Media releases for Mining Association of Nova Scotia.

Cape Bretoners among judges for mining video entries
Published: June 16, 2016
Source: Cape Breton Post

SYDNEY, N.S. — Two Cape Bretoners have been added to the judging panel for this year’s Mining Association of Nova Scotia ‘Mining Rocks!’ video contest.

Membertou Chief Terry Paul and Victoria County Warden Bruce Morrison will be among 12 judges for the contest that encourages youth in the province to produce short videos about mining and quarrying.

“I am very pleased to be a judge for the video contest and to work in partnership with the mining association on educating students about the industry,” said Paul, in a press release.

“We all want to create more opportunities and a brighter future for our children and the video contest is a good way to teach them about mining.”

Other judges included Lloyd Hines, the Minister of Natural Resources, and Martha Cooley, executive director of the Atlantic Filmmaker Cooperative.

“We are delighted to have such an impressive and diverse group of people serving as judges in this year’s contest,” said Sean Kirby, executive director of the mining association, in a press release.

“We really hope students will take advantage of this opportunity to learn about mining and put their creative efforts before this accomplished panel.”

The contest — open to all junior high and high school students in Nova Scotia — determines winners in five different categories.

January 13 is the early bird contest deadline and students who submit entries by that date could win one of two $250 prizes.

The final deadline for entries is Feb. 28.

Go online to www.NotYourGrandfathersMining.ca/contest for more contest information.


Mine safety criticism unfounded
Published: June 16, 2016
Source: Cape Breton Post

I am writing in response to an article about Davis Day which raised questions about the mining industry’s safety record (“Union leader puts Donkin mine owner in Davis Day spotlight, June 13, Cape Breton Post).

As an industry, we believe the most important thing to come out of a mine is the miner, and our modern safety record reflects this. Injury rates in Nova Scotia's mining and quarrying industry have been reduced 90 per cent in the past two decades, making mining one of the safest industries in Nova Scotia today. We are committed to continuous improvement in mine and quarry safety – and to making sure a tragedy like Westray never happens again.

Nova Scotia's mining and quarrying industry employs 5,500 Nova Scotians, mostly in rural areas, and it is great news for Cape Breton that the Donkin coal mine will create 135 more jobs.

Just as we would not judge today’s auto industry by its safety and environmental standards from a half-century ago, we also should not judge today’s mining industry by outdated perceptions. Visit www.NotYourGrandfathersMining.ca to learn more.


Broken tax pledge irks N.S. mining industry
Published: April 21, 2016
Source: The Chronicle Herald

http://thechronicleherald.ca/business/1358651-broken-tax-pledge-irks-n.s...

An oversized dump truck carries a load of salt from its excavation point in the Canadian Salt Company mine, about 1,000 feet beneath Pugwash. The Mining Association of Nova Scotia is less than pleased that the McNeil government has omitted a 2014 promise to created a fuel tax rebate for some vehicles used in mining for the second budget in a row. (Photo: The Chronicle Herald Staff)

The province now has two strikes against it in the eyes of Nova Scotia’s mining companies.

This week’s budget marked the second straight year the McNeil government has broken a promise to the $420-million mining and quarrying industry, says the Mining Association of Nova Scotia.

In May 2014, then-Finance Minister Diana Whalen wrote to MANS executive director Sean Kirby, describing the industry as “critical to the success” of Nova Scotia’s economy and assuring MANS the government would fulfil during the final three years of its current term its election promise to phase in a fuel tax rebate for off-road vehicles used in mining and quarrying operations. In November 2015, then-Natural Resources Minister Zach Churchill promised the industry would start receiving the rebate in 2015. However, the government’s 2015 budget did not make the change and this week Finance Minister Randy Delorey’s budget omitted it.

“The government’s promise to support the industry and help us create jobs, particularly in rural areas, was clear and unequivocal. But it has not made good on it,” Kirby told the Chronicle Herald.

“Today’s annual general meeting (of MANS) will be a somewhat grumpy gathering, given the rebate issue.”

He added that the government gives other resource industries a tax rebate for fuel used in vehicles that do not go on public roads, such as fishing boats, farm tractors and forestry harvesters.”

Department of Finance spokesperson Marla MacInnis said the government’s first priority was “getting the province back to sustainable finances so that we can make smart investments in our people and economy.”

“We haven’t forgotten our commitment to the mining industry to remove the tax. We will continue our conversations with industry and when the province is in a sustainable fiscal position this is something that can and will be considered,” she told the Chronicle Herald.

In a statement via email, Department of Natural Resources Minister Lloyd Hines said the government was “totally committed” to Nova Scotia’s mining industry.

“When the time and our fiscal capacity is there and it is clear that we can do this, we will do it,” Hines said.

“We fully intend to give the request from the industry, with regard to fuel tax, our full consideration.”

Kirby said the industry, which he said employs 5,500 people, faces significant challenges including a reputation as a poor place to invest. The rebate would save the industry $2.6 million annually.

He said that according to 2013 government-commissioned research, Nova Scotia’s mining and quarrying industry lost approximately 800 jobs in the previous five years, while its economic output shrank by $80 million per year.


Nova Scotia Mineral Resources Act has support of mining lobby group
Law amendments committee heard from environment groups, industry stakeholders on Monday
By: David Irish
Published: Apr 26, 2016
Source: CBC News

Nova Scotia's minister of natural resources and a mining industry lobby group say changes coming to the Mineral Resources Act are meant to modernize a law that hasn't been changed in 25 years and strike a balance between economy and environment.

Nova Scotia's law amendments committee met on Monday morning to listen to public feedback about Bill 149 — an overhaul of the act that regulates mineral resource management in the province.

For Sean Kirby, executive director of the Mining Association of Nova Scotia — the industry's main lobby group — the overhaul is welcomed.

"To us, it's really just about balance. Every time we remove land from economic usage in the province, we're making it harder for industries like ours to create jobs for Nova Scotians," Kirby said.

