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N.S. premier meets with Donkin mine owners, says there is a 'clear path forward'

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Around four and a half months after the Donkin Mine in Cape Breton was closed following a pair of summer roof falls, one of the first glimmers of hope that it will reopen came on Thursday.

"I think there's a clear path forward for them to open the mine,” said Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston.

Houston said he met on Thursday for more than an hour with representatives from the owner of the mine, Kameron Coal. He said that next steps to reopen the mine are up to them – particularly when it comes to further protection against high humidity, like back in July when the roof falls took place.

"The order would require that, would stipulate that the study be done and any additional work that's required be completed by the end of February,” Houston said at a news conference in Halifax following the meeting with mine officials.

Area councilor James Edwards said while he hadn't yet talked to Kameron officials about Thursday’s meeting when contacted by CTV Atlantic, he remained disappointed by what he feels has been a lack of urgency shown by government to get the miners back to work.

"I was hoping for something more concrete today,” Edwards said. "I know several of (the miners) have already gone out West to work for another Kameron facility, but they're Cape Bretoners and they want to stay home in Cape Breton to work and raise their families."

Houston said that during Thursday’s meeting, Kameron officials laid out the safety measures they have taken already, including bolting of the roofs where falls have taken place.

He added that they raised concerns about the length of time the mine has been shut down since the stop-work order was first put in place in July.

The premier said hopefully, things wouldn't take so long in the future.

"We're aware of experts,” Houston said. “We have a relationship with them and we can get to the heart of the matter probably quicker, if there is a 'next time.'"

Houston said in order for Donkin to reopen, any necessary work must be done by February 28. 

For more Nova Scotia news visit our dedicated provincial page.

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