environmental assessment approval for a surface mining project on Point Aconi proposed by Pioneer Coal.

Once the company receives industrial approval from the Department of Environment and Labour, it will be able to mine the full area for which it applied.

However, that area is only 58 per cent of the block originally tendered by the province. No applications had been made to the Department of Environment and Labour to mine the remaining area.

Thirteen other potential lease sites from the former Devco lease will be put on hold for three years.


FOR BROADCAST USE:

The province is scaling back the size of a lease area for a

surface mining project at Point Aconi, while putting 13 other

potential surface coal mining projects on hold for three years.

     Natural Resources Minister Brooke Taylor and Environment and

Labour Minister Carolyn Bolivar-Getson toured various coal mine

sites in eastern Cape Breton today (April 3rd).

     The ministers say the province supports the economic

benefits of coal mining, but will ensure that best management

practices and new regulations govern the Point Aconi project.

     The 13 potential lease sites from the former Devco lease

will be put on hold for three years.

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Media Contact: Tim Dunne
              Natural Resources
              902-424-5239
              Cell: 902-225-1563
              E-mail: dunnetij@gov.ns.ca