The coal seam is 3.8 km out under the ocean. Donkin coal is said to be low ash, high BTU and good metallurgical coal. A thick seam, allowing extraction of 8.1 tons of coal per foot. In Virginia most coalmines produce two tons per foot. This mine has other significant advantages. It is close to two Nova Scotia Power plants, close to shipping and close to Europe. The total coal reserve has been identified as a half Billion tons. Sixty percent of this coal is recoverable and Cline and Kameron Coal plan to mine two million tons a year. Production is to start in late 2016. During the first year of operation they plan to mine a half million tons of coal, enough to fill the needs of Nova Scotia Power. They plan to double that production in year two and production will grow to two million tons a year. The main market for this coal will be the European market. In 2017 they plan to build a coal preparation plant.

Officials noted that there has not been an underground coalmine in Cape Breton in 15 years. Technology has changed and NS mine regulations have not been updated, and are proving to be a hurdle. Noted that mining equipment suppliers are no longer in Cape Breton. Estimate that fro every coal mining job, 5 support or spin off jobs result. Said there are 46 employees at the Donkin mine today, and no First nations workers.

Estimate there will be 135 mining jobs when the mine is in production. They expect to truck coal to the Nova Scotia Power plant and or to Sydney harbor for export. They expect 100 trucks a day (20 trucks, 5 round trips a day). There will be 35 additional jobs on the mine surface and the jobs for truckers (will contract out). They will need mechanics, electricians and, equipment operations. They met recently with NSCC about possible mine electrician training program. And they also met with the provincial department of Labour and Advanced Education (LAE) about training. The mine management expect to pay workers $25-30 per hour. The Donkin mine will use a “Room and Pillar” method of extracting coal. In late 2016 they hope to have one Room and Pillar section in operation. By late 2017 they plan to have two sections in production. Each section will produce about a half million tons of coal a year.

Below is a more detailed breakdown of employment opportunities and timelines: For One Mine Section: (Day shift and Afternoon shift). Estimate a Total of 90 underground miners for two sections. Already there are 45 workers at the mine. Eventually they plan to have four sections producing for a workforce of 180. This is a non-union operation paying medical and pension benefits.


  • 1 Section Forman
  • 2 Continuous Miner operators (Made by Joy)
  • 4-6 Roof Bolt Machine operators (by Fletcher)
  • 6- Battery Haulers- transporting coal out of mine.
  • 1-2 Scoop operators (frontend loaders)
  • 1- Certified Electrician
  • 1- Certified Mechanic
  • 1 General Labourer
  • 2 “Outby” Workers- labourers to apply rock dust, cleaning, pumping water.

There is a Midnight Crew that addresses all maintenance to ensure efficiency.

  • Forman
  • 3-4 Labourers
  • 3-4 Mechanical/ electrical staff


  • By late 2017 owners plan to build a coal preparation plant and besides construction jobs, they expect there to be a maximum of 20 workers in this plant on a 24/7 operation.
  • Forman
  • Electrician and Mechanic
  • 2-3 Labourers or dozer operators


  • 3-6 workers- operating forklifts, loading, unloading trucks, receiving inventory. They will need basic computer skills.


  • Engineer
  • Human Resource manager
  • Warehouse manager
  • Safety officer


  • 20 trucks making five round trips a day to Nova Scotia Power and or Sydney Harbour. This trucking will be contracted out.


  • 4-5 security workers- contracted out.


Contact the Mi’kmaw Economic Benefits Office (MEBO), 902-562-4700.