Dozens turn out to show concern
The town of Stellarton is going to write to the Nova Scotia Department of Environment to ask that they do an environmental assessment before accepting an application for an amendment by Pioneer Coal that would allow the company to blast in Stellarton.
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The mining company is looking to amend their methods of extraction, allowing them to blast explosives to get to a seam of coal under 30 feet of rock.
The council chambers had standing room only and that was in short supply when the council members spoke, expressing their concerns with the blasting and the potential damage to basements as well as aging town infrastructure such as water lines that they feared might be harmed. They also talked about the air quality concerns.
Seemingly pleased by the council decision to ask for an environmental assessment and to request that the Department of Environment meet with the town before making a decision, the majority of those present left as soon as the vote was taken.
Nova Construction (which owns Pioneer Coal) president, Donald Chisholm said in a previous interview with The News they came upon a very hard band of mud stone six or seven years ago and since then, they’ve tried to find ways to work around it. They bought a machine with a rock saw, which basically looks like a giant power saw to cut through the hard rock to the coal. But doing that has slowed progress, spewed large amounts of dust from the saw, increased operating costs and created a backup in places to put the waste material.
He believes blasting will speed up their work and allow them to finish sooner than they would if they continue trying to use saws.
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