Not the bill for environmental concerns

Natural Resources Minister Lloyd Hines introduced Bill 149, which will overhaul the Mineral Resources Act which was last updated in 1990. (Province of Nova Scotia)

Environmental groups said at the meeting the bill doesn't go far enough to protect privately protected lands and doesn't address quarry production.

But Natural Resources Minister Lloyd Hines, who introduced the bill, said the focus needs to be about mineral resources and less about environmental impacts. The overhaul already overlaps enough with "very robust" environmental legislation that covers those concerns, he said.

"Much of the stuff that we're doing is aimed at streamlining the process, to reduce red tape, to essentially get rid of some of the cumbersome things in the 80s," Hines said.

That streamlining includes going from annual mineral licence renewals to doing renewals every two years, Kirby said. A new focus on public consultation introduced in the bill is also supported.

"We believe that all former mines need to be fully and properly reclaimed and that the cost of it has to be borne by the mining companies and the taxpayers should never be on the hook for reclamation," Kirby said.

Issue of quarries

Sean Kirby is the executive director of the Mining Association of Nova Scotia. (CBC)

Mining exploration licences and leases are given out to companies and prospectors by the Natural Resources Department. A mine can't advance until after a lengthy environmental assessment.

The Sierra Club Canada Foundation wants quarries included in the Mineral Resources Act.

Though a technical difference, crushed rock and sand is very different from the minerals regulated in the act, Kirby said, and legislation should be kept separate.

Under current legislation, quarries are a matter for the Environment Department.

To shift that from one department's legislation to another wouldn't be worth it because "it just isn't how it ever has been regulated in this province," Kirby said.

Hines said the act should remain about exploration.

"It is possible for an exploration to include private land," Hines said. "Unless you consented, there's no work that can be done on the private land."

The act also gives the minister of natural resources the ability to withdraw mineral rights and to decline exploration licences.


LOCAL YOUTH ON WHY MINING ROCKS!
By: Ben Cousins
Published: April 18, 2016
Source: Halifax Citizen

More than a few Halifax-area students have heavier wallets because of their newfound expertise with making videos about mining.

Four high school and middle school students from the Halifax Regional Municipality took home prizes in the Mining ROCKS! Video Contest, presented by the Mining Association of Nova Scotia.

“The videos are excellent,” said Sean Kirby, executive director of the Mining Association of Nova Scotia. “It’s really a fun thing to give students the opportunity to do this and not tell them what (the video) needs to be about, apart from mining.”

“It’s a great learning experience for them and from the look of the videos it looks like they’re having a lot of fun.”

Meagan Brown from Charles P. Allen High School and Jasmine Metzler from Sackville Heights Junior High School each took home $1,000 for their videos.

Brown’s video won for “Best High School Video” and features little-known facts about the mining industry in Nova Scotia and Nova Scotian companies that produce materials for everyday items.

Levi Marshall from Sackville High School was the biggest winner of the day, winning a first-place prize in the “Best Comedy” category and runner-up in the “Best 30-second commercial category for two separate videos. Both prizes netted Marshall a total of $1,500.

Jonah Larsen from Citadel High School won second place in the “People’s Choice” award, winning $500.

“The stuff the kids came up with was incredibly clever and creative and really showing off their technical skills,” said Kirby. “It’s a really fun and exciting contest for us.”

The contest’s panel of judges included Lloyd Hines, minister of Natural Resources, Membertou Chief Terry Paul, as well as film and media professionals. The contest awarded $8,000 in prize money for students across the province.

“(The videos are) just absolutely outstanding,” said Hines. “There was a lot of talent (involved).”

“(The contest) involves the young people, and that’s who we need to educate about the mining industries in Nova Scotia.”

Hines said he was looking for videos that showed the importance of minerals for young people, including the minerals in smartphones and other everyday items.

In total, 22 teams of students submitted videos to the contest. There were 1848 votes for the People’s Choice Award.

Kirby said this is part of a broader initiative to educate the public on the importance of mining to the economy and to dispel some of the misconceptions about the industry.

“We have to do a better job correcting that and explaining to people that the industry today is really a very sophisticated, modern, and high tech industry that operates at the highest standards.”

According to the Mining Association of Nova Scotia, the mining and quarrying industry in this province is a key creator of jobs and prosperity for Nova Scotians, providing nearly 5,500 jobs, mostly in rural areas.

The industry also contributes $420 million to the province’s economy each year.

To watch all the winning videos, visit: http://notyourgrandfathersmining.ca/2016-winners.


Video contest fosters mining awareness among Nova Scotian students
By: Greg Klein
Published: April 11, 2016

Okay, there was a cash incentive. But the enthusiasm’s genuine. The Mining Association of Nova Scotia asked high school students to research a brief topic on mining and quarrying, then find a way to portray it on video. The results were not only informative but inventive and entertaining. And they brought contest winners a total of $8,000 in prizes, MANS announced April 11.

Now in its second year, Mining ROCKS! pulled in 22 entries from students across the province. Judges included film and media pros as well as Minister of Natural Resources Lloyd Hines and Membertou Chief Terry Paul, among others. Another 1,848 people cast votes for the People’s Choice Award.

The winners (shown here) use wide-ranging approaches to explain, illustrate, dramatize and emphasize the many uses of minerals and the industry’s importance to Nova Scotia. This is, after all, a province where coal mining dates back to 1672—and coal’s a relative newcomer. MANS says Canada’s oldest mine, possibly North America’s oldest, would be Davidson Cove, where Mi’kmaq extracted jasper and agate for arrowheads and cutting tools 1,500 years ago.

Mining and quarrying now provide around 5,500 jobs and put $420 million into the provincial economy each year.

As for the Ontario Mining Association, it now has judging underway for its student video contest, So You Think You Know Mining. Winners will be announced June 1.

See the winning entries for Mining ROCKS!

This article was posted by Greg Klein - Resource Clips on Monday, April 11th, 2016 at 5:42 pm.

http://resourceclips.com/2016/04/11/mining-rocks-video-contest-gets-nova...


