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Frustration, concern growing over Donkin Mine stop-work order

It was not business as usual at Dearn’s Corner, a gas and convenience store, on the way to Donkin, N.S., on Monday, and it hasn't been for months now.

“Our numbers are down probably 70 to 100 customers a day with the mine not operating at full capacity and with a small business like this, you can imagine how much that can affect our bottom line,” said Kevin Buchanan, owner of Dearn’s Corner.

Miners stop for fuel and food, but with more layoffs announced Friday and Kameron Coal saying the Donkin Mine is now idle with no timeline for operations to resume, its left community members and business owners like Buchanan looking for answers.

“It's just horrible. It's very discouraging how long this has gone on from now until July,” he said.

The mine received a stop-work order in July after two rock falls and the company has been waiting for provincial approval to resume operations. The mine has had several safety inspections in the last four months and it still has not received that approval.

“Our company has 2,000 shareholders, many of whom are Nova Scotians, so today they're asking themselves all the same questions, for an event where no one was injured, nor did any equipment get damaged, why was Donkin kept under a stop work order for this long,” said Dawson Brisco, president and CEO Morien Resources Corp.

Morien Resources, which has royalty interest in the mine, says this stop-work order is one of the longest in the province's recent history.

“So what should have been a 30-day review period somehow morphed into a four-month stop-work order with no timeline on completion,” said Brisco.

The Donkin Mine in Cape Breton is pictured. (Kyle Moore/CTV Atlantic)

Cape Breton Regional Municipality councillor James Edwards is personally calling on the Nova Scotia premier to intervene and says the closure is devastating for the close to 200 employees and their families.

“There's no such thing as a good time for this, but six weeks before Christmas,” said Edwards.

Both PC MLAs John White and Brian Comer declined interviews on Monday, but Comer said by email a consultant is in place to review the site and the department is expecting their findings this week.

For more Nova Scotia news visit our dedicated provincial page. Top Stories

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