Waste not: Baie Verte mine ships rock to South Carolina

Anaconda and its partner have received approval to ship more than three million tonnes of mining waste to South Carolina, for use in a port facility under construction there.

Leftovers from gold mine shipped to southern U.S. instead of being stored on site

A new rock crushing and loading facility at the Anaconda gold mine will mean about 70 jobs. (Submitted by Geoff Prousse)

A gold mine on the Baie Verte Peninsula is reducing waste and creating jobs by shipping crushed rock to the United States.

Anaconda Mining and its partner, Shoreline Aggregates, are selling waste from the Pine Cove gold mine to a buyer in Charleston, South Carolina, for use in constructing a port facility there.

The weekly shipments are an alternative to storing the rock in local waste piles. About one third of the 10 million tonnes of waste rock produced over the lifetime of the mine will be diverted south of the border.

"This waste rock that's sitting here... it's going to go off and generate some revenue for us and be a big boon for the area, in terms of creating more jobs," said Dustin Angelo, Anaconda's chief excective officer.

Rock that would ordinarily be stored in local waste dumps will be sold to a port corporation in Charleston, South Carolina. (Submitted by Geoff Prousse)

The project includes construction of an access road, loading facility and dock on the Point Rousse Peninsula, about three kilometres northeast of the town of Baie Verte.

Access to open water opens up new opportunities for the mine and mill, said Angelo.

"We can export our rock and potentially import ore from other projects so it gives us the ability to grow."

Shipping to continue until September

In a twist, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency gave its approval after the fact, in November 2016 — becoming aware of the project when Shoreline Aggregates applied for a federal subsidy — but the CEAA said there was a misunderstanding about the rules that applied to the size of the barge being used.

The agency said minor changes were required.

Anaconda's CEO, Dustin Angelo, says the company is supplying rock to a partner so it's a low risk opportunity that could have a long term payoff. (CBC)

Shipping may be halted over the winter because of ice conditions, but should resume in March and continue until September. Decommissioning is planned for November.

The Anaconda gold mine, which opened in 2008, is expected to produce ore until 2022.

Providing rock to a sub contractor is a "low-risk" opportunity, said Angelo.

"We kind of see this area as a big economic zone, that maybe it's anchored by gold mining but there's other ancillary businesses that we can get into because of having the port," he said.

The construction of a docking facility at the Anaconda mine began in 2016, and will allow the shipment of more than three million tonnes of waste rock. (CBC)

About the Author

Marilyn Boone

CBC News

Marilyn Boone is a producer who works with the CBC bureau in St. John's.

With files from Zach Goudie