Nova Scotia

Family vows to fight Moose River gold mine

A family who is being told to make way for an open pit gold mine on their property says they'll take their case to court.

Project received green light from provincial government last week

A family who is being told to make way for an open pit gold mine on their property says they'll take their case to court.

Last week, the provincial government announced it would allow Australia's DDV Gold Ltd. to take eight hectares of land owned by the Higgins family and develop the mine.

"What we're doing now is trying to do what we can to hold onto the land," said Cleve Higgins. "We aren't just going to accept this decision that's been made by the minister."

The Higgins family runs a tree farm which employs 25 people in the Christmas season. The section in dispute is just one portion of the land owned by the family, but it includes the family home where Higgins' grandfather was born.

"It seemed clear to us that the government should maybe allow the mine to go ahead in a way that doesn't include our land, or there can be some sort of compromise. But they really have disregarded any of the concerns that we have."

Natural Resources Minister Charlie Parker made the finial decision, one he called difficult. But he said Nova Scotia will benefit in the deal through taxes, royalties and jobs.

The project is expected to create 300 construction jobs and 150 jobs during operation for up to seven years.

The Higgins family is now applying for a judicial review of the minister's decision. If that's accepted, the family will apply for an injunction against the expropriation of the property.

"This decision by the government could set a precedent for how mining happens in Nova Scotia from here on," Higgins said. "We really want to make sure that other land owners don't end up in the same situation we have."

Higgins argues this battle was completely avoidable. He said the family was clear five years ago when they were first approached by DDV Gold to buy the land. Higgins said they were shocked when the company didn't alter its plans, but instead asked the province to intervene.

 "It's very frustrating," he said. "We didn't even realize that that was something the government can do."

He said there's been a lot of support for the family's position.

Higgins said in the long run, he wants the law to change to prevent other mining companies from expropriating land from homeowners.