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Residents fed up with noise from idled Donkin mine


The Donkin Mine has been closed for more than a year, but residents who live near the shuttered mine site say they are still living with noise that is bad enough it is causing them to lose sleep.

"We can hear it loud enough that it wakes us up in the middle of the night," says South Head, N.S., resident Michael Lea, who lives about seven kilometres across the water from the mine site.

Lea says the noise is coming from the idled Donkin Mine, which closed in March 2020. Since then, it's been in maintenance mode – with a handful of employees onsite keeping the ventilation system running. Lea says he and other members of the Cow Bay Environmental Coalition held a meeting Tuesday night and that people are simply fed up.

"To be honest, I'm past the stage of being nice. I'm actually angry. Because it's been close to two years," Lea told CTV Atlantic.

The area's councillor says he's been getting several complaints a week about the Donkin Mine noise and that they're coming from people who live all across the widespread, rural area of eastern Cape Breton.

"Since I've been elected, the Donkin Mine has been my most prominent file -- there's no question about it," says James Edwards, the Cape Breton Regional Municipality councillor for District 8.

Edwards adds he and other elected officials have spoken with representatives from Kameron Coal, the company that owns the Donkin Mine, but so far, a solution hasn't been found.

"The mine is looking at a noise reduction model from a firm in the United Kingdom that they're hoping to utilize, but that's been going on for several months now," Edwards says.

Meanwhile, the area's MLA has also been fielding plenty of complaints on the file. "Personally, I feel a great deal of frustration with the lack of progress," says Brian Comer, Progressive Conservative MLA for Sydney River-Mira-Louisbourg.

Comer says he's reached out to the ministers of Environment and Climate Change, as well as Energy and Mines, but adds no one with regulatory authority to fix the problem has come to visit.

"There's no specific timelines or accountability, which I think is the significant issue with the community," Comer said.

CTV Atlantic's attempts to reach Kameron Coal for comment were unsuccessful. Top Stories

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