Goldcorp awaits open pit permit – by Benjamin Aubé (Timmins Daily Press – February 13, 2013)

The Daily Press is the city of Timmins broadsheet newspaper.

TIMMINS – One of the most ambitious mining projects in Timmins history is off to a good start. Though major work and blasting has yet to begin on the Hollinger Mine open pit near the centre of town, Goldcorp is happy with progress and community response after closing the books on the first quarter of the project.

Construction of a noise-, sound- and dust-reducing berm has progressed as Goldcorp awaits environmental air compliance approval from the Ministry of the Environment (MOE). Goldcorp operations superintendent,Paul Miller expects the company will receive news on the permit to come by the end of February.

“Any on-site construction or mining activities, which includes berm construction, related drilling, blasting, hauling and loading activities will commence once the MOE has provided approval and posted the permit to proceed,” Miller said at city council on Monday night.

“Right now in terms of timing, we expect there’s going to be a period after we provide the updated models. We don’t know what that’s going to be, but we don’t think it’ll be before the latter part of March, early April before we see any activity on site based on our current knowledge.”

Miller explained that the permit is important to satisfy public concerns that “air and noise modelling are consistent, and also to make sure it’s consistent with the BMP (best management plan) and the agreement, how that was scheduled out.”

The work Goldcorp has completed so far includes completion of a haul road to connect to the Vipond Rd. area. A unique underpass was built as part of the road to allow snowmobile traffic to flow unimpeded.

After the Shania Twain Centre and Gold Mine Tour were sold by the city to Goldcorp, company representatives held a meeting with residents of Fairway Village to let them know of future plans.

Miller presented an updated plan that showed the berm will now extend over the former Shania Twain Centre, although he said the plan is not finalized and will be brought back to residents of Fairway Village when it’s complete and impacts are determined.

He added it will take a year for the berm to be built. Work has already begun on the East side of the mine. Eventually, the berm will completely surround the open pit.

“One of the things driving the berm construction schedule is the remediation of the voids below it,” explained Miller. “That has to be completed before the berm can be built over top to make sure public access can occur in those areas once we put the berm on top.”

Since the project was approved by the city in November, Goldcorp has received some community feedback from the Hollinger Project Community Advisory Committee (HPCAC) as well as individual residents.

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