Moose River gold mine project gets green light

Natural Resources Minister Charlie Parker has allowed a proposed open pit gold mine to move ahead in Moose River.

Natural Resources Minister says decision 'difficult' to make

The proposed Moose River open-pit gold mine project will move ahead. (Google Maps)

A proposed open pit gold mine will move ahead in Moose River.

This follows a dispute between DDV Gold Ltd., a gold mining company, and a family of Christmas tree growers who didn’t want to sell their land.

Natural Resources Minister Charlie Parker granted DDV Gold, a subsidiary of Australia-based Atlantic Gold, vesting orders Friday that transfer ownership of eight hectares of land to the company.

The decision allows DDV Gold to proceed with its proposed Touquoy open pit gold mine project, which it applied to open in 2007.

The land has been in the Higgins family for more than a century. The family employs 25 people each Christmas season to cut trees.

DDV Gold has already purchased 49 properties at Moose River from 29 property owners.

"In making this decision, I gave careful consideration to a number of factors, including the substantial public interest in seeing this mine develop, the private interest of the surface land owners, and my authority and responsibilities under the Mineral Resources Act," Parker said in a news release.

"This was a difficult decision to make, and while it may not be to everyone's liking, I am confident that it best serves the public interest."

Nova Scotians will see the benefits through taxes, royalties and jobs if the project proceeds, according to Parker.

Hundreds of jobs

The deposit at Moose River Gold Mines contains about 635,000 ounces of gold worth $700 million, according to the release.

The project is expected to create 300 construction jobs and 150 jobs during operation producing about 90,000 ounces  of gold per year for five to seven years.

Environmental groups have expressed concerns with the project, citing concerns of the use of cyanide in the mining process and how the toxic substance will be transported in the province.

The area has a dark mining history.

A mining disaster in Moose River trapped three men underground in 1936. They were trapped about 45 metres down for 11 days. Two of the men lived through the ordeal, while the third man died on the seventh day.

The province has given notice of the decision to affected property owners.

Vesting order provisions are rarely used under the Mineral Resources Act.

DDV Gold applied for the vesting orders for land ownership when the Higgins refused to sell.

DDV Gold is now required to comply with the statutory procedures of the Expropriation Act, which describes how land owners and people with an interest in the land would be compensated.