Note that this is an optical scan of a hard copy and may
contain formatting errors.
INDUSTRIAL APPROVAL APPLICATION SUPPORTING DOCUMENT
Surface Coal Mine and Reclamation Project Point Aconi,
Prepared For: Pioneer Coal Limited
Nova Scotia Department of Environment and Labour
TABLE OF CONTENTS
7.0 AIR QUALM AND DUST
11.0 MINE DEVELOPMENT AND
11.5 POTENTIAL FOR SUBSIDENCE - HIGHWALL MINING
12.1 SCHEDULE FOR MINE RECLAMATION
12.4 BENEFITS OF FINAL RECLAMATION
12.5 LONG TERM
LIST OF FIGURES
FIGURE 1-1 SITE LOCATION
FIGURE 1-2 EXISTING SITE FEATURES
FIGURE 3-1 GROUNDWATER
FIGURE 4-1 SURFACE WATER
FIGURE 6-1 EXISTING WETLANDS
FIGURE 10-1 PRODUCT TRANSPORTATION ROUTE FIGURE 11-1
FIGURE 12-1 FINAL RECLAMATION CONCEPT
LIST OF TABLES
TABLE 9-1: SUMMARY OF VIEW PLANES TO PROPOSED SURFACE
MINE ............. 14
LIST OF APPENDICES
Appendix A Terms and Conditions of Approval
Appendix B Environmental Protection Plan
Appendix C Community Liaison Committee Materials
(Previously Provided and Approved by NSEL) Appendix D Dispute and Arbitration
Appendix E Wetland Compensation Plan
Appendix F Initial Blast Design
Appendix G Pre-blast Survey Area
Appendix H Visual Impact Assessment
Appendix I Reclamation Cost Estimate
Appendix J Mi kmaw Knowledge Study
CONESTOGA-ROVERS & ASSOCIATES
Pioneer Coal Limited (Pioneer Coal) is preparing to
undertake the Surface Coal Mine and Reclamation Project at the Prince Mine Site
in the Point Aconi Coal Resource Block, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Commencement
of work on the site is subject to approvals from Nova Scotia Department of
Environment and Labour (NSEL).
This project involves the operation of a surface mine
to extract approximately 1.6 million tonnes of coal. Conventional surface mining
methods, as well as innovative highwall mining methods using the NOVAMINER 2000,
will be employed. Progressive site reclamation will occur with final reclamation
to occur in 2012. The site location and existing features of the site are shown
on Figure 1-1 and 1-2.
Prince Mine coal resources can play a significant role
in the supply of indigenous coal in Nova Scotia. The use of indigenous coal
resources in electrical generating facilities is a main principle of Nova
Scotia's Energy Strategy. The undertaking will significantly improve future land
use options in the project area via its reclamation program for the former
Prince Mine Site. It was demonstrated via the Class I environmental assessment
process that any adverse effects or significant environmental effects of the
undertaking can be adequately mitigated.
This undertaking was approved by the Minister of
Environment and Labour on December 28, 2005 in accordance with Section 13(1)(b)
of the Environmental Assessment Regulations,
pursuant to Part IV of the Environment Act
subject to Terms and Conditions (Appendix A). The approval was based upon
commitments presented by Pioneer Coal in the environmental assessment
documentation, as well as the requirements as noted in the Terms and Conditions.
An Industrial Approval is required under Part V
Approvals under the Environment Act.
This document with its appendices, including the Environmental Protection Plan
(EPP) in Appendix B, supports Pioneer Coal's Industrial Approval Application.
The organization of this document closely follows the
Terms and Conditions and is supported by detailed attachments. These include the
EPP and the Mi'kmaw Knowledge Study (MKS). All monitoring and mitigative
measures are presented in detail in the EPP; however, the issues and approach
are included in this
1 CONESTOGA-ROVERS & ASSOCIATES
document with appropriate references to the EPP. As
committed in the environmental assessment registration document, the final MKS
was completed to satisfactorily address First Nations issues.
Formation of and consultation with the Community
Liaison Committee (CLC) is a significant component of the Terms and Conditions.
Pioneer Coal agrees that direct consultation with a CLC will create a better
project and facilitate communication with the public. The input of the CLC was
solicited as part of the Industrial Approval process.
2 CONESTOGA-ROVERS & ASSOCIATES
2.0 PUBLIC CONSULTATION
As part of the Provincial environmental assessment, a
public consultation program was completed. Though no formal consultation program
was required for a Class I undertaking (other than Notice of Registration),
Pioneer Coal felt it was important to consider public input in the initial
planning of the Surface Coal Mine and Reclamation of the Prince Mine Site.