Glace Bay High School student claims mining contest award
By: Sharon Montgomery-Dupe
Published: April 11, 2016
GLACE BAY - The people have spoken.

© Sharon Montgomery-Dupe/Cape Breton Post video

Bryah Boutilier, a Grade 10 student at Glace Bay High School, received a $1,000 cash prize and the people's choice award for her 30-second video "Mining For Our Future," in the Mining Association of Nova Scotia contest, Mining Rocks.

Boutilier said she was "overly excited" when she heard the news.

"I had no idea I was going to win."

And finding out it was a people's choice award made it even better.

She immediately told her grandfather Dave Boutilier, a former miner, who is featured in her video.

"He was very proud of me."

The Mining Rocks video contest was open to all junior high and high school students in Nova Scotia. Students were asked to produce a short video about mining and quarrying.

The contest received 22 video contributions from Nova Scotia students. There were 1,848 votes for the people's choice award.

The video includes old photos from coal mines and a short interview with her grandfather.

Boutilier also won $500 in an early bird draw. The video was chosen by random draw from the videos submitted by the Jan. 15 early bird deadline.

In an earlier story in the Cape Breton Post, Boutilier said she first heard about the contest in her science class. With family roots in the mining industry, including both grandfathers – Dave Boutilier and the late Bennie Benoit – she knew she had lots of pictures and other material for a video.

She said her focus for the video was to promote mining to the younger generation.

Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Geoff MacLellan was at Glace Bay High School Monday to present Boutilier with the cheque for $1,000 on behalf of the mining association.

MacLellan, who is also the MLA for Glace Bay, said he watched the video and enjoyed it.

"It certainly represents our past and everything that mining has done for us," he said.

He described Boutilier's grandfather Dave Boutilier as a true gentleman.

"I know he'd be very proud of his granddaughter Bryah for really celebrating who and what we are.

"The fact people have recognized the value of this video and rewarded Bryah as such is a great thing," he said. "We want to spread that word to our young people here in Glace Bay and in Cape Breton Island about what mining has meant."

In a press release, Sean Kirby, executive director of the mining association, said students from across the province created incredibly clever and interesting videos about mining and quarrying.

“We congratulate all the students for their excellent work and thank them for participating in the contest," said Kirby.

Natural Resources Minister Lloyd Hines and Membertou Chief Terry Paul were contest judges along with film and media professionals.

Go to http://notyourgrandfathersmining.ca/2016-winners to view all of the videos.



Student wins $500 in contest
By: Sharon Montgomery-Dupe
Published: January 24, 2016
GLACE BAY - The Mining Association of Nova Scotia (MANS) awarded $500 to a Glace Bay High School student Friday when she won the “early bird” draw for the Mining ROCKS! video contest.

© Sharon Montgomery-Dupe - Cape Breton Post. Nova Scotia Minister of Transportation and Infrastructural Renewal Geoff MacLellan presents a cheque for $500 to Glace Bay High School student Bryah Boutilier, an early bird prize in a Mining Association of Nova Scotia contest.

Bryah Boutilier, a Grade 10 student of GBHS, was presented $500 as a result of her video, “Mining for our Future."

The video was chosen by random draw from the videos submitted by the Jan. 15 early bird deadline.

"I am so happy," she said.

"I can't believe I won the early bird prize."

Boutilier said she first heard about the contest in her Science class. She said with family in mining - including her grandfathers Dave Boutilier and the late Bennie Benoit - she knew she had lots of pictures and other material for a video.

She said coal mining has helped support past families so why couldn't it support families in the future?

"I did all coal mining pictures promoting mining for the young generation."

Boutilier said she plans to spend this prize money when she goes to Disney World in March with the high school band.

The Mining Rocks Video Contest is open to all junior high and high school students in Nova Scotia. Students were asked to produce a short video about mining and quarrying. Sean Kirby, executive director of MANS, said they wanted students to have fun with it and to be creative.

MLA Geoff MacLellan presented the check to Boutilier on MANS’ behalf, Friday.

"It was a great opportunity for a Glace Bay student to send in a submission about our local heritage, it's a great tie in to our mining past with her grandfather and the future that holds in store with Donkin mine."

MacLellan said he encourages students to take part. He said it's great for any young student and young adults in the local area to understand our mining heritage and how it's shaped our future to where we are today.

He said it's important history to hang on to.

"It's great to have young people who weren’t around when the mines were up and running to understand the engine that drove the local economy and kept families fed and looked after," he said.
"I think it’s a good contest to get word out there and have students doing research on their local area and the impact mining has had on our past, our present and certainly in the future."

MacLellan said he has lots of interest and communication with MANS.

He said he is interested in all the mines in Nova Scotia.

"Now with Donkin progressing in the right direction, we've had continuing conversations with MANS to keep in touch with what's going on there."

The final deadline for video entries is February 26. The winners in five different categories will be awarded $1000, with $500 going to the runner-ups.

The judging panel includes Lloyd Hines, Minister of Natural Resources, Membertou Chief Terry Paul, as well as several accomplished film and media professionals.

For more information, go to http://NotYourGrandfathersMining.ca/contest

smontgomery@cbpost.com



allNovaScotia.com
By: Sean Kirby, executive director, Mining Association of Nova Scotia (www.NotYourGrandfathersMining.ca)
Published: January 22, 2016

I am writing in response to Kevin Cox’s column, “Moral Mining.”

Nova Scotia’s mining industry believes the most important thing to come out of a mine is the miner, and our safety record reflects this. Injury rates in the mining and quarrying industry have been reduced 90% since the Westray public inquiry report was released in 1997, and are now lower than other comparable Nova Scotia industries. Today, mining is one of the safest industries in the province.

The mining and quarrying industry is regulated by Nova Scotia’s Occupational Health and Safety Act, which sets stringent standards for workplace safety, provides for government inspections to ensure compliance, and penalties/fine for infractions. We work every day, in partnership with the provincial government, to make our workplaces safer for our colleagues, friends and loved ones.



