Cape Breton coal mine layoffs a 'temporary bump in the road,' minister says

HALIFAX _ Nova Scotia Business Minister Geoff MacLellan says word of 49 layoffs at Cape Breton’s Donkin coal mine is tough news for the families affected.

However, MacLellan says the layoffs are a “temporary bump in the road” for the operation, which had grown to a workforce of 130 people since production began in March.

He says while the mine has made tremendous investments in the operation, it has reached a point where its costs aren’t matching its revenues.

MacLellan says the rising value of the Canadian dollar isn’t hurting Donkin, although the company had hoped to be further along in its production schedule and the amount of coal sold on international markets.

He says he’s confident the mine will rebound because the long-term market for coal is viable and the mine’s product in terms of quantity and quantity is “top shelf.”

MacLellan says Kameron Coal Management will be bringing in new equipment that will be subject to a regulatory process the province is willing to help with, although he stressed there would be “no back doors” used to speed things up.