Participants at the public consultation sessions (April 5 and April 6, 2005)
were provided with information about the important role of the CLC as an
opportunity to provide advice to the Proponent and allow a conduit for
The CLC will serve as the primary method of public
consultation during preparation for and operation of the surface coal mine and
reclamation; however, members of the public and other stakeholders are also able
to contact Pioneer Coal directly to request information. Pioneer Coal has
previously provided NSEL with information on the CLC formation, membership and
mandate. The information was reviewed and approved by NSEL.
The CLC is established based upon NSEL
Guidelines for the Formation of a Community Liaison Committee,
as well as the Terms and Conditions of Approval. The Terms of Reference are
appended in Appendix C. The Terms of Reference reflect comments from NSEL and
the CLC. NSEL has approved the CLC membership.
The CLC was formed and the initial meeting held on May
3, 2006 in Sydney. Information on aspects of the site operations specifically
referenced in the EA Conditions was reviewed with the CLC with suggested
modifications noted and incorporated into this IA Application.
Where equitable forum and discussion does not create a
decision of the CLC, the regulators will have final authority where it is a
regulatory issue. Otherwise, negotiation will occur directly with interested
stakeholder(s). Ultimately, decisions how to mitigate and monitor any actual or
perceived environmental and socio-economic impact will occur based on
scientifically defensible information as outlined in the Terms of Reference.
The Dispute and Arbitration Process and Policy document
is in Appendix D.
3 CONESTOGA-ROVERS & ASSOCIATES
During the environmental assessment process,
groundwater was identified as a valued socio-economic and environmental
component, especially in terms of domestic wells. This concern was verified
during the public consultation process.
Hydrogeological information from a number of sources
identified in the ERD was reviewed to assist in the development of the
groundwater aspects of the IA Application and the EPP. Local groundwater
movement in both the surficial materials aquifer and the bedrock aquifer are
highly controlled by topography and therefore moves in the central portion of
the site towards the portal within 200-300 metres of the opening and then
according to localized slopes towards the south and towards Morrison Pond for
the western portion of the site. Pre-portal conditions most likely involved a
northeast to southwest movement of groundwater in both aquifers. Data from long
term monitoring wells in the Point Aconi area show fluctuations in bedrock of up
to 10 metres through a year. All data available was reviewed and used in the
development of the programs presented in the EPP.
The environmental assessment registration document
(Section 4.4) outlines the regional hydrogeology, domestic wells and an initial
drawdown assessment. Mitigative measures are identified in Section
220.127.116.11, Section 18.104.22.168 and Section
22.214.171.124 of the registration document; whereas contingency and
reclamation planning are included in Section 7.2 and 7.3.1 of the registration
The homes within 800 metres of the mining block
boundaries are shown on Figure 3-1 and distinguished by type of water supply
(i.e., wells or municipal system). As the surface coal mine and reclamation
project has the potential to lower groundwater levels, as well as impact quality
of the groundwater, Pioneer Coal has completed additional assessments, baseline
survey and detailed monitoring plans and contingency plans. These include:
• Detailed assessment of zone of influence on
groundwater levels based on updated surface coal mine development and operation
• A plan for surveying domestic wells prior to mining
• Monitoring and mitigation plans for groundwater
4 CONESTOGA-ROVERS & ASSOCIATES
• Water supply policy covering homes with domestic
wells in the event that there is loss of quantity or quality caused by Pioneer
The zone of influence for drawdown associated with mine
operations has been previously discussed in the environmental assessment
registration document. Additional work was completed to further attempt to
determine the potential drawdown zone including a review of NSEL observation
well data located at Point Aconi (NSEL OBS WELL), data from Nova Scotia Power on
their monitoring well network at Point Aconi (M-15) and domestic well
information in the immediate vicinity of the mine site.
This information was used in the determination of the
Water Supply Policy boundaries, the domestic well survey program, the
groundwater mitigation measures and the groundwater monitoring program. These
items, as well as the Water Supply Policy, are outlined in the EPP (Appendix B
of this document).
The Water Supply Policy Boundary includes domestic
wells within 800 metres of the site to the south and up to the Brogan Surface
Mine limits to the north. The geographic area to which the Water Supply Policy
applies is shown on Figure 3-1.
A domestic well survey will be completed within the
boundary shown. The proposed domestic well survey plan will be submitted for a
third party review. The third party reviewer will be selected in consultation
with the CLC, and will also review the groundwater monitoring program as
outlined in EPP. As per the 3.2 of the Terms and Conditions, results of the
review shall be provided to NSEL and the CLC. The plans and programs will be
modified as required.
In the event that groundwater monitoring shows a
significant impact to domestic wells or surface water regime, a contingency plan
has been created: This is outlined in EPP (sub-section 4.2) and the Site
Contingency Plan in Appendix B of the EPP.
5 CONESTOGA-ROVERS & ASSOCIATES
4.0 SURFACE WATER
Surface water was identified as a valued ecological and
socio-economic component during the environmental assessment process.
