Donkin Mine is good for Cape Bre­ton

Cape Breton Post - - Editorial - Shan­non Camp­bell Shan­non Camp­bell, P.Eng., is vice pres­i­dent project de­vel­op­ment and ex­ter­nal af­fairs for Donkin Mine.

Just over a year ago I moved back home to Cape Bre­ton to work at the Donkin Mine. I’ve had my eye on the project for years. It has been a long time com­ing and much needed in our area.

Kameron Col­lieries ac­quired the project from Xs­trata four years ago and has been work­ing hard to de­velop the site based on the prior ex­ten­sive en­gi­neer­ing and plan­ning work. All the nec­es­sary ap­provals were granted by the fed­eral and pro­vin­cial govern­ment af­ter pub­lic con­sul­ta­tions in line with the ‘Cana­dian En­vi­ron­men­tal Assess­ment Act and Nova Sco­tia’s En­vi­ron­ment Act.’

Those ap­provals in­cluded a ma­rine load­ing fa­cil­ity as the pri­mary method for trans­port­ing coal from the mine. At the start of that process there were three op­tions eval­u­ated - rail, truck­ing and ma­rine. There sim­ply isn’t a busi­ness case for rail. It is too ex­pen­sive and the per­mit­ting and build-time re­quired would take years. We’re cur­rently truck­ing all coal from the site and have be­gun build­ing a new self-funded, by-pass road from Brook­side Street to the base of Sydney-Glace Bay High­way near Old Air­port Road. This will re­duce truck traf­fic through Re­serve Mines. We are com­mit­ted to look­ing at other ad­di­tional im­prove­ments along the route to min­i­mize im­pacts for neigh­bour­hoods in close prox­im­ity.

The en­vi­ron­men­tal assess­ment for the ma­rine op­tion has al­ready been ap­proved but more de­tailed de­sign and per­mit­ting work is now needed. The next step is to com­plete a small geotech­ni­cal drilling pro­gram like the geotech­ni­cal drilling re­cently com­pleted in Sydney Har­bour for the sec­ond cruise berth. We would use a barge, a drill and a sup­ply boat over two days to drill five holes, each be­ing four inches wide and 20 feet deep to de­ter­mine the next step in our de­sign.

This planned work has al­ready been re­viewed un­der the Fish­eries Pro­tec­tion Pro­gram through Fish­eries and Oceans Canada. The re­view con­cluded that this min­i­mal drilling would not re­sult in se­ri­ous harm to aquatic life.

Our team at the mine couldn’t be more ap­pre­cia­tive of the sup­port we’ve re­ceived from Cape Bre­ton­ers. I’m proud of the com­mit­ment of our work­force who con­tinue to de­velop their skills, in­crease pro­duc­tiv­ity and con­trib­ute mean­ing­fully to our lo­cal econ­omy. We have a wellestab­lished Com­mu­nity Li­ai­son Com­mit­tee and a Fish­ers Li­ai­son Com­mit­tee to al­low for in­for­ma­tion shar­ing be­tween the mine and lo­cal res­i­dents and mem­bers of the fish­ing com­mu­nity. We’ve held sev­eral ad­di­tional meet­ings with the lo­cal fish­ers to give them an op­por­tu­nity to ex­press opin­ions, to have their rec­om­men­da­tions con­sid­ered, and to en­sure they’re given the chance to help shape the de­sign of the ma­rine op­er­a­tion as it moves for­ward.

My ca­reer has taken me to min­ing com­mu­ni­ties across this con­ti­nent. Grow­ing up in South Bar and go­ing to school in Sydney, I could only hope that one day I would have this op­por­tu­nity to do what I love, at home. When I was at St. Fran­cis Xavier Univer­sity in Antigo­nish and at TUNS in Hal­i­fax watch­ing the in­dus­try trans­form it be­came clear my ca­reer would keep me away from the Is­land that first taught me about min­ing. Like so many of the peo­ple now work­ing at the Donkin Mine, I had to leave my fam­ily and friends to “go where the work was.”

The Donkin Mine has changed that for me and for many on our team. We are all very ap­pre­cia­tive of this op­por­tu­nity and com­mit­ted to grow­ing the op­er­a­tion, in­creas­ing pro­duc­tion, sup­port­ing our fam­i­lies and com­mu­nity and do­ing it in a way that is re­spect­ful to those with ques­tions and con­cerns along the way.

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