BY SEA OR RAIL?
Transportation mode for Donkin coal remains a mystery
All possible modes of transportation still on the table at Donkin Mine.
By sea or rail — that is still the question.
Various modes of transportation to move Donkin coal are on the table, said Geoff MacLellan, minister of business, energy, trade and Service Nova Scotia.
“There’s the short-term conversation about the roads now and then comes the long term, whether barge or rail, and exploring all options.” MacLellan, who is also the Glace Bay MLA, said whether Donkin coal is moved by barge or rail, it will require a significant investment.
“If there’s a heavy demand in the next two decades and the commodity price for coal remains relatively high (Kameron Collieries) are going to have to look at a longterm option and no one has ruled out the exploration of barge or the exploration of rail,” he said.
MacLellan said there will be a lot to consider.
“What’s the value of coal in five years, 10 years and 20 years and is it still feasible they’d want to move large quantities from Cape Breton to the world market where it’s needed for energy and steel making?”
When Kameron Collieries obtained the Donkin Mine lease, barging was built in as a transportation option.
Although in principal Kameron has a green light to explore the barge option, MacLellan said technically there would be a need for a timetable, an environmental assessment and public consultations.
“Even though it’s built into the lease, they’d still have an incredible number of hoops and processes to go through before they could actually get it approved,” he said.
“Neither option is entirely off
the table it just becomes what can we do in the short term to solidify the mine to establish the market to make sure we are getting the product to market in early days and the only way to do it at this point is by way of the roads,” he said.
“There’s a market now and we know the price is relatively high and that’s the short term of trucking … to get it to the world markets.”
Kameron Collieries, in partnership with the province, is building a road along the former rail bed behind Glace Bay and south of Dominion Street exiting behind the Sydney airport. Preparation work to the entrances and exits is expected to start soon.
Although he confirmed figures of estimated costs have been discussed, MacLellan said no definite figures have ever been calculated.
“Whatever route, it would certainly be in the tens of millions (of dollars) but there’s no specific number,” he said. “Establishing a barge system or putting the cargo on rail would be an extremely significant investment. We’re still a long ways away from having an estimate on either option.”
Shannon Campbell, vice president of project development and external affairs for Kameron Collieries, said at this time the mine owners are focusing on the development of the underground operation and commissioning of the coal processing plant.
“It is early days for the mine and there are many things that need to be done and figured out before determining the best method for transportation of the coal.”