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MV Miner ran aground off Scatarie Island, a provincially designated wilderness management area, on Sept. 20., 2011.

HO/The Canadian Press

The final piece of the wreck of the MV Miner was removed from the coast of Cape Breton on Monday, almost four years since it ran aground.

"For the first time in a long time, Scaterie Island looks as it should," Transportation Minister Geoff MacLellan said in a statement.

The 12,000-tonne, 223-metre bulk carrier was being towed from Montreal to Turkey in September 2011 to be scrapped when a tow line broke, causing the vessel to run aground on an environmentally protected stretch of coast near Main-a-Dieu, N.S.

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"If the wreck had been left to erode into the ocean, those contaminants would have permanently damaged the fragile and lucrative fishing grounds off the Scaterie coast," MacLellan said.

Similar concerns led to several failed or incomplete salvage attempts before RJ MacIsaac Construction was awarded a $12 million contract for the ship's removal in May 2014.

The wreckage was supposed to be gone by November 2014, but an unexpected 26,000 litres of diesel fuel and 32 tonnes of asbestos found on board prolonged the removal, MacLellan explained.

He said the final cost of the project is still being finalized.

MacLellan said he plans to approach the federal government again for financial help with the removal, something it has repeatedly refused over the last four years.

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