Watercourses downgradient of the mining blocks include Morrison Pond, Morrison
Brook, MacDonald Brook and Coal Hollow Brook. A presentation of the existing
surface water regime can be found in Section 4.3 of the environmental assessment
registration document and the corresponding text in the environmental assessment
registration addendum. The local hydrology, topography and surface water
management features are shown on Figure 4-1.
Quality and quantity of freshwater was identified as a
valued ecological and socio-economic resource. These watercourses flow to the
marine environment which also has ecological, social and economic value. As a
result, protection of surface water via management, mitigation and monitoring is
key. Section 6.2.2 of the environmental registration document identified the
mitigative measures to protect surface water. These and the proposed monitoring
plans are presented in the EPP (Appendix B of this document).
Surface water management and protection of receiving
water during the development and operation of the surface coal mine and
reclamation project at the Prince Mine site includes the following:
• Riparian buffer to a watercourse (minimum of 30
• Sedimentation control fencing strategically placed
along land contours at the edge of any disturbed area;
• Rock-lined perimeter ditch constructed around the
active work areas as mining advances to collect surface water runoff, which is
in turn directed to the underground workings;
• Temporary diversion berms and ditches used within
the site to divert runoff away from the active mining areas, ensuring this water
is kept clean;
• Placement area for topsoils, subsoils and waste
rock will be within the site perimeter ditch;
• Pioneer Coal will mine through pit crops as part of
operations. As a result, water should not migrate to pit crops;
• Temporary erosion and sedimentation control measures
as needed during site preparation (e.g., rock dams with geotextile, hay
6 CONESTOGA-ROVERS & ASSOCIATES
• Clearing and grubbing occurring in stages following
the work progression which will limit open areas;
• Surface drainage collection system via sumps from
the active mining areas and ditching around the storage of waste rock, topsoil,
• Collected water pumped from the active pit to the
Prince Mine workings or to the existing Settling Ponds for treatment as required
prior to discharge;
• Collected water in the active pit tested for pH
prior to pumping; and,
• All water discharged from the Settling Ponds to
meet established discharge guidelines and will be monitored as per EPP in
Surface water from site activities will initially be
directed into the Prince Mine workings. Monitoring of the water level within the
workings will dictate how long this can continue during the project. The water
level is currently at approximately 280 metres below sea level.
Cape Breton Development Corporation (CBDC) presently
monitor water levels within the Prince Mine. This information allows for an
accurate timeline prediction of when the Prince Mine workings will be flooded.
At present, the CBDC estimated date is 2012. Pioneer Coal will take over this
responsibility and keep regulators informed of changes to overall trends in
water level monitoring.
The settling ponds within the existing treatment plant
will be operated at design discharge rates. These ponds have been in place since
1994. Coagulant will be added, if required; however, based on Pioneer Coal's
past operating experiences, coagulant is not expected to be required to meet
The drainage control system is designed for a storm
with duration of 24 hours and a return period of 25 years. Settling pond
capacity will be sufficient to capture the complete runoff from the associated
active mining areas. The settling ponds are located on the west end of the
existing Prince Mine Site. The exact location and relative size can be seen on
A three-pond arrangement is in place. The first pond in
the arrangement is of square shape and has a capacity of approximately 17
million litres. Ponds 2 and 3 are rectangular and each has a capacity of
approximately 13 million litres. The total storage capacity of the Settling Pond
arrangement is approximately 43 million litres or 43,000 cubic metres;
therefore, highly conservative sedimentation conditions will be provided at a
maximum flow rate through the
7 CONESTOGA-ROVERS & ASSOCIATES
ponds of 225 cubic metres per hour. Under normal
runoff conditions, the applied flow rate will be considerably less than the
maximum design flow rate.
The ponds will be connected allowing for maximum
retention time with one discharge point. All drainage ditching will be designed
to maintain stable conditions to minimize erosion for the estimated peak flow
rates of storm drainage. Long-term ditches will be rock lined to minimize
erosion. Temporary diversion ditches and berms will be seeded and temporarily
stabilized to minimize erosion during the establishment of vegetation. All water
discharged from the site will be within applicable guideline limits.
The holding ponds and active pit areas will provide
substantial containment capacity for storm runoff and for any other emergency
situations that require holding of water prior to treatment in existing sediment
ponds and discharge. During a significant storm event, runoff will remain in the
pit until sediment ponds have cleared. The pits provide a significant storage
capacity for unusually large storm events.
Baseline testing results for acid rock drainage (ARD)
are contained in Table 3-1 of the environmental assessment registration
document. As expected, the coal is net acid producing and the waste rock is net
consuming using the acid-base accounting method.
As part of operations, the acidity of the water in the
active pit sump will be tested. As well, additional acid consumption /
production testing will be done to further determine the ARD potential of the
overburden and host rock. This will be completed as part of mining operations.
