Blasting set to begin at Hollinger open pit – by Benjamin Aubé (Timmins Daily Press – February 4, 2014)

The Daily Press is the city of Timmins broadsheet newspaper.

TIMMINS – The familiar sound of blasting will soon officially mark the Hollinger Mine’s return to life. With its Ministry of Environment air and noise permits safely secured and drilling having begun, Goldcorp is expecting the first blast at the historic mine to take place on Feb. 11.

“We began drilling around Jan. 28, and the first blast is now expected for this coming week,” said Paul Miller, superintendent of surface operations for the Hollinger project. “The date we’re now targeting is Feb. 11, and public notifications are being sent out and there will be some immediate analysis on the first blast.

“The initial blast will be very small, in the 3,000 to 4,000 tonne range to begin with, and located on the south-east location of the property in an area where we’re distant from residents and businesses.”

Miller, along with Goldcorp/Porcupine Gold Mines (PGM) general manager Marc Lauzier, were at council to provide an update about the open-pit mine project.

Other than recent drilling activity, stripping of overburdens and ongoing construction of a rock berm surrounding the mine has continued since final permits were received in late November.

The pumping system at the McIntyre headframe has been used to keep the mine’s water levels steady.

Miller also showed council and the public a video animation of what the open pit mine could look like once its reaches the end of its life, which PGM estimates could be around 10 years.

PGM has plans to eventually flood the pit, creating Hollinger Lake, along with a number of other amenities such as a walking trail, park benches, a beach area and a lookout. The lake would be larger than Gillies Lake, another man-made lake located a few minutes from the centre of town.

Miller encouraged the public to visit to view the video animation and to keep tabs on the live monitoring of noise, sound and dust levels around the mine.

Miller said only two noise complaints have been heard from residents in recent months. On one occasion, monitoring confirmed that noise levels did exceed the 50 db threshold agreed upon with the city and Hollinger Project Community Advisory Committee (HPCAC), but Miller said further investigation revealed the 59 db noise was caused by nearby snowmobiling activity.

Another resident noticed the lights at the Vipond Rd. overpass near the mine’s haul road didn’t dim at night as programmed. Miller said the changes were made and the problem was now corrected.

Coun. Mike Doody praised the mine’s management team, saying the jobs created by the Hollinger project were more than enough reason to be encouraged by its progress.

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