Not Your Grandfather’s Coal Mine
By: Sean Kirby, executive director, Mining Association of Nova Scotia (www.NotYourGrandfathersMining.ca)
Published: January 22, 2016

I am writing to respond to recent articles and letters about the opening of the Donkin coal mine.

Mining has played an important role in the development of Cape Breton through the years. Nova Scotia coal was first mined in Sydney in 1672 and the first commercial coal mining venture in Canada was established by the French in 1720 in Cow Bay, Cape Breton, to supply the Fortress of Louisbourg.

This long history also underscores how different today’s mining industry is from the past. Mining today is a safe, environmentally-responsible industry that is essential to our modern way of life. The materials we mine make possible virtually everything in our daily lives, from homes, schools and hospitals to electronics to safe, ice-free roads.

We have reduced our injury rate by 90% in the past two decades, making mining one of the safest industries in Nova Scotia.

We set the highest standards for environmental management and protection. Reclaimed mines and quarries are now beautiful natural spaces throughout the province. They are also used for other purposes such as Cabot Links, which is both a beautiful, world-class golf course and an important economic anchor for the Inverness area.

Coal is an essential fuel in Nova Scotia, and in most jurisdictions around the world. It generates approximately 60 percent of Nova Scotia’s electricity and is also used in manufacturing vital products such as steel and cement. While Nova Scotia’s use of coal is declining, the electricity it provides cannot be replaced easily or quickly by any other source. Coal plays a major role in keeping our lights on, and in powering places like hospitals and schools.

Mining coal here, instead of importing most of it as we do now, makes it less expensive and helps keep our energy bills down. It reduces the overall environmental footprint of the coal we use by eliminating the need to ship it from South America. It creates jobs and much-needed economic activity for the province – Donkin will create about 120 jobs in Cape Breton, adding to the 5500 Nova Scotians the mining industry already employs.

Just as we would not judge today’s auto industry by its safety and environmental standards from a half-century ago, we also should not judge today’s mining industry by outdated perceptions. Visit www.NotYourGrandfathersMining.ca to learn more.

Sean Kirby is Executive Director of the Mining Association of Nova Scotia



Donkin Redux Makes Sense
By: Sean Kirby, executive director, Mining Association of Nova Scotia (www.NotYourGrandfathersMining.ca)
Published: Jan 18, 2016

I am writing to respond to recent articles and letters about the opening of the Donkin coal mine. Today’s mining industry is a safe, environmentally responsible industry that is essential to our modern way of life. The materials we mine make possible virtually everything in our daily lives, from homes, schools and hospitals to electronics and safe, ice-free roads. We have reduced our injury rate by 90 per cent in the past two decades, making mining one of the safest industries in Nova Scotia.

Opening the Donkin coal mine in Cape Breton makes sense because the province won’t need to import the fuel, writes Sean Kirby, executive director of the Mining Association of Nova Scotia. (Staff)

We set the highest standards for environmental management and protection. Reclaimed mines and quarries are now beautiful natural spaces such as Acadia Park in Westville, Kiwanis Park in Truro and Point Pleasant Park in Halifax. They are also used for other purposes such as Cabot Links golf course in Inverness, the Pioneer Coal Athletics Field in Stellarton and the Dartmouth Crossing shopping centre.

Coal is an essential fuel in Nova Scotia, and in most jurisdictions around the world. It generates approximately 60 per cent of Nova Scotia’s electricity and is also used in manufacturing vital products such as steel and cement. While Nova Scotia’s use of coal is declining, the electricity it provides cannot be replaced easily or quickly by any other source. Coal plays a major role in keeping our lights on and in powering places like hospitals and schools.

Mining coal here, instead of importing most of it as we do now, makes it less expensive and helps keep our energy bills down. It reduces the overall environmental footprint of the coal we use by eliminating the need to ship it from South America. It creates jobs and much-needed economic activity for the province. Donkin will create about 120 jobs, adding to the 5,500 Nova Scotians the mining industry already employs. Just as we would not judge today’s auto industry by its safety and environmental standards from a half-century ago, we also should not judge today’s mining industry by outdated perceptions.


CBC News: 'Scratch & Lose' cards aim to bring attention to mining industry woes
Mining association lobbying for fuel tax rebate, better tax break
By Susan Bradley
Published: July 8, 2015
Source: CBC

Nova Scotia's mining industry is seeking recognition as being an important employer in the province.

As a result, the Mining Association of Nova Scotia has issued "Scratch & Lose" cards to illustrate how jobs are being lost here because ofgovernment policies.

"The mining and quarrying industry, all over the province, has lost 800 jobs since 2008," association executive director Sean Kirby said.

He said mining and quarrying employs 5,500 people and generates $420 million in economic activity, a big chunk of it in rural areas.

The association sent out the cards, modelled on lottery scratch-and-win cards, to bring home the message Nova Scotia's global reputation in the mining sector is suffering.

"We feel we need to get that fixed so we can help the industry grow and create more jobs," Kirby said.

Nova Scotia also has the added disadvantage of being the highest-cost jurisdiction in Canada in terms of the taxes and royalties it collects.

He noted that 42 people at Fundy Gypsum Co. lost their jobs when United States Gypsum Co. idled the quarry and ship-loading facility in Hants County in 2011.

While the American owners blamed the closure of the mine on continued weakness in the U.S. housing market, Kirby said the province is in a vulnerable position.

"So when a company decides to cut production, we're going to get cut first."

The mining industry also wants the Liberals to make good on their promise to give it the same fuel tax rebate that other resource industries such as farming and fishing get.

"That was supposed to happen in the spring budget. We are hoping they will do so in 2016," Kirby said.

Read the story here: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/scratch-lose-cards-aim-to-brin...


Photo Credit: Atlantic Business Magazine, July/August 2015.


CBC: Nova Scotia mining industry shafted in Liberal budget
Industry claims promise of $2.6M fuel tax break was broken
Published: April 21, 2015
Source: CBC

Video Above: April 20, 2015, MANS appeared on CBC TV news, CBC Radio News and CBC news online expressing our disappointment with the government's decision not to extend the fuel tax rebate in this year's budget.

Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil says his government cannot afford to deliver a fuel tax break to the mining and quarry industry, even though the Liberals promised to phase in the rebate starting in 2015.

"It was our expectation and understanding that we would start getting the fuel tax rebate in the recent budget. Unfortunately the budget did not deliver on that," said Sean Kirby, the executive director of the Mining Association of Nova Scotia.

The mining industry has argued that like farming, fishing and forestry, it should qualify for the rebate on the fuel used off public highways.

"That amounts to about $2.6 million a year in fuel taxes which we just shouldn't be paying for the simple reason that we don't use that fuel on highways," said Kirby. "We use it on huge mining quarry vehicles that operate off-road."

McNeil agrees, but said his government cannot afford to lose the revenue right now.

"We don't have the money to be able to do that," the premier said Monday.

'Why did the minister renege'

In 2014, the Liberals twice committed to bringing in the rebate during their mandate starting this year. In November, Natural Resources Minister Zach Churchill issued a news release with the promise.

"Mr. Churchill said the government will start phasing in a fuel-tax rebate program for mining and quarrying vehicles, and introduce a revised Mineral Resources Act in 2015," the release said.

"Why did the minister renege on a promise?" Pat Dunn, a Progressive Conservative MLA, asked last week in the legislature.

Churchill replied: "The indication that we've given to the mining association was that this credit will be looked at and distributed in the course of our mandate and our mandate is not yet over."

McNeil also claimed the Liberals have promised only to deliver the 15 cent per litre rebate during their mandate.

Progressive Conservative Leader Jamie Baillie used the issue to attack the Liberals on Monday.

'Make good on it next year'

"It's another broken Liberal promise on jobs," he said.

"Last week, they broke a promise to the film industry that may costs 2600 jobs. This week, they've broken a promise to the mining industry where hundreds of other jobs are now also at risk."

The Mining Association of Nova Scotia was less strident, calling on the Liberals to "make good on it next year."

A spokesperson for the National Gypsum Company - which operates a large gypsum mine in Milford - also urged the government to act.

"A fuel tax rebate would help us lower our overall cost per ton to produce gypsum rock. That's important because the gypsum market is very competitive,'' Nancy Spurlock, a spokesperson for the company, said in an emailed statement to CBC News.

"Two of the four gypsum mines in the province shut down in 2011, and cost was a factor in their closings. We need to ensure our costs remain competitive," she said.

Go here to read the story online: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/nova-scotia-mining-industry-sh...


Mining group raps Nova Scotia over fuel tax vow but province says rebate can't come this year
Published: April 10,2015
Source: THE CHRONICLE HERALD
Article By: Elizabeth Whitten


An excavator loads salt into a dump truck in Pugwash in 2012. The Mining Association of Nova Scotia says the province does not give its industry the fuel tax rebate enjoyed by other resource industries. (TIM KROCHAK / Staff)

The Mining Association of Nova Scotia says the province has reneged on a pledge to cut the fuel tax for the mining industry.

"It's been a long-standing issue in Nova Scotia that the provincial government does not give our industry the fuel tax rebate that it gives to other resource industries," said Sean Kirby, the executive director of the association.

"The government promised to do so starting in 2015 and it has not fulfilled that commitment."

The fuel tax is used to pay for public roads and highways and "is supposed to be a user-pay system," Kirby said.

But the vehicles involved in the mining industry stay on private quarries and don't go on those roads.

"By that same principle, the government should give the same fuel tax rebate to the mining and quarrying industry," he said.

"The government has promised to fix that. ... Unfortunately it did not make good on that promise. So we're disappointed."

The rebate could still happen, but it's a long shot, he said.

"I think in theory they could still do a bill. It would be unusual; I mean, a budget is the usual time to do that and we've been given no indication the government is going to consider that."

He's been in contact with the government and hopes the rebate could still happen in 2016, but that's a year away.

Kirby won't speculate why the industry didn't get the rebate.

"We were really counting on the government giving us the rebate to help the industry grow and create jobs and to support us in what are very difficult times for our industry," he said.

"The Province of Nova Scotia will do its utmost to fulfil this commitment," Natural Resources Minister Zach Churchill said in a written statement.

"Ultimately, we cannot offer the rebate for the coming year. The province has a duty to not only balance our finances but also deliver fair and equitable services to taxpayers.

"The fuel tax rebate for the industry will be applied when the province's finances are in a stronger and stable position."

The mining industry employs 5,500 people, mostly in rural Nova Scotia.


Mining industry predicts more layoffs, less hiring
Published: November 12, 2014
Source: THE CHRONICLE HERALD

Mining bosses in Nova Scotia expect to see more layoffs and fewer hires in the next six months, says a recent survey.

The Mining Association of Nova Scotia polled 45 industry players, including producers, prospectors and explorers and related service and supply com­panies between Oct. 28 and Nov. 4 and found:

  • 27 per cent of respondents ex­pect to lay off workers in the next six months; that’s at 17 per cent increase since a similar survey the group did in January;
  • 15.5 per cent expect to hire people, down 12 per cent since January;
  • 42 per cent expect the number of staff to remain the same.

“Many companies are feeling less optimistic now than they did at the beginning of the year," association executive director Sean Kirby said in a news release Tuesday.

Respondents pointed the finger at the state of Nova Scotia’s eco­nomy as their biggest obstacle, followed by government regula­tion.

The province increased stake ­claiming fees by 75 per cent last year and has, the industry claims, “an unnecessarily difficult regu­latory regime for prospecting and exploration."

The industry has lost about 800 jobs in the past decade but still provides 5,500 jobs, mainly in rural areas, and contributes $420 million to Nova Scotia’s economy, the group said.

The survey results were re­leased as part of Nova Scotia Mining Week from Nov. 10 to 14.


Good mining jobs merit rare expropriations
Published: July 3, 2014 - 5:26pm
Source: The Chronicle Herald
Article By: Sean Kirby

I am writing to provide some context about the recent expropriation of land for the Black Point Quarry at Fogartys Cove.

