Donkin Mine officials initiate traffic count to find way to alleviate residents’ concerns
The general manager of Kameron Coal’s Donkin Mine says they’ve initiated a traffic count in the Donkin and Port Morien areas in hopes of coming up with a plan to alleviate residents’ concerns over trucking.
Shannon Campbell said the idea behind the count is not wanting to speculate on the traffic and make a wrong decision that could affect a lot of folks.
There are numerous traffic counters set up including those on Tower Road, Donkin-Morien Highway and Long Beach Road. This one is being done through assistance of the department of transportation (DOT).
“We want to ensure the decision we make is based on real data,” he said, adding DOT has been extremely accommodating.
“There’s more people around than just on Long Beach Road and I just want to make sure if we do make decisions to change things we understand the ratifications of this. I don’t want to make a solution for one and cause a bigger problem for someone else.”
The process started a few weeks ago and when it will be finished is not known yet. Campbell said they want it completed when coal trucks are on the road. Right now they are ready to begin commissioning their processing plant so they haven’t been trucking coal but are instead stockpiling it at the mine site.
“We’ve been allowing it to build up in front of the processing plants so we can use it to help us work through the bugs. We will start trucking coal again in about two weeks.”
The decision for the traffic count came from the Donkin Mine, said Glace Bay MLA Geoff MacLellan, minister of business, energy, trade and Service Nova Scotia.
“The Donkin Mine wants to do what they can to work with the community and to keep the disruption and the impact on residents as low as possible.”
MacLellan said back in May residents met because they were concerned over the increase in truck traffic to and from the mine
Through the traffic study MacLellan said Donkin Mine officials can determine service and coal trucks routes and find a way to alternate routes that would be more acceptable and beneficial to the community.
Claude Peach of Long Beach Road said trucks have been moving through the area steadily from May through July with six or seven trucks going back and forth continuously every day. That’s in addition to construction vehicles. Peach said there has been a lull over the past few weeks.
“I don’t know if they were
stockpiling or what they were doing but there seemed to be a lull in traffic with the coal trucks,” he said.
In a story in the Cape Breton Post in May, Peach organized a community meeting over residents’ safety concerns about coal trucks travelling to Long Beach Road down the Donkin-Morien highway to Dearn’s Corner, continuing to Sydney and passing each other on narrow roads without shoulders and sidewalks. Residents wanted to know if Kameron was looking at any other routes or if they would consider a proposal for a trucking route that could cross the highway from
the mine site and follow the pole line to Sand Lake.
Peach said they have asked the Donkin Mine community liaison committee for a public meeting and were told after the traffic count concluded a public meeting would be held. In the meantime MacLellan said the design of the coal road is underway with the critical work being done on the entrance and exit ways on Brookside Street and the Old Airport Road.
MacLellan said when one talks about building a coal road entrance and exit people think it’s an insignificant and small project but it’s an investment of several million dollars by the province.
“This highlights the magnitude of this coal road. This is not a little path through the back of the former dump, this is a major investment by the mine itself and for the department of transportation. We’re listening to concerns and making investments to follow up on those concerns.”
Before construction starts there will be preparation work to the entrances and exits to the coal road itself, work to adjacent land and some realignment on the Old Airport Road.
“If there is still time in this construction season to get work
started we certainly will.”
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 and began production in February.
A truck travels through Tower Road towards Donkin over one of numerous traffic counters set up for a traffic study to answer resident’s concerns about heavy trucking. Counters have also been installed on the Donkin and Port Morien highways and Long Beach Road.