Kameron Collieries, an affiliate of The Cline Group, and owner/operator of the Donkin coal mine in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, temporarily suspended production at Donkin due to a roof collapse in an older part of the mine. The incident occurred on December 28, during Kameron’s scheduled holiday shutdown and no workers were injured. Kameron has been directed by the Nova Scotia Department of Labor to review a variety of engineering and operational measures designed to monitor, control and prevent future mine roof falls. Production at Donkin is expected to resume after Kameron and government inspectors are satisfied that the appropriate measures are in place. The company said its top priority is the safety of its 128 employees and contractors, and it will resume operations as soon as practicable.
Kameron continues to make productivity improvements. In December, it installed a Flexible Conveyor Train (FCT) coal haulage system to replace part of Donkin’s shuttle car fleet. It is expected to significantly increase production volumes in 2019 once production resumes.
In 2018, Kameron signed a multiyear, thermal coal off-take agreement with local power utility, Nova Scotia Power, for a portion of Donkin’s production. The majority of Donkin’s coal, however, will be sold overseas either as a metallurgical-grade coal and/or as a low-ash, high-energy thermal coal.
On January 4, 2018, it was reported that Provincial Energy Ventures Ltd. (PEV) was proceeding with the first phase of its $75 million expansion of its export facility in Sydney, Cape Breton. PEV is located approximately 30 kilometers (km) from the Donkin mine and is currently responsible for handling all of the exported coal from Donkin. Once complete, the PEV port will be capable of accommodating larger, Capesize vessels and is expected to have the capacity to export up to 3 million metric tons (mt) of Donkin coal annually. A new, dedicated coal haul road that will bypass certain communities along the truck route between the Donkin mine and PEV is expected to be complete in the second quarter of 2019.
Production at Donkin is anticipated to reach annual sales volumes of 2.7 million to 3 million mt over the next two years. While it is assumed that production at Donkin will resume in a timely manner, the timing of production recommencement is unknown at present and may delay the rate of production increases, the company said in a statement.