HALIFAX — A consultant who produced a report on Cape Breton’s idled Donkin coal mine says seasonal weather and humidity affect roof stability at the underground operation.
Andrew Corkum, a geological expert at Dalhousie University, says mudstone rock in the roof is susceptible to weakening under damp conditions, most prevalent in the spring and summer.
Corkum says the mine needs to be upgraded before operations can safely resume.
He recommends that the mine improve its safety measures and add to its monitoring system in the tunnels.
The Labour Department says the upgrades must be completed by Feb. 29, 2024, before a stop-work order — imposed in July after a rockfall — can be lifted.
The department has also ordered that the mine’s ground-control plan be reviewed by a third-party engineer with experience in mining and tunnelling.
The mine has laid off its 130 workers and has placed its operation in an “idled state.”
© 2023 The Canadian Press