A new report suggests the Donkin mine in Cape Breton won't cause major harm to the environment.

The report from the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency has analyzed the plan by Xstrata to open a coal mine in the area.

Xstrata wants to mine about three million tonnes of coal a year, and move it by barge to ships waiting offshore.

Hugh Kennedy, chair of the community liaison committee for the project, said the environmental report is generally positive, but he's waiting to see how one particular group reacts.

"The one big area where the big concern is the fishery, and they've talked about compensation and no net loss for fishermen, well, we'll have to wait and see what the fishermen say on that because they're the experts in that area. They'll know whether artificial reefs work, and things like that."

Fishermen said moving the coal by barge could damage their fishing grounds. The company is offering to help create new fish habitat or compensate fishermen.

Kennedy said the report bodes well for efforts to sell the potential mine site.

Xstrata has been looking for a buyer for about a year.

He said a positive review of the mine should help move the sale process along.

"If you're trying to buy a mine and you know there's an environmental assessment underway, you would probably want to wait and see how that goes before you put a bid in. So having this completed maybe this summer, I think it would increase interest in taking on the mine if it gets approval, and I think that would tell any interested company that they have a feasible project here," said Kennedy.

Dartmouth company Morien Resources already owns 25 per cent of the Donkin project and said it's interested in buying the rest.

The environmental assessment process is expected to wrap up this summer.

Morien Resources says the mine could be producing coal by 2014.