An underground coal exploration project near Donkin, Cape Breton Regional Municipality, has successfully passed the provincial environmental assessment process. It has approval to begin, if environmental conditions are met. The exploration project was proposed by Xstrata Ltd., and is intended to determine if a longwall coal mine would be commercially viable. “After reviewing the science and other information submitted through the environmental assessment process, including comments received during the public comment period, I am approving this project with conditions, to ensure the environment is protected,” said Mark Parent, Minister of Environment. The Xstrata project will take three years. The site will be prepared in the first year. Coal extraction, using continuous mining, will follow in the second and third years. Ground and surface water quality and quantity near the mine will be monitored. The company has established a community liaison committee to ensure the public has a venue to forward comments, questions or concerns as the operation proceeds. To read the environmental assessment report, go to www.gov.ns.ca/nse/ea/donkin.exploration.project.asp .