Should ARD occur on the site, mitigative measures
(e.g., lime addition to sediment pond) will ensure quality of water entering the
receiving environment. Testing for ARD in the water collected in the pit will be
completed prior to pumping.
8 CONESTOGA-ROVERS & ASSOCIATES
5.0 TERRESTRIAL RESOURCES
A terrestrial habitat evaluation was completed as part
of the environmental assessment processes (Section 4.6.3 in the environmental
assessment registration document and the corresponding text in the environmental
assessment registration addendum). Sensitive or rare species, flora, fauna
(including migratory birds) and wetlands were identified as valued ecological
and socioeconomic components. Wetlands are discussed
separately in Section 6 of this document.
The surface coal mine and reclamation project has a
potential to negatively impact terrestrial resources via disturbance during site
activity (e.g., noise and dust) and habitat loss. Specific mitigative measures
were presented in Section 6.5.3 of the environmental assessment registration
document and the corresponding text in the addendum. Some mitigative measures
are specific to terrestrial resources (e.g., prohibiting harassment of wildlife,
exclusion zones around bird ground nests during the breeding season); however,
many relate to mitigation and monitoring for dust, noise, etc. The mitigative
measures and monitoring plans are included in the EPP (Appendix B).
9 CONESTOGA-ROVERS & ASSOCIATES
The mining block contains wetland habitat that will be
impacted by the surface coal mine and reclamation project. This includes a 7.3
ha treed bog (primarily within mining block 2), a 2.2 ha treed bog (primarily
within mining block 3) and a 6.5 ha fen (portions within mining blocks 1 and 3).
The 6.5 ha fen was identified on Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources
(NSDNR) wetland mapping, but not identified in the field. These wetland
delineations are shown on Figure 6-1.
The existing wetlands are described in the
environmental assessment registration document addendum (Section 4.6.4 and
Appendix B). CMitigative measures are presented in Section 126.96.36.199 of addendum.
Protection of existing wetlands is key as wetlands have been identified as a
valued ecological component; however, where the wetlands lay within the
extraction footprint, removal is required for a feasible surface coal mine and
restoration project on this site. This approach is in accordance with the NSEL
Policy Respecting Alteration of Wetlands (March 1, 2006) and Wetlands Directive
As identified in the environmental assessment
documentation, the site is well suited for appropriate replacement programs for
the wetlands because the site:
• Receives abundant rainfall;
• Has a high diversity of wetland plant species
• Has a number of soil types (organics and low
permeability clay loam) amenable for constructing wetland habitats.
As shown on Figure E-1 included in Appendix E, a new
shrub bog and shallow marsh are proposed within Mining Block 2. This proposed
constructed wetland will compensate
for the 7.3 ha and 2.2 ha treed bogs with equivalent or better wetland habitat
as a commitment in the environmental assessment registration document.
The wetland compensation concept plan was developed on
behalf of Pioneer Coal and is presented in Appendix E. This plan was reviewed
with the CLC. It outlines the objective and approach to wetland compensation to
achieve the underlying principle of "no net loss" of wetland functions.
10 CONESTOGA-ROVERS & ASSOCIATES
Upon finalization of the wetland compensation plan,
further consultation will occur with NSDNR. This will include field verification
of existence of the 6.5 ha fen by NSDNR and determination of compensation plan,
if appropriate, as well as advice on final details of its construction.
Additional consultation will also occur with the community on site features.
11 CONESTOGA-ROVERS & ASSOCIATES
7.0 AIR QUALITY AND DUST
The emissions of dust from the site are a specific
concern to the adjacent residents. As such, air quality was identified as a
valued ecological and socioeconomic component during the
environmental assessment process. The existing air quality in the region is
presented in Section 4.1.3 of the environmental assessment registration document
and Section 188.8.131.52 presents mitigative measures related to dust production.
Any impacts will be very local to the site and
immediate residences and temporary. It is not anticipated that agricultural
fields located approximately 1.5 km north of the site will be significantly
affected by this operation given the distance. Emissions of combustion gases
from heavy machinery also have potential to impact air quality.
Year round operations will require specific attention
to dust (especially during summer months). Mitigative measures and monitoring
will be completed to control and assess the issue. These mitigative measures and
monitoring plan for suspended particulate are contained in the EPP (Appendix B
of this document). The ongoing monitoring must allow a continual feedback to
operations for evaluation of efficiency of mitigations.
12 CONESTOGA-ROVERS & ASSOCIATES
A number of dwellings in the local area may be
occasionally impacted by sound from the site, as well as by vehicular traffic to
and from the site. As such, ambient noise levels were identified as a valued
ecological and socio-economic resource in the environmental assessment process.
