Nova Scotia to bring in U.S. expertise after rockfalls at coal mine

Workers repair the road leading to the Donkin coal mine in Donkin, N.S., on December 13, 2004. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

Nova Scotia’s labour minister says a series of rockfalls at Cape Breton’s Donkin coal mine has prompted his department to bring in some international expertise.

Labi Kousoulis says mine inspectors from the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration will be looking into conditions at a section of the underground mine that experienced two roof collapses within a two-week period last month.

READ MORE: Stop work order partially lifted at Cape Breton’s Donkin coal mine

Kousoulis says the American help is needed because there simply isn’t the expertise available in Canada for a mine like Donkin, which operates under the seabed.

He says he is concerned that rockfalls keep happening despite previous safety measures taken at a work site he considers one of most dangerous in the province.

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READ MORE: Nova Scotia mines minister says safety a priority after rockfall at Donkin Mine

Kousoulis says while the government isn’t considering closing the operation, it could come to that point if the safety problems can’t be solved over time.

A provincial stop work order put in place after the most recent rockfall at the mine on Feb. 13 was partially lifted last Friday, with work allowed to resume in the area of the mine that wasn’t affected by the collapse.

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