On Monday, March 30, Kameron Collieries announced it ceased production operations at the Donkin coal mine in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, due to adverse geological conditions. Since that announcement, there have been several announcements that it had closed permanently.
Since commencing production in February 2017, there have been 12 incidences where material has fallen from the ceiling (roof) of certain sections of the mining operation. In Donkin’s case, all of the roof falls occurred in areas where the risk was already identified by Kameron, and precautionary measures had been taken. That is the reason why no one has been injured from a roof fall at Donkin.
Following the last roof fall on February 13, a Kameron spokesman said, “The miners are trained to identify signs of [rock] stress. This wasn’t a sudden event. There were signs of this.”
Following the latest February roof falls and the COVID-19 related travel restrictions, the Canadian Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) consultants have yet to be available to assess the geology in the area of the roof falls and, Kameron’s ground control procedures.
The assessment and prospective resolution of the adverse geology at Donkin will take substantial efforts by the NS LAE, MSHA experts, Kameron and other professionals in this field, the company said.
This process will take some time as the utmost care, caution and expertise must be deployed. It would not be accurate to categorize the time to conduct these steps as short or to say that Donkin is “temporarily” suspended, according to the company.
Until such time as the analysis has been completed and decisions have been made, one cannot apply the “permanent closure” label to Donkin operations. Owner Morien said it will provide additional information on the Donkin Mine as it becomes available.