CBC INVESTIGATES: Donkin coal mine racks up dozens of safety violations in first few months – by Frances Willick (CBC News Nova Scotia – August 4, 2017)


The first underground coal mine to operate in Cape Breton in a generation has been plagued by safety violations that one industry observer says has left some miners feeling afraid. Documents obtained by CBC News under freedom of information laws show a history of repeated infractions at the Donkin coal mine, some of which could endanger the lives of workers.

“I’m worried about the safety of the miners in Cape Breton,” said Gary Taje, the international staff representative of the United Mine Workers of America, which does not represent the Donkin workers. “It makes me scared, and I do know there are some scared miners there.”

Inspectors with the province’s Labour Department carried out six inspections between the first day of production at Donkin on Feb. 27 and June 15. During the mine’s first 3½ months of operation, the department issued 10 compliance orders and 29 warnings for violations of workplace safety and underground mining regulations.

And just three weeks after miners started digging for coal, the province ordered the entire operation closed because of ventilation problems. On March 22, a storm knocked out power to a wide area in eastern Cape Breton, including Donkin.

The electricity failure caused the main fan at the mine to stop working, and the mine’s standby power supply, required under the province’s mining regulations, was not available because it had not been commissioned by Nova Scotia Power yet.

For the rest of this article: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/donkin-coal-mine-safety-violations-inspection-reports-cape-breton-1.4233266