The existing noise levels and mitigative measures are discussed on Section 4.2
and Section 184.108.40.206 of the environmental assessment registration document,
Mitigative measures and monitoring will be completed to
control and assess noise associated with site activities. The ongoing monitoring
must allow a continual feedback to operations for evaluation of efficiency of
mitigations. These items are presented in the EPP (Appendix B of this document).
The noises generated from activity associated with the
mine site typically include:
• Trucks and/or conveyor hauling material from the pit
• Mine trucks hauling waste to spoil piles;
• Removal of rock overburden (including blasting) to
access coal resource;
• Reverse warning signals on mine equipment;
• Trucks associated with transport of coal; and,
• Non-mine vehicles delivering supplies to the site.
Blasting will only occur during daylight hours.
Notifications and schedules for blasting are discussed in Section 11 of this
document. These will be developed in accordance with the CLC. The initial blast
design and pre-blast survey area are contained in Appendix F and Appendix G of
this document. Blast designs will be completed prior to each blast and
professional will confirm review in writing, which will be submitted to NSEL.
13 CONESTOGA-ROVERS & ASSOCIATES
9.0 VISUAL IMPACT
The potential visual impact of the project on the
surrounding community, as well as visitors to the area, has been identified as a
key socio-economic issue via public consultation. In particular, tourism is an
important asset to the region. Several key tourism vantage points exist in the
area - including Kelly's Mountain.
As such, a visual impact assessment was conducted for
the proposed project. The visual impact assessment included:
• Selection of five key locations and vantage points
(for both local residents and tourist's);
• Computer generation of future view planes with
existing topography and proposed mine development and operation plans (including
stockpile height and orientation); and,
• Assessment of visual impact and evaluation of
potential mitigative measures, as required.
The results from this assessment are outlined in the
TABLE 9-1: SUMMARY OF VIEW PLANES TO PROPOSED SURFACE
Distance to Direction to
View Point Observed Point Description
Observed Point Observed Point
Location (kms) (degrees from of View true north
1 1.0 13 Proposed stockpile
obscured b trees
(near Prince Mine exit) Stockpile
2 1.4 331 Proposed stockpile
obscured b trees and terrain
Stockpile 3 1.8 354 Proposed
stockpile obscured b terrain
Stockpile 1 2.2 200 Proposed
stockpile obscured b trees
Point Aconi Lighthouse Stockpile 2 & 3 1.7,
2.4 228 Proposed stockpiles 2 & 3 obscured by trees and terrain
Alder Point Stockpile 1 & 2 1.5, 2.6 293 (from
Stockpile 3 2.3 308
Stockpile 1 8.8 127
Bird Islands (from water)
Kellys Mtn hookoff I Stockpile
2 1 17.0 1 61
Stockpile 2 1 7.8 1 128
Stockpile 3 1 7.8 1 122
Stockpile 1 17.5 63
Stockpile 3 1 17.5 1 59
Proposed stockpiles 1 & 2 obscured by trees and
Proposed stockpile obscured by trees and terrain
Proposed stockpile 30% obscured by trees. Visibility is
limited by distance. Proposed stockpile 30% obscured by
trees. Visibility is limited by distance.
Proposed stockpile 30% obscured by trees. Visibility is
limited by distance. Proposed stockpile 50% obscured by
trees. Distance greatly limits visibility.
Proposed stockpile 50% obscured by trees. _ Distance
greatly limits visibility.
Proposed stockpile 50% obscured by trees. Distance
greatly limits visibility.
14 CONESTOGA-ROVERS & ASSOCIATES
As outlined, a number of the viewplanes that had
negative impacts have been or will be mitigated. All of the stockpiles will be
returned to the excavated area by the end of the project as well thus
eliminating residual visual impacts once fully vegetated.
A computational visual impact assessment was not
completed for adjacent residences. It is acknowledged that there will be some
visual impact for these nearby properties (e.g., Forrest Lane). Pioneer Coal is
committed to working with individual residents on this issue and will maintain
buffers where possible to provide visual breaks where view planes of site
The detailed visual impact assessment was presented to
the CLC for comment. Pioneer Coal will continue to work with the CLC to minimize
visual impact. Where possible, mine development and operation will minimize
impact on both residents and visitors to the community; however, some short term
residual impact to aesthetics is expected to remain at certain vantage points.
The complete visual impact assessment is presented in
Appendix H. The resulting mitigative measures are discussed in the EPP.
15 CONESTOGA-ROVERS & ASSOCIATES
Coal transportation has potential impacts to ambient
noise and air quality as well as impacts to local traffic patterns. All coal
will be transported from the site in standard 35 tonne tractor-trailers via
local roads suitable for transport trucks to the NSPI Generating Station located
at Point Aconi and possibly other locations. All trucks not destined to the NSPI
site would leave the Point Aconi area via the Prince Mine Road (Route #162).
