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Canada: Donkin Coal Mine Back in Full Production, Company Says



By Tom Ayers

May 14, 2019 - The company that operates the coal mine at Donkin, N.S., says it is back in full operation.

The mine was shut down at the end of December after a roof collapse. No one was injured, but the provincial Department of Labor ordered production to cease until a new safety plan could be approved.

Coal mining started up again at the end of January in a small portion of the mine.

In a short press release issued Tuesday afternoon, mine vice-president Shannon Campbell said a revised ground control plan had been approved by the province and full operations had resumed.

No other details were immediately available.

Kameron Coal, which operates the Donkin mine, has been cited for a variety of safety violations since it opened two years ago.

Photo by Radio-Canada

The mine is operated by Kameron Coal, which is owned by U.S. coal magnate Chris Cline.

It has been cited for a variety of safety issues since opening two years ago, including compliance orders and warnings since January for deficiencies in equipment and procedures.

Provincial officials have said operating an underground coal mine is inherently risky, and with several kilometres of slopes to inspect, safety infractions are bound to occur.

Since the mine restarted on limited production, mine officials have been operating under strict controls and have been testing different work methods.

Shannon Campbell, the mine's vice-president, says Kameron Coal takes safety very seriously and has been working closely with provincial inspectors.

Photo by Tom Ayers, CBC

Campbell has said the company takes safety very seriously and has been working closely with provincial inspectors to come up with new procedures.

The Department of Labor said the mine still has some work to do before it gets full approval.

"Kameron Coal continues to mine under limitations, however, the approved area for mining has been extended, allowing them to operate within a larger area," said department spokesperson Shannon Kerr in an email.

The mine employs roughly 125 workers.