Coal­town road

Min­is­ter of trans­porta­tion says coal road to be built for Donkin Mine

Cape Breton Post - - FRONT PAGE - BY SHARON MONT­GOMERY-DUPE

The prov­ince’s min­is­ter of trans­porta­tion says a coal trans­porta­tion road for Kameron Col­lieries will be built along the for­mer rail bed trav­el­ing be­hind Glace Bay — south of Do­min­ion Street — and ex­it­ing be­hind the Syd­ney Air­port.

“We are cur­rently do­ing a traf­fic study in part­ner­ship with Kameron to de­ter­mine whether the exit will be onto the old Syd­ney air­port road or the main air­port road,” said Geoff MacLel­lan.

“Ob­vi­ously there will be sig­ni­fi­ca­tion com­pli­ca­tions turn­ing trucks onto the high­way so we have to man­age that trans­porta­tion as­pect. We’re go­ing to look at what the best op­tion is not only for the truck traf­fic but also for the heavy traf­fic that ac­cesses the air­port on a daily ba­sis. “

MacLel­lan said the Syd­ney air­port road is a pro­vin­cial road. He said once they re­ceive a rec­om­men­da­tion on the best op­tion, they’ll reach out to the air­port CEO He­len MacIn­nis and the air­port board.

He said the route will con­tinue through the Syd­ney Ports Ac­cess Road.

“The des­ti­na­tion is Syd­ney har­bour and the coal will be moved to in­ter­na­tional des­ti­na­tions from there.”

On Mon­day, MacLel­lan told the Cape Bre­ton Post said the coal road — which will be seven kilo­me­tres long — is a part­ner­ship be­tween Kameron Col­lieries and the prov­ince of Nova Scotia and they are cur­rently work­ing on a mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing on the cost-shar­ing of the work.

He said the prov­ince will be largely re­spon­si­ble for the en­trances of the road, as well as “the traf­fic study around Brook­side Street, the traf­fic work around the air­port, (and) lights onto the high­way.”

He said Kameron Col­lieries will be re­spon­si­ble for the prepa­ra­tion, the ten­der and the in­vest­ment of the ac­tual coal road it­self.

MacLel­lan said it’s a sig­nif­i­cant in­vest­ment for Kameron.

“I ob­vi­ously wouldn’t even have a cost es­ti­mate yet but it’s go­ing to be a sig­nif­i­cant amount, sev­eral mil­lions of dol­lars to say the least,” he said.

“The im­por­tant thing is the mine could use the pro­vin­cial roads but wanted to make this in­vest­ment to mit­i­gate some of the traf­fic con­ges­tion.”

MacLel­lan said Kameron Col­lieries has al­ways fo­cused on the need for an al­ter­na­tive coal route to avoid the heav­ily con­gested ar­eas around Do­min­ion Street in Glace Bay.

“This com­pany has a long track record of work­ing in com­mu­ni­ties across the U.S. and it’s al­ways about the safety and mo­bil­ity of the com­mu­nity. Avoid­ing res­i­den­tial ar­eas to the ex­tent pos­si­ble has al- ways been a pri­or­ity for them

MacLel­lan said once ac­qui­si­tion of the land needed has been fi­nal­ized, Kameron will have to ob­tain a con­struc­tion per­mit; con­struc­tion could start as early as the spring or sum­mer.

“When Kameron Col­lieries de­vel­oped to ac­quire all this land they had to deal with three lev­els of gov­ern­ment as well as pri­vate landown­ers. They did it fairly and cer­tainly quickly as this is a pri­or­ity for them.”

He said it’s es­ti­mated it will take five or six months to build the road and as­so­ci­ated en­trances.

How­ever, MacLel­lan, said the con­struc­tion has no im­pact on when the Donkin Mine will start pro­duc­tion. He said in the mean­time Donkin Mine has had the op­tion of us­ing the pro­vin­cial grid and so could take any di­rec­tion legally.

“There’s re­quire­ments and re­stric­tions around truck­ing weights and things like that so ob­vi­ously as long as they went by those pa­ram­e­ters they can use any roads in the pro­vin­cial or mu­nic­i­pal grid.”

MacLel­lan said his sense is Donkin Mine is get­ting close to pro­duc­tion.

“We’re in a crit­i­cal time of buildup now and we’re an­tic­i­pat­ing pro­duc­tion could start very soon.”

U.S. min­ing gi­ant the Cline Group LLC gained full con­trol of the Donkin Mine af­ter pur­chas­ing a 75 per cent ma­jor­ity stake in the op­er­a­tion from Glen­core Xs­trata PLC and a 25 per cent in­ter­est from Morien Re­sources Corp.

The mine is owned by Kameron Col­lieries, a Hal­i­fax sub­sidiary of the Cline Group.

Jim Bunn, se­nior vice pres­i­dent of oper­a­tions at Donkin Mine, said at this time they are ex­tremely busy gear­ing up to open the mine.

“At this time we are very close to first pro­duc­tion,” he said.

Bunn said through the per­mit Kameron Col­lieries has for the Donkin Mine, the com­pany was not re­quired to build a coal road but made a de­ci­sion to do so.

“The ex­pen­di­ture demon­strates Kameron Col­lieries’ com­mit­ment to health and safety to the com­mu­nity and fur­ther com­mit­ment to the Donkin Mine project.”

He said, so far, through work­ing with pri­vate landown­ers and all three lev­els of gov­ern­ment, the com­pany has pur­chased ap­prox­i­mately 800 acres for the road and has also en­tered into land-use and right-of-away agree­ments.

As pro­duc­tion ramps up, so does the employee list at the mine.

Bunn said there are cur­rently about 64 peo­ple em­ployed at the mine. He said 52 are ei­ther from Nova Scotia or have re­lo­cated to the prov­ince full time.

“The other 12 are mainly Amer­i­cans and are cur­rently work­ing on per­ma­nent res­i­dency in the prov­ince. “

He pro­jected ap­prox­i­mately 135 peo­ple to be work­ing at the mine in the near fu­ture.

“Some of those hires will be made this year, some in 2018 and even into 2019.”

SHARON MONT­GOMERY-DUPE/CAPE BRE­TON POST

Min­is­ter of Trans­porta­tion Geoff MacLel­lan, left, and Jim Bunn, se­nior vice pres­i­dent of oper­a­tions for Cut­lass Col­lieries and CAO at the Donkin Mine, look over a map of the planned coal road route from the mine along the for­mer railbed be­hind Glace Bay — south of Do­min­ion Street — ex­it­ing be­hind the Syd­ney air­port. MacLel­lan said Kameron Col­lieries could have used pro­vin­cial roads but in­stead are mak­ing a sig­nif­i­cant in­vest­ment to build a coal road to help mit­i­gate some of the traf­fic con­ges­tion.

Bunn

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