Cape Breton massive coal mine looking for workers… in Alberta

Cape Breton massive coal mine looking for workers… in Alberta

A view of the Donkin headland, Cape Breton. (Image from archives)

Halifax-based Kameron Coal, a subsidiary of U.S.-based giant Cline Group that is getting ready to open the Donkin coal mine in Cape Breton, is holding its first job fair this week.

The event, booked for Tuesday, will not be held in Canada’s East Coast, but in Grande Cache, Alberta, where a mine in that community shut down last month, CBC reports.

The company, which is looking for people with experience in room and pillar mining, has spent almost a year on getting the mine ready for production, which is expected to happen in late spring.

Plans for bringing the mine back to life located less than 30 km from the deep water port of Sydney, have been in the works for eight years, since the Nova Scotia government granted permission to get the site ready for coal production.

The now-defunct Cape Breton Development Corporation (DEVCO), even dug the necessary tunnels in Donkin in the 1980s. But the project was abandoned before the mine opened because of a drop in coal prices.

When the Crown corporation closed the last coal mine back in 2001, the provincial government allowed the mine to flood with ocean water to save the cost of constant pumping.

In recent months, the mine has been pumped out and the company have made quick progress on setting up necessary infrastructure and machinery.

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Kameron has said it will send its first coal to Nova Scotia Power under a trial agreement, which will test the quality of the fuel and a number of other factors to determine whether it will be able to provide what the utility needs.

If everything goes as planned, a more permanent arrangement will be negotiated between the miner and the provincial power company.

That will mean that, instead of importing coal from the U.S. and Colombia, as it does now, Nova Scotia Power will once again burn locally produced coal at its generating plant in Lingan, located not far from Donkin.

The Cline Group, headed by self-made billionaire and coal mining magnate Chris Cline, is one of the top 20 coal producers in the U.S. with a capacity of about 10 million tons per year. The company has a 35-year track record of building coal mines in Illinois and selling coal to power plants across the U.S. and in 23 countries around the world, and its safety record is said to better than the Canadian average.

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