Less than a year after underground coal mining resumed at Cape Breton’s Donkin Mine, dozens of workers have been laid off.

Forty-nine employees – which is roughly a third of the workforce – were given notice at a meeting Tuesday morning.

“You figure you find stable work around here, they tell you that the mine is going to be here for the next 40 years and then they fire you,” says laid off miner Brian Guthro.

A meeting was held 8 a.m. to break the news to the workers. Forty-six of the 49 men terminated were Cape Bretoners.

“I'm there three months now, pretty new. But I turned down a job out west for this,” says laid off miner Mitch Tracey.

The company says the move was needed because the mine was "untenable" and changes had to be made in order to reduce operating costs.

“We need the time and space to revise the mine plan, to switch out the equipment we have right now and go through the approval process to create an economical viable operation,” says Shannon Campbell, vice-president of the Donkin Mine.

Nova Scotia Business Minister Geoff MacLellan says the move is about "aligning costs to revenue" and believes coal is still a viable option.

“I do believe this isn't a sign of worse things to come,” he says. “This is just a temporary bump in the road, but it's a tough bump for sure. I'm going to help out on the government side to make sure we build the employee base and human resources at Donkin when the time is right.”

A timeline on when the new equipment will be put in place is unknown.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Kyle Moore.