St. Lawrence fluorspar mine closer to re-opening
Mine with deadly past can be operated safely, according to mining officials
A company that has been working to reopen a fluorspar mine in St. Lawrence – which has been closed for more than 20 years – says a multi-million-dollar deal will see the mine ramping up production later this year.
Canadian Fluorspar is partnering with French chemical giant Arkema to get the mine going again.
"We filed a mine development plan and will be meeting with the [provincial] government next week to make sure some of the things that need to be done are getting done because our goal still is to break ground in August , and we're still focused to do that," said Canadian Fluorspar President and CEO Lindsey Gorril Wednesday.
Arkema will initially invest more than $15 million, and will eventually spend $83 million by the time the deal is done in August.
The re-opening is expected to create more than 150 full-time jobs on Newfoundland's Burin Peninsula.
The fluorspar mine operated in St. Lawrence, on the Burin Peninsula from the early 1930s to the late 1970s. It reopened briefly in the 1980s.
In the1950s, people there began to question the higher-than-normal rate of lung cancer among mine workers.
It was eventually determined that exposure to radon gas in the mine was making workers sick.
Provincial legislation enacted in the early 1970s ensured that everyone who became sick after working at the mine was automatically eligible for workers' compensation.
Mine proponents now say proper ventilation of the mine will prevent workers there from becoming sick again.