April 15, 2019 2:10 pm

Nova Scotia looks for proposals on Pictou County coal exploration

Workers repair the road leading to the Donkin coal mine in Donkin, N.S., on Monday Dec. 13, 2004.

Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press

Nova Scotia is looking for a company to explore and assess a coalfield near Westville, N.S., according to a Request For Proposals (RFP) that the province’s department of energy and mines tweeted on Monday.

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The province says that they’re looking for a company to explore the area, better known as the Pictou Coalfield, after receiving an expression of interest on Feb. 23, 2018.

READ MORE: Nova Scotia’s Donkin coal mine resumes partial operations after latest cave-in

Although the coalfield has a long history of underground and surface mining, the new project would look at seeing if the coal is similar in quality to pre-existing mines that remain untapped in the field.

The province warns any potential applicants that the historic coal mines in the Westville area will have left “significant coal resources” in the ground as support pillars, while bootleg or unauthorized mines could significantly reduce any potential coal that could be extracted from the field.

There are also unmarked mine openings or other unstable features in the region, which could pose as a hazard to any company tasked with exploring the coalfield.

Applications will be assessed through their project feasibility, as well as the “economic, environmental and land use benefits” for the Town of Westville and the province of Nova Scotia.

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Nova Scotia’s Pictou County has been home to many mining operations, with the best known mine being the Westray coal mine.

On May 9, 1992, the facility was the scene of a tragic disaster that claimed the lives of 26 miners when a deadly combination of methane gas and coal dust ignited, sending a huge fireball through the mine’s tunnels.

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