HALIFAX — The owners of the Touquoy gold mine in Nova Scotia say they have received approval from the provincial environment department to raise the height of the wall of its existing tailings waste pond.
Australian-based St Barbara’s proposal to raise the tailings wall has been opposed by environmental groups, such as the Ecology Action Centre, which have voiced concerns about the potential for a dam breach.
St Barbara says modifications to its industrial permit will allow it to proceed with construction “in the coming weeks.”
The company has said it would have to suspend the open pit operation in Moose River, N.S., if its application wasn’t approved by early August.
Company CEO Craig Jetson says the outcome was the result of improved “co-ordination and communication” with the provincial and federal governments.
The environment department was not immediately available for comment.
“I am keen to continue to develop the new collaborative approach with the government which helped with the delivery of today’s permit,” Jetson said.
The company added that the decision will extend gold production at the mine site until December 2024.
In May, Environment Minister Tim Halman gave St Barbara’s Canadian subsidiary, Atlantic Mining Nova Scotia Inc., one year to submit more information on the environmental effects of a separate application to store Touquoy’s tailings in an open pit once mining is completed.
St Barbara says it wants to develop three other proposed gold mines located nearby that are currently in various stages of the regulatory process.
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