There are signs of equipment and activity in the woods along Highway 104 near McClellan’s brook, Nova Scotia.

A company called 'East Coast Energy' has been given government approval to drill two test wells in the Ford Coal Seam, to examine natural gas deposits.

Company president Julie Cohen says industry reports indicate incredible numbers for coal bed methane content.

“With regards to the numbers and expectations, we would like to be very conservative and wait for you to give us a chance to deliver those numbers,” says Cohan.

The drilling will take place a few kilometers away from an exclusion zone set up around the former Westray Mine.
Allen Aartin says he'll be watching the project closely.         

“There’s always a concern when you're dealing with drilling in this area. We just want to make sure that the mine site is not disturbed. The exclusion zone is there for a reason,”

Nova Scotia Energy Minister Andrew Younger says the project is totally unrelated to the workings of the Westray Mine.

“This is being drilled in a virgin coal seam, or parts of the coal seam that would be virgin. they're drawing the methane out and in fact, if you had already tunneled through the area, you wouldn't be able to draw the methane out,” says Younger.

The company is prepared to comply with every environmental regulation outlined by government, including one that says “no fracking allowed.”

“There will be no hydraulic fracturing in this project,” says Cohen.

The drill rig is expected to be in place next week and testing should take anywhere from thirty to forty days.