Industrial Impunity in Nova Scotia

Stop the violations!

Stop the violations!

We remain hopeful that bringing the following health and safety issues to light to will create positive policy changes to help increase mine safety and reduce environmental health impacts from large development projects in Nova Scotia.

We support journalists with facts to deepen their knowledge and amplify their abilities to make a difference in the ways that matter to young people.

Killing People Slowly

Minister incredulously rejects

Industrial Noise Expert

  • Says noise from Donkin Mine "at 7 km away worst they’ve seen in over 30 years".

Sleep Expert

  • "The industrial noise is linked to sleep loss and deteriorating mental and physical health," says Cape Breton University sleep expert Dr. Sarah Barnes.

<i>Community signs, meetings and protest demonstrations have taken place.</i>


  • The following audio was recorded seven (7) kilometres from the coal mine's ventilation fans.

People are wearing earplugs, sleeping in their basements, temporary leaving their homes, and some have contemplated selling their homes - all to get rid of this annoying and stressful noise which some classify as “torture.” Source: Cape Breton Post, Saltwire.

Our Children at Risk

Minister rejects

Community concerns about unsafe coal trucks on narrow rural roads.

<i>Over the centre line, truck-hauling coal from Donkin Mine on Long Beach Road</i>
Over the centre line, truck-hauling coal from Donkin Mine on Long Beach Road

<i>Wrecked coal truck on Long Beach Road</i>
Wrecked coal truck on Long Beach Road

Political & Regulatory Capture

How coal industry undermines democracy

  1. CBC News reports that the firm with ties to Donkin coal mine cautioned its shareholders that the mine could close for good. Source: CBC News.

  2. "The firm" is Morien Resources –– stating in their corporate update that there is significant risk that Donkin Mine operations may not recommence under Kameron’s ownership or otherwise. Source: Morien Resources.

    • Photograph of Geoff MacLellan, former Nova Scotia minister with Morien's president and chief executive officer is also featured within Morien's corporate update.

  3. The private owner of Donkin mine is a major shareholder of Morien Resources.

  4. Within days, Premier Houston hires former Liberal cabinet minister Geoff MacLellan for top job as his deputy minister. Source: CBC News.

    • Premier Houston is also minister of intergovernmental affairs and trade, the two responsibilities he has hired MacLellan to oversee as a cabinet bureaucrat. That means MacLellan will report directly to Houston and the two men will work closely together on key files.

  5. Within weeks Donkin mine annouces reopening. Source: CTV News.

  6. Premier Tim Houston thanks Geoff MacLellan for his 7-month service. Source: News Release.

  7. The Donkin coal mine immediately hires former cabinet minister Geoff MacLellan as company vice president and is granted renewal of environmental / industrial approval. Source: Canada's National Observer.

What is most obvious to residents is just how Nova Scotia's executive council, also known as 'cabinet', the very institution charged with protecting families right to health are not only failing spectacularly to meet that responsibly but are deeply complicit in violations under the guise of symbolic environmental assessments and outright extractive industry impunity.

Distraction, inaction, and gaslighting

Facts Matter

  1. To be clear, when the Environment Minister speaks of "lead the fight on climate change" and stringent conditions of greenhouse gas emissions at Donkin mine, he’s talking about truck emissions from a 3-4 inch exhaust tailpipe, not the 11 square feet methane gas exhaust tunnel, or the significant emissions from the burning of the low-quality high sulfur coal.

  2. Regarding industrial noise, there was absolutely no stringent terms or conditions applied. Residents continue to this day to suffer from adverse noise levels emanating from the Donkin mine.

    • "The industrial noise is linked to sleep loss and deteriorating mental and physical health," says sleep expert Dr. Sarah Barnes. The Minister incredulously rejects the Cape Breton University 'ethics approved' community research study.

    Political protagonists are more concerned about extractive industry than they are about protecting the health and rights of the families who live in this area –– it's a feckless communication strategy of false narratives.

Government failure

Auditor General

Michael Pickup says the government is failing its environmental oversight, he would like to see the government specifically Environment & Climate Change (ECC), accountable. “The department is failing because, in too many cases, terms and conditions on project approvals are not monitored or evaluated to see if they are working,” Pickup said. Source: Global News

Government failure to regulate opens the door to the inevitable corporate drive for profit, with all the concomitant costs –– human, ecological and economic –– to the host communities –– Donkin and Port Morien.

During the January 2023 industrial 'Appeal' process, the government's rejection also of the "precautionary principle" within Nova Scotia's Environment Act.

The Minister's rejections paired with the slew of safety issues –– is part of an overall lack of oversight and a slap to all communities of Cape Breton Island / Unama'ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq People.

Demand Change

When governments won’t do what’s right, it’s up to the citizens to demand change.

Mr. Malcolm McNeil
Industrial Approval Administrator for the Environment Minister

Mr. Gary O'Toole
Senior Executive Director, Safety Branch - Labour, Skills and Immigration

Mr. Fred Jeffers
Senior Executive Director, Occupational Health and Safety - Labour, Skills and Immigration


  • To view the full Canadian federal Minister decision and related documents, please visit the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada website here.

  • To view the full Nova Scotia provincial Minister decision and related terms and conditions, please visit the Nova Scotia Department of Environment website here.

  • Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency. April 2013. Comprehensive Study Report. Donkin Export Coking Coal Project

  • Cape Breton coal mine cited for breaking reporting rules in 'massive' cave-in. February 05, 2019. CBC News.

  • Cap-Op Energy Inc. March 2016. GHG Mitigation Options for Underground Coal Mines Report to Nova Scotia Environment.

  • CBCL Consulting Engineers. October 2008. Donkin Underground Exploration Volume One Environmental Assessment Report.

  • Community Liaison Committee (CLC). January 6, 2020. Minutes of Conference Call Meeting.

  • Community Liaison Committee (CLC). March 1, 2022. Minutes of Conference Call Meeting.

  • Industrial Noise and Vibration Centre (INVC). 2021. Spectral Analysis Report. Email.

  • Marston Technical Report. November 2012. Donkin Coal Project.

  • Nova Scotia issues tender for mine greenhouse gas consultant. January 02, 2016. CBC News.

  • Novus Environmental Inc. August 2014. BLAST Music Event Noise Monitoring Report.

  • Per Facie Evidence. 2019 & 2020. Audio Recordings of Donkin Mine Noise are Available.

  • World Health Organization (WHO). 1995. Community Noise.

  • XSTRATA Coal Limited. July 2012. Environmental Impact Statement for the Donkin Export Coking Coal Project.

About Us

Port Morien and Donkin families concerned about their quality of life, their health and their safety.