November 13, 2023 - Morien Resources Corp. ("Morien" or the "Company") (TSX-V:MOX), today provided an update on the Donkin Coal Mine (“Donkin” or the “Mine”) in Nova Scotia, owned and operated by Kameron Collieries (“Kameron”), upon which Morien has a 2% to 4% royalty interest.
In consideration of a 118-day long Stop Work Order (“SWO”), in effect since July 15, 2023, Kameron has made the decision to lay off the remaining hourly workforce at the Mine and to place the operation into an idled state with no timeline to resume operations.
The SWO was put in place by the Nova Scotia Department of Labour, Skills and Immigration (“DOL”), a provincial regulator for the Mine. The SWO was issued in response to a roof fall incident on July 15 that was subsequently ameliorated by Kameron between July 19 and July 27.
While SWO’s are meant to be temporary in duration, and while roof falls are not uncommon in underground mines1, and while no Kameron workers were injured nor any equipment damaged during the fall, the SWO nonetheless remains in place at the time of this news release, approximately four months after the fall was reported, which Morien understands makes it one of the longest SWO’s in Nova Scotia’s recent history.
In the words of Gardner Pinfold Consultants Inc., an economics consultancy based in Nova Scotia which recently completed a socio-economic impacts analysis of the Donkin Mine – “There are very few single prospects in Nova Scotia with the potential to provide economic impacts of this scale and extended period.” Kameron have spent over C$300 million developing the Mine since 2015. Prior to the July SWO, Kameron was employing over 130 full-time staff, a number that, at full production, was projected to grow to approximately 250, with local trucking and the Sydney marine export terminal accounting for an additional 130 jobs directly affiliated with the Mine, in addition to the hundreds of spinoff jobs that Donkin creates in the local region. At full production, Kameron would be the 6th largest private sector employer in Cape Breton, in a region with a 12% unemployment rate, more than double that in Halifax Regional Municipality2. These mining jobs pay approximately $80k per year before bonuses and overtime3. The GDP impact to the Cape Breton economy stemming from Donkin’s mining operations, over its anticipated 25-year mine life, is expected to be in the order of $1.6 billion, or an annual average GDP contribution of $52 million, a substantial value-add to this region of Nova Scotia4.
Morien is disappointed that the circumstances surrounding the regulation of the Donkin Mine have compelled Kameron to idle the operation. While Kameron has given no indication of its timing to reopen the Mine, Morien will be working diligently to advocate for a potential return to production, and will provide updates to shareholders, stakeholders, and investors as to the status of operations at the Mine as they become available.