First, it is important to understand that expropriations for mines and quarries are rare and only used as a last resort. We are aware of only three expropriations for mines since 1990 and the Black Point Quarry is the only one we are aware of for a quarry project. It is always the industry’s preference to negotiate private, mutually beneficial arrangements with landowners. Offers for land are often well above market value.

Second, when expropriations are done, it is because there is no other way for a company to purchase all the land necessary to establish a new mine or quarry and create jobs and other benefits for Nova Scotians. It is simply a question of the greater good.

The Black Point Quarry is expected to create more than 150 direct and indirect jobs during the construction phase, and more than 120 direct and indirect full-time jobs during peak operation. The project, located in Guysborough County, an area that has struggled with depopulation and economic challenges, is expected to last about 50 years.

The only recent example of an expropriation for a mine is DDV’s proposed Touquoy gold mine in Moose River. It will create up to 300 jobs during the construction phase, 150 ongoing direct jobs during operations and have an annual payroll of over $13 million. The mine will generate millions of dollars in tax and royalty revenues for the province.

These are good jobs we are talking about. Our industry is the highest-paying resource industry and one of the highest-paying of all industries in the province, with an average annual wage of over $50,000. We employ 5,500 Nova Scotians, mostly in rural areas, and the Ivany commission said traditional industries like mining and quarrying “will provide the essential foundations for Nova Scotia’s rural economy.”

While we all feel sympathy for the landowner in expropriations, other people also have a legitimate stake in the issue that must be considered. The two projects above will create hundreds of jobs in areas that desperately need economic opportunity. Families will be supported, people will be able to come home from out West and young Nova Scotians will be able to stay here. There is a broader community interest in ensuring these projects happen.

In the case of the Touquoy gold mine, DDV was able to purchase properties from 29 landowners, but one refused to sell. The landowner was offered $300,000 for 7.2 acres of land, a tiny portion of the several hundred acres he owns, and a price that far exceeds market value. It became necessary for DDV to seek an expropriation so hundreds of jobs could be created, many of them for other residents in the community, and so all Nova Scotians can benefit from the taxes and royalties the mine will generate.

While no one likes to see expropriations happen, — not landowners, companies or governments — they are sometimes necessary to strike a balance between the rights of individual landowners and the broader community.

Sean Kirby is executive director of the Mining Association of Nova Scotia.


Motive fuel tax rebate will save mining firms $2.6 million a year
Published: May 18, 2014 - 8:20pm
Source: The Chronicle Herald
Article By: Michael Gorman, Provincial Reporter

The provincial government is bringing in a tax change long sought by Nova Scotia’s mining industry.

Officials for the Mining Association of Nova Scotia were recently informed that the Liberal government will phase in the motive fuel tax rebate for the industry. Officials have long lobbied for the move, arguing that the tax, which is intended to help maintain the province’s roads and highways, was being charged for mining equipment that never leaves work sites.

The forestry, fishing and farming industries already benefit from the rebate.

Sean Kirby, executive director of the Mining Association of Nova Scotia, said the change will help grow the industry.

“This is a very big deal,” Kirby said. “It will save mining and quarrying companies about $2.6 million a year that they can then reinvest into making their operations more efficient and creating jobs.”

Given the sometimes razor-thin margins facing these companies, every dollar is significant, he said.

The Liberals made the commitment during the election campaign, said Kirby. The association received a letter Tuesday from Finance Minister Diana Whalen informing it that the rebate would start to be phased in with the next provincial budget.

“I think some of the details are still to be worked out, but the commitment made is to phase it in over the final three years of the government’s mandate, starting in the 2015-16 budget,” said Kirby.

It was the industry that suggested phasing in the rebate “to balance the fiscal challenges of Nova Scotia with the removal of the fuel tax,” he said.

The Liberals are reviewing all of the province’s taxes and fees. Whalen could not be reached for comment Sunday.

Kirby said the change signals that Nova Scotia wants to be competitive and welcoming when it comes to mining. The tax worked against the province when trying to attract investment, he said.

“Nova Scotia’s reputation across the country and around the world in our industry is not very good, and so this is a huge symbolic issue for us that the government is saying it wants the investment, it wants the job creation that mining companies can bring to Nova Scotia.”


Westray Disaster Marks 22nd Anniversary
Published: May 9, 2014
Source: 94.1 East Coast FM

Today marks the 22nd anniversary of a major mining disaster. On 9 May, 1992, a methane gas explosion roared through the Westray coal mine in Plymouth, killing 26 miners. The bodies of 11 men were recovered almost immediately. A desperate but unsuccessful search for survivors continued for six days. Rescue workers said the danger of a cave-in was too great to continue. It was the worst mining disaster in Canada since 1958, when a series of collapses at a Springhill coal mine killed 75 men.

Sean Kirby, executive director of the Mining Association of Nova Scotia, says that in the years since the disaster, mine safety has improved dramatically, with the injury rate reduced by 90 percent in the past 15 years. He added mining is now one of the safer industries in the province.


Mining Association Marks Anniversary Of Westray Disaster
Published: May 9, 2014
Source: AVR 97.7 / Magic 94.9

It was on May 9, 1992 when 26 miners, 15 of whom were never recovered due to an elevated cave-in risk, were killed in a methane gas explosion at Westray Mines in the New Glasgow area. But the Mining Association of Nova Scotia, in a release marking the tragedy’s anniversary issued Thursday, claims to have learned its lesson, and highlighted safety advances such as a 90% reduction in injury rates in the mining and quarrying industry over the past 15 years. Executive Director Sean Kirby reiterated the association’s focus on safety, noting an 8.8% reduction in the injury rate in the 2012-13 period.

While a public inquiry into the disaster led to “significant changes in the way the industry is regulated and was a milestone in the establishment of a safety culture”, the association reminds us the industry still contributes 5,500 high-salary jobs within mostly rural areas of the province. It contributes $420M to Nova Scotia’s GDP annually, and adds that mining was mentioned as providing the essential foundations for Nova Scotia's rural economy" in the Ivany Report.