This route does not have any residents or businesses along it.
As such, Pioneer Coal is committed to ensuring that:
• Loaded trucks leaving the site shall be fitted with
appropriate tarpaulins to minimize dust emissions and spillage;
• Transportation of coal from the site will be
limited to between 0700 hours and 1800 hours, Monday to Saturday unless
otherwise approved by NSEL; and,
• Site staff will ensure that trucks are clean and
inspected prior to leaving the mine site.
The transportation route is shown on the Figure 10-1.
16 CONESTOGA-ROVERS &
11.0 MINE DEVELOPMENT AND OPERATION
Preparation of the site for development of the mine
includes the following:
• Delineation of the limit of site disturbance and
placement of sedimentation and erosion control features;
• Construction of temporary diversion berms and
ditches within the site to divert runoff away from the active mining areas,
ensuring this water is kept clean;
• Construction of a rock-lined perimeter ditch to
isolate and collect runoff from the active mining areas;
• Removal of infrastructure at the site with the
exception of sedimentation ponds/treatment facility and CBDC mechanical shop.
This includes proper disposal of material and grading / stabilization of area;
• Preparation of stockpiles as shown on Figure 11-1
Mining Sequence; and,
• All other monitoring and environmental protection
features as outlined in this document and the EPP.
11.2 MINING EXTRACTION
Once the site has been prepared, extraction activities
will begin. Initially, the mine will be developed through the Water Level Tunnel
along the eastern portion of the site (i.e., Excavation #1 and Stockpile #1 as
shown on Figure 11-1). This is a potential highwall mining area and if
conditions warrant, Pioneer Coal will highwall mine northerly from the
established highwall as shown on the figure. The estimated volume of Stockpile
#1 is 400,000 cubic metres.
At the west end of the site, conventional surface
mining will commence and move in an easterly direction starting with Excavation
#2. A boxcut will be removed and all excavated material placed in stockpile. As
shown on Figure 11-1, the rock will be stockpiled outside the lowwall limits and
the clay/ topsoil stockpile along the backside of the highwall. Estimated
volumes are 1,150,000 cubic metres and 540,000 cubic metres.
This excavation is larger than normally required
because there is a potential highwall mining area north of this excavation. As a
result, a 50 metre section of
17 CONESTOGA-ROVERS & ASSOCIATES
the excavation will remain open. If conditions warrant,
highwall mining will take place within the area identified on the plan.
In Excavation #3, the rock will be placed into the
immediate area of Excavation #2 leaving the western portion open for highwall
mining. Then the coal can be extracted from Excavation #3.
While this is going on the clay/topsoil from Excavation
#4 can be placed over the newly placed rock of Excavation #2. This material will
bring the area back to the original grade. Contouring and stabilization can be
preformed as part of reclamation.
These extraction and progressive reclamation operations
will be continuous until project completion as Pioneer Coal has no planned
11.3 PROGRESSIVE RECLAMATION
As such, progressive reclamation begins as the mining
moves sequentially in an easterly direction across the site with Excavation #3
and subsequently Excavation #4 as illustrated in Figure 11-1.
Additional excavations or slices are removed in the
same manner until the mining operations reach the eastern limit of the project.
Each slice is approximately the same. The clay/topsoil, rock and coal volumes
are similar (i.e., 35,000 tonne of coal, 70, 000 cubic metres of clay/ topsoil,
and 200,000 cubic metres rock).
Once the eastern boundary of mining is reached, the
rock and clay/topsoil stockpiles are placed into the remaining excavations. This
includes the far west section left open for highwall mining. Operations will
incorporate progressive reclamation and reclamation will be ongoing.
Blasting is required to remove the consolidated rock as
part of ongoing operations. An initial blast design is included in Appendix F.
Ongoing blast designs will be completed and reviewed by a qualified third party.
NSEL will receive written documentation of this process. Pre-blast surveys will
be completed in an 800 metre radius of the blasts as identified in Appendix G.
18 CONESTOGA-ROVERS &
Domestic well surveys are discussed in Section 3 of
this document. All blasts will be monitored as per Provincial requirements.
An average of three to four blasts per month are
expected during mining operations. Pioneer Coal will determine the most
appropriate timing through advise of the CLC. This will include a plan for
notification of the public (e.g., neighbours). As well, climatic conditions will
be assessed prior to conducting any blasting (e.g., via Environment Canada or
Nova Scotia Power Point Aconi facility).
The Dispute and Arbitration Policy in Appendix D will
address potential concerns associated with blasting, including flyrock,
structural damage or domestic well issues.
11.5 POTENTIAL FOR SUBSIDENCE - HIGHWALL MINING
The physical properties of the overburden strata are
the most important factors that control the shape and size of the deformation or
subsidence pattern. In general, when the strata are strong and hard the rock can
be expected to support itself for periods of time without fracturing. Small
openings have a greater potential to be self supporting indefinitely.
