Donkin mine project receives environmental approval – (Cape Breton Post – July 17, 2013)

DONKIN — Although residents of Donkin and surrounding areas are happy another aspect of the Donkin mine project has moved forward — the transportation proposal continues to be controversial.

Morien Resources Corp. of Dartmouth announced in a press release that Peter Kent has signed off on the environmental assessment of the Donkin mine project proposed by Xstrata Coal Donkin Management Ltd. Kent’s tenure as the federal environment minister ended this week, but the Donkin project received his approval after his review of a Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency report.

Hugh Kennedy, chair of the Donkin Xstrata community liaison committee, said the approval is good news which will move the project ahead and allow those involved to acquire permits. He believes this approval will help with the sale of the mine. “A company ready to invest hundreds of millions of dollars … into this mine is not going to do that unless they know it has environmental approval.” The province must also approve the environment assessment, explained Kennedy.

“I can’t see any roadblocks as the provincial and federal authorities have been working closely and sharing in the process. “Hopefully now with this out of the way Xstrata will continue with that work, to get approval from the provincial government on how to repair the tunnels and put a plan forward, get it approved and seek a permit for the mine.”

However Kennedy said since day one the committee members have stated that the best option for shipping the coal is by rail and not barging, which is being proposed.

“A feasibility study has already been done, rail is a feasible option. Who knows, a new company could take another look at it. It’s not off the table.”

In the press release, Morien Resources officials said the approval of the environment assessment is a ‘major milestone’ for the Donkin project. Morien Resources, which owns 25 per cent of Donkin, is looking for a buyer for Xstrata Coal’s 75 per cent share of the project.

District 8 Coun. Kevin Saccary was happy to hear of the approval.”I’m excited something is finally being done with the Donkin mine. I believe the economy is going to take a major shift into the positive for the CBRM.”

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