Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Nova Scotia's Donkin Coal Mine Suspends Work after Latest 'Roof Fall'

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Nova Scotia's Donkin Coal Mine Suspends Work after Latest 'Roof Fall'

Article excerpt

N.S. coal mine suspends operations after 'roof fall'

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DONKIN, N.S. - Operations have been suspended at Cape Breton's Donkin coal mine after a "roof fall," the latest in a string of incidents since last July, according to the provincial Labour Department.

None of the mine's 128 workers were inside at the time of the Dec. 28 incident, but work has been suspended until the company, Kameron Collieries ULC, completes an expert review of operations and set of recommendations for the Labour Department's approval.

Scott Nauss of the Labour Department said the province's only underground coal mine -- its twin tunnels extend three kilometres under the Atlantic Ocean -- has seen six roof falls since July.

The department revoked the mine's ground control permit after the latest incident because the root cause wasn't immediately apparent and because of the recurring pattern.

"Safety is a top priority for my department and coal mining, as you know, is a high risk industry and we are treating it accordingly," Nauss said in an interview.

Nauss said roof falls have different levels of risk depending on where they occur in the mine and how much material falls. For example, roof falls in a mine's travel pass have more easily identifiable root causes.

Nauss said he couldn't provide information on how much material fell from the ceiling on Dec. 28, and where exactly the incident happened inside the mine.

There is no current timeline for when the mine will submit its review to the department. Nauss said it's up to the company and its ground control expert to complete the work.

"At this point, the ball is in the employer's court to investigate, propose corrective measures, and then our role will be to review those corrective measures to ensure their adequacy," he said. …

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