Nova Scotia's Environment and Climate Change Department has renewed the industrial licence for Cape Breton's Donkin coal mine.
The approval, issued to mine owner Kameron Coal Management Ltd., starts on Monday at midnight and runs for seven years.
The licence comes with several new conditions that include meeting the province's greenhouse gas targets and requiring the owner to respond directly to complaints from the community within five business days.
No one from the mine was available for comment.
The department says it cannot comment on the approval yet, because there is a 30-day window for people to appeal the licence.
The Environment Department did say the Public Works Department has approved Kameron Coal's transportation plans for moving the coal and the department is working to improve roads and intersections near the mine.
In an email, Public Works said that includes the haul road the mine built between Provincial Road 255 and Route 4 near the airport, which was supposed to divert heavy coal trucks away from homes and businesses in Glace Bay.
The road was scheduled to open in 2020, but the province had not yet built intersections that would connect the private road with the public network. Those intersections are now expected to be installed in the next construction season.
In the meantime, the mine shut down in March 2020, citing difficult geological conditions after the mine's rock roof fell in more than a dozen times.
Also at that time, the price of coal had fallen below $100 a tonne partly because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but has since recovered. This fall, it was selling for up to five times the 2020 value.
The mine reopened in September after submitting several safety and other regulatory plans to the province.
For example, Kameron Coal committed to installing a system to remove gases within 18 months of restarting production, which the province estimates will reduce methane emissions by up to 35 per cent when the mine is operating.
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