Truck­ing Donkin coal should be re­con­sid­ered

Cape Breton Post - - Editorial -

Xs­trata in­vested a lot of money in re­open­ing the Donkin coal mine when that com­pany was here. It also con­sulted with the com­mu­nity on each step of the devel­op­ment, in­clud­ing plans to move the coal by barge to ships wait­ing just off­shore.

Alas, Xs­trata’s in­ter­est in Donkin quickly fiz­zled after the re­sponse from the com­mu­nity to that idea. This raises the ques­tion of the de­gree of con­sul­ta­tion by Kameron Coal with the com­mu­nity, es­pe­cially about truck­ing the coal by road to the Syd­ney wa­ter­front. And there lies the prob­lem. Be­fore the wheels of the big rigs haul­ing the coal reach the high­way they must first grind and wind out of Donkin via nar­row, lo­cal roads. It doesn’t take a psy­chic to fore­see the po­ten­tial of a tragic ac­ci­dent in­volv­ing a coal truck and a pas­sen­ger ve­hi­cle, biker, cy­clist, jog­ger or walker on those roads.

So here’s a sug­ges­tion to lessen that like­li­hood: Kameron Coal might want to con­sider stock­pil­ing Donkin coal at the mine site un­til a bet­ter, safer way is in place to move it to the piers at Syd­ney.

Stock­pil­ing the coal at Donkin for a time won’t put Kameron out of busi­ness: a lot of ther­mal gen­er­at­ing plants in the East­ern United States burn Kameron coal, plus Amer­ica in­tends to cre­ate elec­tric­ity by burn­ing coal for decades into the fu­ture.

For now, though, in this cor­ner of the con­ti­nent the ben­e­fit of be­ing “proac­tive” on the is­sue of mov­ing Donkin coal from mine to wa­ter­front may go a long way to­wards avert­ing the hind­sight and flurry of “re­ac­tiv­ity” that in­vari­ably fol­lows pre­ventable tragedy and loss of life. Rev. Dar­ius B. Pow­ell Howie Cen­tre

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