Residents concerned about proposed blasting at Pioneer Coal in Stellarton

Adam MacInnis, The News
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A group of residents are holding a meeting tomorrow (Tuesday) evening to talk about concerns they have with proposed blasting at the Pioneer Coal strip mine in Stellarton.


Pioneer Coal

Jamie MacGillivray, said he read a notice in the paper about an upcoming meeting about an amendment to  the company’s “methods of extraction” and decided to attend. There he was informed that at the bottom of the open pit in Stellarton there is an area of rock approximately 30 feet thick.  Under that there is a seam of coal about 11 feet thick. He said Pioneer Coal is proposing to blast explosives once a week over three years to break through the rock.

MacGillivray says he has nothing against Pioneer Coal or the economic development in the area, but has some concerns about blasting and wants to know more. He has three children who attend G.R. Saunders Elementary School which is located near the strip mine and is concerned about the dust that might be created by the blasting.

“I don’t know a lot about blasting,” he said. “If they have to get through 30 feet of rock, it’s probably not going to be that small.”

He said coal dust is know to contain heavy metals.

“I don’t want to see this steam rolled through without anyone noticing,” he said.

That’s why he and others are holding the meeting at the Museum of Industry at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. In an ad they published about the meeting it states the purpose is to: “hear opinions and get input on how as a community we should deal with this proposal. All interested parties from anywhere are welcome, except employees or representatives or Pioneer Coal.”

One option the group is already thinking about is asking Pioneer Coal to fund a study by expects selected by a concerned citizens’ group, rather than their own experts.

For more information about this meeting contact Donald Clarke at 754-2662 or Jamie MacGillivray at 755-0398 or email

Organizations: G.R. Saunders Elementary School, Museum of Industry

Geographic location: Stellarton

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Recent comments

  • Allan I
    May 20, 2014 - 21:02

    How do you have a meeting without the party that is doing the business in attendance to answer the questions of how they operate? If you are really concerned you should actually find out facts from the company in question, or the environment department who monitors all aspects of mining including the blasts?

  • john penney
    May 05, 2014 - 18:07

    I work at Pioneer Coal, I live and pay taxes in Stellarton just like you, I live pretty close to Pioneer Coal, and have lived here my whole life, but am not allowed to attend your meeting, which I think is bias.

  • Roger
    May 05, 2014 - 12:57

    People don't want wind turbines so we can't cut back on coal. Obviously wind power can never completely replace coal but it can help lower coal usage. I've often wondered if the people who live near coal power generators and coal mines would trade coal for wind turbines and all the downsides that come with wind power.

  • chief wiggam
    May 05, 2014 - 10:06

    o.k., this is where "idle no more" should be. just saying.