News release

Inverness Mine Remediation

The provincial government will invest up to $4 million next year in a project to clean up contamination from an abandoned coal mine in Inverness County.

Tourism and Culture Minister Rodney MacDonald made the announcement today, Sept. 19, on behalf of Ron Russell, Minister of Transportation and Public Works, at the Inverness Fire Hall.

The cleanup is required before any potential development can occur on the 60-hectare site, just west of Route 19, near the town of Inverness.

"This is a necessary step to minimize any current or future environmental risks," said Mr. MacDonald. "It's the right thing to do and an important step toward bringing new opportunities to this region of Cape Breton. The work, to be done next year, underscores our commitment to support economic development and local prosperity, while observing all proper environmental safeguards."

A coal mine operated on the site from the 1860s to the 1960s. The land has been vacant since then. Studies, however, indicated that waste rock at the site has produced acid over the years, covering at least 25 per cent of the site. Consultant CBCL Limited was hired by the province in June to complete a comprehensive site analysis and environmental management plan.

"It makes a lot more sense to tackle the problem now and not later," said Mr. MacDonald. "Acting now is in the taxpayers' best interest, since delays could lead to higher costs and raise liability issues. Our plan will bring the site back to a condition roughly similar to what would have existed before its use as a coal mine."

To ensure provincial control and the safety of the public and contractors, the remediation program will be managed by the Department of Transportation and Public Works. The project is expected to begin next spring and will take about six months to complete.

FOR BROADCAST USE:

The province announced today, September 19th, it will clean up an abandoned coal mine in Inverness County.

The mine operated off and on for about a century until the 1960s.

Environmental studies done by the province show there is contamination that could hinder future economic development projects.

The remediation will start next spring. It's expected to last six months, at a cost of up to four million dollars.

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Contact:

Richard Perry
Transportation and Public Works 902-424-8978 E-mail:
cb             September 19, 2002       5:57 P.M.