By Sharon Montgomery-Dupe
May 3, 2019 - Two more warnings and two more compliance orders were issued at Canada's Donkin Mine in April.
On April 5, a labor department inspection at the mine focused primarily on the coal processing plant and resulted in the issuing of two compliance orders and one warning. It was followed by an underground inspection on April 25 which led to the issuing of another warning.
“Any violation or any order is considered serious given the nature of the hazards of working in an underground coal mine,” said Scott Nauss, senior director of inspection and compliance with the Department of Labour and Advanced Education. “But none of them were serious enough to stop work. None of them were imminent danger.”
He said compliance has been met.
As a result of a roof collapse on Dec. 28, the labor department suspended the underground mining operations at Donkin Mine, owned by Kameron Coal, a subsidiary of U.S.-based Cline Mining Corp.
There were no mining operations underway at the time of the incident because the mine was on a holiday shutdown. No injuries were reported.
This was the sixth roof fall at the coal mine since July 2018.
On Jan. 25, the labor department granted permission for the mine to conduct limited mining at 1,600 feet in a low risk area with strict ground control conditions.
The mine will not be able to resume regular operations until a new permanent ground control procedure is approved by the labor department.
Five inspections were conducted by the department between Jan. 25 and March 6 and four orders and six warnings were issued followed by the warnings and orders in April.
In the meantime, Nauss said the interim ground control plan is currently in place which allows Kameron Coal to work in the lower risk section of the mine.
Nauss said there have been discussions between the labor department and Kameron Coal on a ground control program but nothing has been finalized.
An approved permanent ground control plan is needed for regular mining operations to resume.
Nauss said the mining company recently demonstrated the strict ground control operations seem to be working on a smaller scale.
“Now they’re looking at what that means when it comes to a larger, full-scale operation.”
Shannon Campbell, vice-president project development and external affairs for Donkin Mine, said there is a full complement of staff at Donkin Mine and the company is looking forward to resuming full operations.