Donkin mine reopening after two-year idle

The Nova Scotia Department of Labour, Skills and Immigration has confirmed its inspectors are on-site at the Donkin coal operation in Cape Breton as the mine resumes operations after two years on pause.

The agency said its inspectors completed a thorough review of operational safety at the Kameron Coal-owned property, and it will continue to perform regular inspections, planned and unplanned.

“The company is required to submit monthly reports on ventilation, main fan and emergency power supply, and reports for stone dust sampling. Other inspection reports must be submitted by the company whenever requested,” NSDLSI said, adding that a stop-work order remains in place in areas where rock falls occurred previously.

Added Jill Balser, Minister of Labour, Skills and Immigration: “Our priority is to make sure workplaces have the right safety plans in place, especially those with a higher level of risk.”

Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the Underground Mining Regulations, the Department of Labour, Skills and Immigration is responsible for enforcement and approving of plans and equipment associated with the mine.

The mine’s current industrial approval expires on December 4. While the company applied for an industrial approval renewal on September 6, that is still pending; the Department of Environment and Climate Change is required to make a decision within 60 days of a completed application.

Environment and Climate Change staff also directed Kameron Coal to update its greenhouse gas management plan to ensure there will be measures in place to mitigate emissions.

“The province will continue to monitor the mine’s greenhouse gas emissions and expects Donkin to contribute to meeting Nova Scotia’s legislated greenhouse gas emissions targets,” the agency said.

The Donkin coal mine is the only operating subsea coal mine in the world and is Nova Scotia’s only operating underground coal mine.

The mine had been on care and maintenance since March 2020, when Kameron Coal said production was ceasing due to “adverse geologic conditions’’ and a slumping coal market. The decision came after a Feb. 13, 2020, roof fall incident that led to the Labour Department to order Donkin closed.

Source: Nova Scotia Government 

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