Environment minister demands more info about impacts of proposed gold mine

Margaret Miller says Anaconda Mining has provided 'insufficient information' for her to make a decision on the company's proposed gold mine on the Eastern Shore.

Margaret Miller says Anaconda Mining has provided 'insufficient information' for her to decide on project

An excavator fills a dump truck with crushed rock in the open-pit mine at Anaconda Mining's operation in the Baie Verte area of Newfoundland. (Zach Goudie/CBC)

Nova Scotia's environment minister has told the company behind a proposed gold mine on the Eastern Shore she needs more information to make a decision on whether to approve or reject the project.

Toronto-based Anaconda Mining Inc. wants to develop a 125-hectare surface and underground mine just outside Goldboro, N.S., about 250 kilometres east of Halifax.

Environment Minister Margaret Miller told the company in a letter that its environmental assessment documents "provided insufficient information to allow an assessment of potential impacts of the project."

She has asked Anaconda to submit a report addressing the possible effects of the project on everything from soil, air and water to plants, animals and humans, as well as plans to monitor and mitigate those effects.

Once the Environment Department outlines the requirements of the report, Anaconda will have one year to submit it.

The company plans to begin construction in 2020 and wind up production in 2029.

The operation would begin as an open-pit mine and then become an underground mine by its third year.

Anaconda plans to extract 575 tonnes of ore per day and process it through gravity and flotation before trucking the gold concentrate to the company's Point Rousse processing facility, near Baie Verte, N.L., via the North Sydney ferry.

The company's environmental assessment documents, which total hundreds of pages, concluded the project would have "no significant negative impact."

"Anaconda has a solid reputation for environmental stewardship at our current operations in Newfoundland and we will extend the same commitment in Nova Scotia," the document notes.

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