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A retired geologist from New Brunswick says he understands why people in Millstream have reservations about a new mine possibly being established.

The provincial government announced this week it has awarded the Atlantic Potash Corporation of Saint John the exploration rights to the Millstream deposit.

The three-year deal is worth $4.5 million.

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People living in Millstream, N.B. are concerned about a potential mine being built in the area. (CBC)

Geoff Oland told CBC News Thursday he fears that work could take place on or around his 182 hectare plot.

Geologist Mark Connell said he can sympathize, as the Sussex area has not had a good history with exploration.

"The Penobsquis mine has not dealt very well with landowners, there's very well-documented subsidence and a leak that have been going down into the mine for now well over a decade," Connell said Friday.

Connell said the Millstream deal isn't a massive project. He said he expects the company will drill about six holes, and each hole requires about one hectare of land.

In a statement, Keith Attoe, co-chief executive officer of Atlantic Potash Corp. said Thursday he did meet with some of landowners in the area.

Attoe said he plans to hold more individual meetings and host public information sessions early in the new year.