MOOSE RIVER, N.S. -- Workers at a gold mine in rural Nova Scotia have voted to unionize, citing issues including work conditions, health and safety concerns, and wages and promotions.

The employees of Atlantic Gold, a subsidiary of Australian gold mining company St Barbara Ltd., joined the United Steelworkers union after receiving certification by the Nova Scotia Labour Board.

Marty Warren, the union's director for Atlantic Canada and Ontario, says 164 new members have joined the union, including muck truck operators, heavy equipment operators, graders and mill workers.

He says the wages and working conditions at Atlantic Gold are significantly inferior to the standards in the mining sector.

Warren says the next steps include electing a bargaining committee and negotiating the first collective agreement with the employer.

The mining operations in Moose River, about 100 km northeast of Halifax, include one producing open-pit gold mine and three others in development.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 22, 2021.