Cape Breton Development Corporation

Cape Breton Development Corporation

Cape Breton Development Corporation

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The Cape Breton Development Corporation, or DEVCO, was a Canadian federal government Crown corporation. It ceased operation on December 31, 2009, after being amalgamated with Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation (ECBC).

DEVCO was organized primarily into two divisions: a community economic development organization, and the coal division.

From March 30, 1968 until November 23, 2001, DEVCO's coal division operated Canada's largest underground coal mines, located in eastern Cape Breton County, Nova Scotia. Following decommissioning of its mines, DEVCO sold all non-mining surface assets to the private sector on December 18, 2001, including the Devco Railway and is presently remediating its mine sites.

Creation of DEVCO

In 1965, the Dominion Steel and Coal Corporation, or DOSCO (then a subsidiary of the Hawker-Siddley Group) announced that its mines had only 15 years of production left and concluded that the expense of opening new underground mines in the Sydney Coal Field would be too expensive. The company made its intentions clear that it would be exiting the coal mining business within months.

In response to a vast public outcry in industrial Cape Breton County, the minority government of Prime Minister Lester Pearson announced J.R. Donald would head a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Cape Breton coal industry, with hearings held in 1965 and 1966. The Donald Commission recommended that a federal Crown corporation be established to acquire and manage DOSCO's coal...
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