After extraction of a section of coal of sufficient
width all the overlying strata are subject to various degrees of movement from
the mined area upward through the waste rock strata including the unconsolidated
overburden or soil. According to the movement characteristics, the effected
strata can be divided into four zones extending from the (coal) mine opening
Soil Zone This is the surface
layer the depth of which depends on location; it consists of soil and weathered
Continuous Bending (Deformation) Zone
Strata between the fractured zone and the surface bend downward without
breaking. Their continuity and thus the original features remain. Occasionally,
impermeability is temporarily lost and then recovered after mining.
Fractured Zone This zone is
located immediately above the caved zone. The basic characteristics are strata
breakage, and loss of continuity, but the stratified bedding remains. The
severity of strata breakage reduces from the bottom of the
19 CONESTOGA-ROVERS & ASSOCIATES
zone to the top. The porosity and permeability of the
strata will increase greatly. The combined height of the fractured zone and the
caved zone is in general 20 to 30 times the mining height. The height of the
fractured zone for hard strong strata is larger than that for soft and weak
Caved Zone After the extraction
of coal, the immediate roof caves irregularly and fills up the void. The strata
in this zone not only lose their continuity completely, they also lose their
stratified bedding. The caved zone is normally 2 to 8 times the mining height
depending on the properties of the immediate roof and overburden.
With the highwall mining method and if the extraction
ratio is low, (i.e., 50% t) pillars can support the overburden without collapse.
An engineered design for zero subsidence will properly determined the size of
pillar required to support the overburden weight of the roof strata. There will
be no surface subsidence. Pioneer Coal has utilized highwall mining at other
sites over the last six years. There is no evidence whatsoever of any
subsidence. In the US, literature reports that under prevailing mining
conditions (i.e. no pillar extraction), the extraction ratio is usually less
than 50% and generally no surface subsidence occurs. Whether surface subsidence
occurs depends on whether the remaining pillars can support the overburden or
Project managers have considered the possibility of
subsidence in the overlaying strata in the Point Aconi highwall extraction
areas. The apparent strength, natural fabric and structure of the strata couple
with the mining depths suggest the effects of subsidence will be negligible.
20 CONESTOGA-ROVERS &
The primary goal of Pioneer Coal's reclamation plan is
to return the land to a state that is safe, stable and compatible with the
surrounding landscape and final land use. The plan was completed in accordance
with Nova Scotia Environment & Labour, Guide for Surface Coal Mine Reclamation
Plans (November 2005).
Ongoing reclamation will occur at the site as mining
progresses as it is fully integrated with mining operations. Following an
expected mining period of seven years, the final reclamation on the site is
expected to occur in the year 2012. Reclamation will
include contouring overburden, placing of topsoil and revegetation
as per Figure 12-1.
Ultimately, the site will be stabilized to minimize
erosion and the overall drainage pattern will be restored. Site drainage will be
planned to direct approximately the same volumes of water flow to the downstream
watercourses as existed prior to this development. The Wetland Compensation Plan
will be integrated into final detailed reclamation plan developed in
consultation with land owners (including the Province) with advice from the CLC.
Because the majority of the site is Crown land, Pioneer Coal is constrained from
defining the ultimate land use of this site after the completion of mining
activities. Final reclamation activities will be completed with input from land
owners. The final land use planning of Provincial Crown lands will be resolved
within the NSDNR Integrated Resource Management (IRM) process.
The plan will mitigate existing safety hazards and
adverse potential environmental effects. As the development and operation of the
surface coal mine incorporates a progressive reclamation approach, land is
reinstated early in the project life as part of the on-going operations. The
obvious benefits to this approach include the early establishment of vegetation,
thereby minimizing the time and effort required to completely stabilize the site
once mining is complete. As well, establishing vegetation early in the project
allows Pioneer Coal the ability to continually evaluate its growth and make
adjustments as required. The initial reclaimed area for this project will have
four years growth before Pioneer Coal completed mining operations.
21 CONESTOGA-ROVERS &
12.1 SCHEDULE FOR MINE RECLAMATION
Reclamation of existing CBDC infrastructure will begin
with the start of site operations. Removal of the existing infrastructure will
be continuous until complete. Pioneer Coal Ltd. plans to keep the former CBCD
Mechanical Shop (recently purchased by Pioneer Coal) in place and the existing
water treatment ponds and related treatment building. All else will be cleaned
up as part of start up. At final reclamation, these features will also be
removed and surface restored.
Progressive mine reclamation will begin in year two of
the mine development plan. A boxcut will be developed at the western boundary of
the site. This material will be stockpiled and used to reinstate the final
excavations of the mine plan. Additionally, overburden materials from the next
cut easterly will go into stockpile. As a result, no progressive reclamation
will take place until this boxcut is complete and the described overburden is
removed and stockpiled.