Remembering Westray
Published : May 9, 2014
Source: News 95.7 FM
Article by: Meghan Groff

On this day in 1992, an explosion at the Westray Mine in Plymouth, Nova Scotia claimed the lives of the 26 men who were underground at the time.

It was the worst mining disaster in Canada since 1958, when a series of collapses at a Springhill coal mine killed 75 men.

Sean Kirby, executive director of the Mining Association of Nova Scotia, explained to News 957 what the day means to those who work in the occupation.

“It’s a sad day in the industry, in some ways 22-years is a long time and in some ways it’s still a very short time,” said Kirby. “It’s still an emotional day for folks in the industry.”

According to Kirby, safety in mining has improved drastically since the disaster and they’ve reduced they injury rate by 90 percent in 15 years. He added mining is now one of the safer industries in the province.

“It’s a real commitment to the fact that the most important thing to come out of the mine is the miner,” said Kirby.

The mining industry contributes 5,500 jobs in province and generates $420 million to Nova Scotia’s economy.


Higher fees worry N.S. mining group
Published: April 12, 2014
Source: The Chronicle Herald
Article by: Bruce Erskine, Business Reporter

Claim-staking fee hikes are forcing prospectors to put down their picks, says the Mining Association of Nova Scotia.

“These are the future mines,” Sean Kirby, the association’s executive director, said in an interview Friday. “These are the future jobs.”

According to a recent survey of members of the mining association and the Nova Scotia Prospectors Association, 79 per cent of prospectors and explorers expect to drop at least some of their claims within one year of the August 2013 fee hikes, before annual claim renewal fees are due.

Fifty-four per cent said they plan to drop over half their claims.

The survey also found that 87 per cent believe the fee hikes will harm their business and 88 per cent believe the hikes will harm the province’s mining industry.

The previous NDP government hiked claim staking fees, which must be renewed annually, by 75 per cent last August.

The mining and prospectors associations say the new fees are, on average, 53 per cent higher than in New Brunswick and a whopping 621 per cent higher than in Newfoundland and Labrador, where claims are renewed every five years.

The associations said a Nova Scotia prospector with 50 claims now has to pay $9,500 in fees over 10 years, up from $5,424 prior to the fee increases.

A prospector with 300 claims now has to pay $57,000 in fees over 10 years, up from $32,547.

Kirby said prospecting and exploration are vital to finding new mines and the fees are undermining that activity.

“Eight months after these huge fee increases were implemented, many prospectors are giving up their claims because they simply cannot afford to keep them,” he said.

John Wightman, executive director of the Nova Scotia Prospectors Association, said the harm being caused by the fee increase is “completely disproportional” to the small amount of revenue being generated for the government.

“The fee increase is particularly short-sighted given the millions of dollars in taxes and royalties that a single mine can generate,” he said.

“The government can afford to give up the fee hike money,” he said. “Prospectors cannot.”

The mining association said the government’s 2014-15 budget indicates total government revenue from exploration claims will be $215,000.

It estimates the fee hike will generate roughly $75,000 to $85,000 annually in additional government revenue.

Kirby said the additional revenues the government will realize from the fee hikes are tiny relative to its entire budget.

But he said the fees are significant additional costs for individual prospectors who likely won’t realize any income from their claims for years.

“They don’t have revenues at that stage of the mining cycle,” he said.

Don James, executive director of the Department of Natural Resources’ mineral resources branch, said recently there are no plans to lower provincial claim staking fees.

James said Friday that the total cost of maintaining an exploration licence or claim in Nova Scotia is similar to New Brunswick and to Newfoundland and Labrador over five and 10 years.

“That total includes various other ‘work requirements’ — added expenses — that all provincial governments require mining companies to keep their claims in good standing,” he said in a statement.

“Those added work requirement expenses paid to drilling and survey companies are part of the full cost of maintaining a claim over the years.

“Work requirement expenses are lower in Nova Scotia but (the mining association) is not factoring those expenses into their statements, so they are comparing apples to oranges.”

The mining association said Nova Scotia’s mining and quarrying industry provides 5,500 jobs and contributes $420 million to the province’s economy each year.


Mining Association says fuel tax rebates could make Nova Scotia a more attractive investment
Published: March 6, 2014
Source: News 95.7
Article by: Meghan Groff and Dan Ahlstrand

Nova Scotia has been declared as one of the least attractive provinces in Canada for mining companies to invest in, according to the Fraser Institute, and the Mining Association of Nova Scotia believes regulations and tax regimes imposed on the industry by the provincial government are the main reasons why.

Executive director Sean Kirby told News 95.7 the Ivany report highlighted the importance of mining to the province’s rural communities, but hearing negative reports is not a surprise to people in the industry.

“We’ve had some reports come out as well that show we’ve lost in our industry, 800 jobs in the last 5-years. We’re the most expensive jurisdiction in Canada to operate,” explained Kirby

He said it wouldn’t take a whole lot to turn the tide and attract new business, just level the playing field with other resource-based industries in the province, most of which receive a fuel tax rebate for vehicles that don’t use public roads.

“We’re really looking to the provincial government to show leadership on this, help turn this situation around in terms of the policy environment in which we operate,” said Kirby.

According to Kirby, the industry currently employs about 5,500 people in Nova Scotia, and mining is one of the highest paid industries in the province.

He believes by fostering investment, Nova Scotia can create many more jobs, particularly in the rural areas of the province which are facing tough times.

The survey placed neighbouring New Brunswick as one of the most attractive provinces in the country for mining investment.


OLD INDUSTRY VITAL TO PROVINCE'S FUTURE
Source: Chronicle Herald
Published: March 5, 2014
Article by: Sean Kirby

The Ivany commission's report highlighted that some of Nova Scotia's oldest industries are still vital to the province's future: "In future, as in the past, the traditional rural industries - tourism, manufacturing, mining, fisheries, forestry and agriculture - will provide the essential foundations for Nova Scotia's rural economy. The basic viability of many of our rural communities hinges on whether these sectors can create more and better jobs and generate more wealth."

