Cape Breton Post
Four orders, six suspensions for Donkin Mine
DONKIN — The province’s labour department has issued four orders and six warnings to Kameron Coal since a limited mining operation was approved at Donkin Mine on Jan. 25, 2019.
Orders from Nova Scotia Labour and Advanced Education included everything from Kameron Coal —a subsidiary of U.S.-based Cline Mining Corp— being required to have “pullcord and guarding on conveyor system,” to warnings that included, “must have proper functioning for ventilation control device” and “must follow fuelling procedures.”
Nova Scotia Labour and Advanced
Education spokesperson Shannon Kerr said, as a provincial regulator, the department’s role is to review the mine for compliance regarding underground mining regulations. Kerr said there have been five inspections conducted by the department since limited mining was approved on Jan. 25, 2019, until the last inspection on March 6.
Compliance has since been received on all orders and warnings, she said.
Kerr said this shouldn’t affect the current situation of the Donkin Mine.
“Where the compliance issues observed were not related to ground control procedures, we do not anticipate these particular orders/warnings will have an impact on Donkin Mine returning to their regular mining operation,” she said.
The operation of the coal mine was suspended by the department following a roof fall on Dec. 28. The coal mine was on a holiday shutdown. No one was injured. This was the sixth roof fall at the coal mine since July 2018. On Jan. 25, 2019, the department granted permission for the mine to conduct limited mining of 1,600 ft. in a low-risk area of the mine with strict ground control conditions.
Harold Carroll, executive director of occupational health and safety for Nova Scotia Labour and Advanced Education, said Donkin is still continuing to mine in this area. However, he said, Kameron Coal has submitted a request for an expansion to the approved mining area, beyond what they’ve been working under.
“We’ve just received the request,” he said.
“Any time we get a submission, we look at it, so we’re in the review phase right now.”
Kameron Coal is required to have a ground control procedure plan in place and approved by Nova Scotia Labour and Advanced Education in order for them to get back to regular mining operations at Donkin Mine.
Donkin Mine vice president Shannon Campbell said their ground control plan has been submitted to Nova Scotia Labour and Advanced Education.
In an email, Campbell said a ground control expert — sourced by Nova Scotia Labour and Advanced Education — toured the mine and reviewed the plan.
“Many conversations were had concerning the submitted plan and many more are anticipated.”
An independent ground control expert from the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration from Pittsburgh, PA, was engaged by the province to assist with their review of Donkin Mine’s ground control procedure plan.
Carroll said Donkin Mine has submitted additional information for the ground control plan, beyond what was provided in the approvals back in January in conjunction with the limited mining operations.
“We continue to engage with them as part of the normal process,” he said.
“But our ultimate — we share their same goal — is that we want to get a complete and updated mine plan and ground control plan procedure in place.”
Carroll said the mining experts brought in are providing them with advice which they’ll incorporate it into their review.
“We don’t necessarily ask or expect them to approve or endorse the plan, that’s our role as the regulator,” Carroll said.
“All they did was provide us with their expert information and we’ll use their knowledge — which is extensive — to help us do our review and form our final opinion on the plan.”