NS coal mine begins production

(CP) - Underground coal mining has restarted in Cape Breton, more than 15 years after the fossil fuel was last cut from a rock face beneath the island.

A news release from a minority stakeholder in the operation says 64 employees and contractors have been working at the Donkin project site since Monday night.

The mine has two shafts about eight metres wide that extend almost four kilometres under the Atlantic Ocean, starting from a location about 30 kilometres east of Sydney.

It has been criticized by environmental groups as potentially adding to Canada's contributions to greenhouse gas emissions, and running against the trend in other jurisdictions that are eliminating coal mining.

The Donkin mine was acquired by Cline Group in December 2014 after the U.S. mining giant purchased a 75 per cent majority stake in the operation from Glencore Xstrata and a 25 per cent interest from Morien Resources Corp.