The mining and quarrying industry is a quintessential example. On the one hand, we are a large and important industry, employing 5,500 people, mostly in rural areas. On the other hand, we face significant challenges, including:

  • The loss of approximately 800 jobs in the past five years.
  • Nova Scotia is the highest-cost jurisdiction in Canada in terms of our industry's tax/royalty burden.
  • We have an unnecessarily difficult regulatory regimen at the prospecting/exploration stage.
  • As the commission put it, "opposition impede(s) industry development."

If Nova Scotians are to overcome our economic and demographic challenges, the province needs industries like ours to grow. While an improved global economy would obviously help, we don't have any control over it, so let's focus on things we can do here at home.

First, a fairer, modernized, more sensible regulatory and policy environment is essential. Our policy concerns include being charged fuel tax even though other resource industries receive a tax rebate for fuel consumed off-highway; last year's 75 per cent hike in claim-staking fees and the overall high cost of operating here; and regulations that discourage exploration and investment. These unhelpful government policies need to be fixed as soon as possible.

Second, as the commission put it, "almost all new investment opportunities face significant criticism and at times active opposition from citizens ..." To be clear, it is legitimate for residents to have questions and concerns about proposed industrial activities in their communities, be they mines, quarries or anything else.

At the same time, the commission highlighted that we need to also have a greater willingness to support businesses that promise to create jobs while operating in a safe, sustainable, responsible fashion. Everything we want - from excellent health and education systems to opportunities for our kids to stay home instead of moving out West - ultimately depends on creating jobs. We need to strike a better balance between asking reasonable questions about a proposal while still embracing opportunities.

In our case, we face a range of outdated perceptions about our industry. No one would judge today's auto industry by its safety and environmental standards of the 1950s, yet people do sometimes judge mining by what it was like in the distant past.

The reality is today's mining and quarrying industry is a sophisticated, high-tech business that is vital to our economy and way of life. That is why we created an educational website - www.NotYourGrandfathersMining.ca - that explains, in layman's terms, how the industry works today.

We need to do a better job helping our fellow Nova Scotians understand why a mine or quarry proposal in their community is good news: it will create jobs and environmental problems will be responsibly managed. After all, companies are made up of people who care as much about the environment as anyone else, and who also want to leave a better world for their children.

The bottom line is we need the jobs; we need the materials we take from the ground to support our modern society; and just as our industry has reduced its injury rate by 90 per cent in the past 15 years, we have also made tremendous strides in raising our environmental standards. This is not your grandfather's mining industry.

The commission's challenge to all of us is to work together, as industry, government and communities, to create jobs and opportunity. The viability of our province, especially rural areas, depends on it.


Mining Group Adds Support For One NS Report
Published: February 17, 2014
Article by: AVR 97.7 and Magic 94.9

The Mining Association of Nova Scotia expressed its support for the Ray Ivany-headed Commission On Building Our New Future report, released Tuesday. Sean Kirby, association Executive Director, notes the industry is one of Nova Scotia’s oldest going back almost 350 years to the first established coal mine in 1672, and today employs 5,500 people, mostly in rural areas, while contributing $420M to the provincial economy. The group’s press release cited the report where it described the industry’s difficulties due to its reliance on the recently wobbly US market, but also notes constraints due to regulatory and policy barriers as well.

It speculates the gypsum market may recover, which would be good news for the vacant mine in Hantsport, and there is even gold potential, describing Nova Scotia’s geological database as “excellent”. But it rues “limited metals potential” which it blames on “land use constraints and opposition”. It calls on the government to provide a “modern and responsive legislative framework to support and promote sustainable mineral resource management”


OPTIMISM RISING ON MINING - SURVEY
Recent survey shows more industry leaders in province expecting to hire
Source: Chronicle Herald
Published: February 11, 2014
Article by: Patrica Brooks Arenburg - Staff Reporter

A recent survey of Nova Scotia's mining industry bosses indicates there are brighter days ahead.

"It's still cautious at this point, but the survey shows our members are starting to feel that optimism returning and starting to think more about creating jobs and investing in the future," Sean Kirby, executive director of the Mining Association of Nova Scotia, said Monday.

The survey, conducted Jan. 6- Jan. 21, found that 27.5 per cent of the association's estimated 100 members indicated they expect to hire more people. That's up from 11 per cent in September.

Only 10 per cent said they expect to cut workers, down from 18 per cent in September. Another 51 per cent of members said they expect their workforce to remain the same over the next six months.

The mining and quarry industry currently employs about 5,500 people in Nova Scotia, mainly in rural parts of the province, producing sand, salt, limestone, gypsum and aggregate, which makes up about 75 per cent of the province's industry, Kirby said.

A study commissioned by the province showed the industry contributes about $420 million to Nova Scotia's economy each year, he said.

The industry was hit hard by the global economic recession, and the collapse of the U.S. housing market hurt gypsum, which is used to make wallboard, Kirby said.

As a result, about 800 people lost their jobs in Nova Scotia's mining industry within the past five or six years, he said.

This recent survey shows there is hope "over the next few (years), we'll be able to gain those back and then keep right on growing and hiring more Nova Scotians," Kirby said.

It's a long and complicated process between the time deposits are identified to actually opening a mine, he said, so ramping up productions at existing mines or reopening mothballed mines is the quickest way to recover at least some of those lost jobs.

"We're starting to see a bit of a rebound in gypsum," Kirby said, and it's hoped that production at the province's two remaining gypsum mines will increase over the next year or two.

Adding a little sparkle to the industry is the return of gold mining operations to the province.

"It's exciting to finally, after about a dozen years, have gold mining operations return to Nova Scotia because we haven't had one since Dufferin last operated in 2001," Kirby said.

The Dufferin gold mine in Port Dufferin is in the process of hiring about 70 people and is expected to get into full production in the next few months, he said.

More jobs are coming with the Touquoy mine in Moose River, which is expected to hire 300 people during the construction phase and 150 during regular operations.

The mine is expected to start production in 2015 and have a payroll of more than $13 million, the association says.