New Glasgow has joined the chorus of nine other rural Nova Scotian towns that support the mining industry’s fight to receive fuel tax rebates from the province.
Mayor Barrie MacMillan wrote a letter to the minister of finance on behalf of New Glasgow town council to express its support of the Mining Association of Nova Scotia’s campaign “Fuel Tax Fairness.”
“Your government provides a fuel tax rebate for fuel used in vehicles that do not go on public roads such as fishing boats, farm tractors and off-highway forestry vehicles, however, this rebate isn’t provided for vehicles in the mining industry,” MacMillan’s letter stated. “Nova Scotia is the only province that does not provide a fuel tax rebate to the mining industry, resulting in other provinces having lower operating costs, which affects Nova Scotia’s mineral exports.”
Nine other towns have written to the minister of finance to ask that the rebate be extended to mining and quarrying. The municipalities are Truro, Amherst, Town of Antigonish, Antigonish County, Mulgrave, Guysborough, Pugwash, Victoria County and the District of Lunenburg.
“Municipal governments understand that mining is being treated unfairly and it is costing Nova Scotians jobs,” Sean Kirby, executive director of the Mining Association of Nova Scotia said. “The provincial government should extend the fuel tax rebate to mining in the upcoming budget and help us create jobs in the rural areas that so desperately need support.”
The Mining Association launched its “Fuel Tax Fairness” campaign in October. The provincial government gives other resource industries a tax rebate for fuel used in vehicles that do not go on public roads, such as fishing boats, farm tractors and forestry harvesters. Nova Scotia gives the rebate to fishing, farming and forestry industries, but does not give it to mining.
A statement from the Mining Association said including mining in the off-highway fuel tax rebate would cost the government approximately $2.6 million per year and it would apply to vehicles that operate on mine sites, such as haul trucks and excavators, most of which never leave the mines and are not allowed to drive on public roads.
Nova Scotia’s mining and quarrying industry provides 6,300 jobs, mostly in rural areas, and contributes $500 million to the province’s economy each year. Mining is the highest-paying natural resource industry and one of the highest-paying of all industries in the province.