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RCMP monitored the anti-fracking protest Thursday. (CBC)

Southwestern Resources Canada will suspend all seismic testing in New Brunswick, the Department of Natural Resources said Friday.

SWN will wind down over the next week. It had been scheduled to do three to four more weeks of testing.

Natural Resources Minister Bruce Northrup said SWN will resume testing next year. The company has been testing as a prelude to possibly using hydro-fracking to extract natural gas embedded in shale.

This summer has seen frequent protests against SWN's work in New Brunswick amid concerns about hydro-fracking. 

Hydro-fracking uses water mixed with chemicals and sand and allows companies to access natural gas deposits. However, the protesters are concerned the process will ruin the water supply.

Vandals did 'thousands' of dollars in damage

"This week they've had a lot of damage to their public property — seismic material that has been destroyed or stolen," Northrup said. "They've decided to pack everything up and get their seismic work done in the next week, two weeks, or so."

He said there had been thousands of dollars worth of damage done to the company's equipment.

"We're concerned about that. The public has the right to protest as long as they're a friendly protest, but we certainly don't condone blockades and we certainly don't condone stealing property," he said.

Northrup said SWN had some "finishing up" work to do, but that they would not be doing seismic work in the Stanley or Taymouth areas where protests have been focused.

He said his government remained committed to exploring natural gas options. "It is a concern that they are leaving, but in the last day or so we've had conversations and they will definitely be coming back."

He said the public still had questions about natural exploration and the way it was done.

"We'll use the next two or three months to get out and talk to the chamber of commerce, talk to the communities. As I said before, my door is always open," he said.