Cape Breton coal mine stops production after second roof fall in two weeks

DONKIN, N.S. — A coal mine in Cape Breton has stopped production after a roof collapse in the same area where another rockfall occurred less than two weeks ago.

The provincial Labour Department says there were no injuries in either incident, but it has suspended work in the Kameron Collieries mine in Donkin, N.S., pending further study of what's causing the falls.

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Scott Nauss, the province's senior director of inspection compliance, says the latest in the series of roof falls came while workers were in the mine on Thursday afternoon.

He says the fall occurred in an area "not far" from the last collapse on Feb. 2, in a portion of the underwater coal seam where "there are particular challenges."

Paul McEachern, a spokesman for Kameron Collieries, said there were 35 to 40 miners working on Thursday and some were "in the area of the event."

He says the miners noted the signs of stress in the rock, installed additional support to the roof and moved away from the area prior to the fall.

"The miners are well trained to identify signs of stress," said McEachern. "This wasn't a sudden event. There were signs of this."

After the earlier rockfall, the company was ordered to clean up the area and submit an assessment of what happened, including a proposal for corrective measures.

The province accepted the remediation plan provided by the mine and allowed it to resume production earlier this week.

A roof collapsed at the Donkin mine in July 2019, and the site suffered two other rockfalls in December 2018.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 14, 2020.

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