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Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Pioneer Coal gets approval for surface mining at Prince
By Wes Stewart
the Cape Breton Post

Point Aconi - Boularderie Island residents appetite for another strip mine operation will be tested again.

Environment and Labour has signed off on the industrial approval, the final stage in the assessment process allowing Pioneer Coal of Antigonish to strip mine for near surface coal around the former Prince mine.

“We’ve had water problems here before, why would the government permit strip mining,” Sylvia Cantwell wants to know.

She said residents are being treated like “guinea pigs” and live in constant fear that such operations will allow sea water to seep into their well water.

Former new surface and underground mines continue to leach yellow coprous mine water into the nearby Bras d’Or Gut, Donna Stubbert noted during a recent tour of the area with Environment and Labour Minister Mark Parent.

Stubbert, a member of Citizens Against Strip Mining, who encountered numerous problems in past mining operations tried to lobby government to abandon plans for almost two years.

“It’s very clear they are more interested in looking after the interests of big business than they are the voters.”

The approval contains more than 50 conditions related to work on the site and sets out in detail the daily operational requirements needed to meet the conditions of the environmental assessment approval issued last December.

At the end of the seven-year mining project Pioneer Coal must do a complete reclamation of the site.

The company must also continue to inform the citizen’s liaison committee about the mine’s operation.

Pioneer Coal owner John Chisholm was not available to comment on when the company plans to begin mining.

The company has a coal lease on 228 hectares, including some 18 hectares of wetlands.

Stubbert said members of the anti-strip mining group are going ahead with plans for a protest in front of the Environment and Labour office on Charlotte Street, Sydney.

CASM will hold a public meeting 7 p.m., Monday in the Millville community hall.

Victoria-the Lakes MLA Keith Bain, a Boularderie Island resident, is disappointed.

“I will try my best to work with the group to tell them what avenues might be out there.”

The Tory MLA said they may be able to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia.

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