Nova Scotia's Donkin coal mine suspends work after roof collapses

Operations have been suspended at Cape Breton's Donkin coal mine after a roof collapse, the latest in a string of incidents since last July, according to the provincial Labour Department.

None of the mine's 128 workers were inside at the time of the Dec. 28 incident, but work has been suspended until the company, Kameron Collieries ULC, completes an expert review of operations and set of recommendations for the Labour Department's approval.

Mine spokesperson Shannon Campbell issued a statement describing the incident as ``certain adverse geologic conditions beyond our control.''

Scott Nauss of the Labour Department said the province's only underground coal mine, its twin tunnels extend three kilometres under the Atlantic Ocean, has seen six roof falls since July.

The department revoked the mine's ground control permit after the latest incident because the root cause wasn't immediately apparent and because of the recurring pattern.

The Donkin mine resumed operating in 2017 but has grappled with environmental criticisms and concerns about working conditions since then.

Tammy Martin of the provincial NDP issued a statement Thursday calling for a miners' union to better protect the workers' health and safety.