Nova Scotia

Cape Breton mines attract Chilean delegation

A six-member delegation from Chile is coming to Cape Breton to learn more about managing mine closures and tackling environmental cleanups.

Chilean delegation interested in Cape Breton's mining industry and Tar Ponds cleanup

A six-member delegation from Chile is coming to Cape Breton to learn more about managing mine closures and tackling environmental cleanups.

The Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation — a federal Crown corporation that fosters economic development — organized the visit by the delegation, which includes engineers from Chile's mining and environmental companies and the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service.

Darlene Sponagle, the trade and investment officer for the Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation, said there is a need in South American countries for mine closure plans and there's much they can learn.

"How we've all worked together to accomplish these projects here on Cape Breton Island, specifically around community engagement, stake holder engagement, First Nations engagement, as well as taking a look at some of the practices that were developed here between government and the private sector," she said.

Sponagle said the agenda is packed.

"Presentations at the Sydney Tar Ponds, SYSCO and Coke Ovens sites, meeting with the First Nations communities in Membertou, talking with Nova Scotia Community College," she said.

"That will be followed the next day with a presentation on the mine closures, as well as the mine water."

The Cape Breton Partnership, another economic development group, is hosting a luncheon that will give the local community a chance to meet the Chilean delegates.

"The skill set they are hoping to connect with here in Cape Breton is in the environmental piece. Remediating all the sites that we have through the former DEVCO cleanups," said Keith MacDonald, the president and CEO of the Cape Breton Partnership.

"A number of individuals here in Cape Breton have experience in mine management and mine opening as well as mine closures."

The keynote speaker at the Mining Society of Nova Scotia meeting in Baddeck is Mario Sepulveda, who gained worldwide attention in 2010 as one of the Chilean miners who was trapped underground for 69 days before being rescued.

Officials with the Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation said they hope this visit will create opportunities for Cape Breton companies to work in Chile.