First blast at [Timmins Goldcorp] open pit – by Jeff Labine (Timmins Daily Press – February 12, 2014)

The Daily Press is the city of Timmins broadsheet newspaper.

TIMMINS – Goldcorp literally started its operations at the Hollinger Mine with a bang. Residents were given advanced warning that the mining company would be blasting at Hollinger on Tuesday. The first blast was expected to take place around 11:30 a.m. but the window of opportunity was missed when it took too long to place the blast mats down.

The city made an agreement with Goldcorp/Porcupine Gold Mines to only blast during the destination windows. That placed the first blast at the second time slot – between 1:30 p.m. and 2 p.m.

Paul Miller, superintendent of surface operations for the Hollinger project, watched the blast from the top floor of Goldcorp’s office building, near the Shoppers Drug Mart along Algonquin Boulevard. Called a pioneering blast, the explosion is intended to level out the area for the company to work in.

“Its been a long time coming,” he said. “We look at it as the start. In terms of the community it is a significant event because it is our first blast. “It’s very key to us to see what the impacts are and we will be reviewing the data from the blast shortly and see what the impacts were in terms of noise and vibration and overpressure.”

The data collected could have an impact on the company’s future blasts. Miller said they will use what they have learned to ensure that they are staying within the guidelines.

Miller called the blast relatively small at 3,500 tons. Later on, the company plans to have bigger blasts.

The company plans to blast on a regular basis. Miller suspected the next blast could be as soon as Thursday depending if it is approved.

“It’s really satisfying and we’re excited,” he said. “When we started this project one of the major focuses for us was to reclaim the land and bring it back to public use. This is one of the first steps towards getting to that goal and making this land safe and usable for the public.”

He suspects that within the next couple of months they will be able to start mining.

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 by the company in late November.

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

The project is expected to have about a 10-year mine life.

Anyone wishing to give feedback about the blast can call community liaison co-ordinator Heather Duhn at (705) 235-6571.

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