'Scratch & Lose' cards aim to bring attention to mining industry woes

Nova Scotia mining regulations and policies are have contributed to the loss of 800 jobs here since 2008, the province's mining association says.

Mining association lobbying for fuel tax rebate, better tax break

Sean Kirby, the executive director of the Mining Association of Nova Scotia, says the provincial government needs to improve business conditions for the mining sector. (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 of government policies.

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

The Mining Association of Nova Scotia says the province has lost 800 jobs in mining since 2008. (The Mining Association of Nova Scotia)

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.

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