Subsequently, progressive reclamation will begin. Rock
excavated will be placed directly into the open area to the west. Overburden
from the next mining block easterly will be placed on top of this reinstated
rock. At this point, the surface is within the original contours and grade and
the area can be shaped and stabilized.
This cycle is continuous throughout the life of the
project. During the last year of the project (anticipated as year seven), the
stockpiled material from year one will be placed in the final excavations at the
eastern boundary of the property.
At the anticipated recovery rate of up to approximately
350,000 tonnes annually, final reclamation and closure will take place during
year seven of the project. Due to progressive reclamation, some areas will have
been restored and vegetated for up to four years at the end of year seven.
12.2 LAND USE
At present the project area has a limited usage. A
portion of the area is an abandoned industrial site. The footprint of the Prince
Mine is delineated by a chain link fence. The fence prevents the inadvertent
entry of persons onto the site. For the most part, underground mining operations
stopped and the infrastructure remains.
22 CONESTOGA-ROVERS & ASSOCIATES
A portion of the land is forested with fairly even aged
mixed hardwood and softwood stands. This area has historically been the location
of bootleg coal mining. In its present condition, land is unsafe due to
subsidence, near surface workings and related shafts. These bootleg areas have
been abandoned with debris present from both past bootleg mining activity and
more recently drop off of debris.
Mill Pond Road/Sherri Lee Lane runs east to west across
a portion of the site. A portion of the road will be removed and reconstructed
as part of the final site reclamation plan.
No features of environmental significance is noted in
the mine boundaries. Wetland significance was presented in the environmental
assessment addendum. Wetlands compensation is addressed in Section 6 of this
document. The final reclamation includes restoration of removed wetland habitat
within the site.
Potential land use options on any given site may be
limited or controlled by technical, economic, social, political or other
factors. All such factors and influences must be considered in the land use
planning process. It is unrealistic to believe that all disturbed land should,
or could be developed and managed for tangible economic benefits. Equally
unrealistic is the notion that all disturbed land remains unproductive for many
years into the future.
Reclamation can be broad in scope incorporating a
number of potential land uses. With proper planning, typical restoration
functions such as backfilling, recontouring and revegetation can enhance the
area. Land uses may include complete reforestation and revegetation, development
of natural areas and ecological reserves, potential use as residential,
industrial, recreational or agricultural sites. Given owners, location and
surrounding land uses, the final reclamation is expected to include: a
reinstated roadway; a constructed wetland complex to compensate disturbed bog;
and, a safe, contoured grassed land with some additional plantings.
12.3 TECHNICAL CONSIDERATIONS
Science and technology allow operators and industry
professionals to study the existing site, project the evolution of mine
development and consider alternatives for optimum reclamation and use before and
during the various stages of development. Some of these factors include:
23 CONESTOGA-ROVERS & ASSOCIATES
• Conduct representative soil sampling to determine
soil conditions and recommend amendments;
• Test plots to determine which plant species are
recommended for reclamation of this site, what type of preparation and planting
schedule is required and how best to integrate a planting program with the
ongoing operation and future land usage. Pioneer Coals' approach to reclamation
planning encourages the selection of native species. Re-vegetation will mimic
surrounding non-disturbed areas;
• Determine the potential for the planting of seedlings
and hardwood/ softwood saplings in specified areas; and,
• Conduct a survey to determine areas for potential
A detailed cost estimate associated with reclamation is
contained in Appendix K.
12.4 BENEFITS OF FINAL RECLAMATION
The end result of the surface coal mine and reclamation
project at the Prince Mine Site is a stable, safe property that is:
• contoured, vegetated and does not contain a safety
hazard to visitors;
• maintains similar biodiversity as per existing
• does not pose a threat to the received environment
via surface water run off.
At present, all surface water runoff from the abandoned
Prime Mine is directed into the old workings. A portion is directed by way of
gravity feed and the rest is gathered and pumped to the workings portal opening.
The existing water control system will no longer work when the workings flood,
and the impacted surface water will flow into the receiving water untreated.
Reclamation of the lands addresses this potential environmental problem.
A waste rock stockpile remains as a result of past
mining operations. Volume is approximately 250,000 cubic metres. Contaminated
runoff from this pile is presently directed into the workings. This will have to
be addressed once the workings flood. Reclamation of the lands addresses this
potential environmental problem.
24 CONESTOGA-ROVERS &
12.5 LONG TERM MONITORING
Pioneer Coal is committed to completion of a long-term
post-reclamation monitoring program. The objective of this program is to monitor
the success of reclamation. This is further discussed in Section 3.3 of EPP.
25 CONESTOGA-ROVERS & ASSOCIATES