Surface Mine Study Brings Rule Changes

Environment and Labour (to April 1/08)

December 2, 2005 2:11 PM

Approvals for surface coal mining applications in Cape Breton Regional Municipality (CBRM) will have a greater emphasis on restoring disturbed land to its former or other productive uses.

This is one of several changes made in response to a study of the cumulative effects of surface coal mining on the island that was commissioned earlier this year.

"This fulfils our promise to incorporate the recommendations of the study," Environment and Labour Minister Kerry Morash said today, Dec. 2. "I am particularly pleased with the new guide to reclamation for operators. Should any surface mining projects receive approval, reclamation will be top-of-mind once work begins."

The study provided a framework for identifying and addressing the cumulative effects of surface coal mining.

It included four recommendations for the environmental approval of surface coal mining applications in Cape Breton Regional Municipality. Changes that reflect these recommendations mean:
-- Mine operators must follow a newly developed guide for surface coal mine reclamation plans;
-- Best management practices identified through the study will be applied to future projects as appropriate;
-- Environmental assessment applications must demonstrate that appropriate public consultation has occurred;
-- A community liaison committee will be required before any future surface coal mine approvals will be granted in Cape Breton Regional Municipality;
-- Applicants may be required by the Department of Environment and Labour to demonstrate that public consultation has been undertaken before an approval is issued for a bulk sample.
-- The Department of Environment and Labour will require environmental assessment submissions for surface coal mining projects in CBRM to include an evaluation of potential for cumulative environmental impacts.

The department has released two documents related to surface coal mining in Cape Breton -- a summary of its response to the study and a guide to surface coal mine reclamation plans.

They can be obtained from the department's website at www.gov.ns.ca/enla/ea/coalmining.asp .

Printed copies can be viewed in Department of Environment offices in Sydney at 295 Charlotte St., and in Halifax at 5151 Terminal Rd.


FOR BROADCAST USE:

         The Department of Environment and Labour has changed the

requirements for Cape Breton surface coal mine applications in

response to a study commissioned earlier this year.

     Environment and Labour Minister Kerry Morash says the

changes include a guide to reclamation that a mine operator would

have to follow.

     He says reclamation would be "top of mind" for any operators

that received approval.

     Other new requirements make it mandatory for operators to

consult with the community near a proposed surface mine site and

create a community liaison committee.

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Media Contact: Bill Turpin
              Environment and Labour
              902-424-2575
              E-mail: turpinsw@gov.ns.ca