Federal agency seeks public input on Cochrane Hill gold project

Proposal includes relocating stretch of Highway 7

By Helen Murphy    

GUYSBOROUGH – The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency is seeking input from the public and Indigenous groups as it determines whether a federal environmental assessment is required for the proposed Cochrane Hill Gold Project, near Melrose in the Municipality of the District of St. Mary’s.

Atlantic Mining NS Corp., a subsidiary of Atlantic Gold Corp., is proposing an open-pit gold mine including crusher and concentrator facilities, an above-ground tailings management facility, mine site haul roads and access roads.

The Cochrane Hill Gold Project is to be developed in association with the company’s currently operating Touquoy Mine. The project would be a separate satellite surface mine operating at a production rate of approximately two million tonnes of gold-bearing ore per year. Ore will be crushed and concentrated at the site to produce a gold concentrate which will be hauled by trucks to the Touquoy Mine processing facility for final processing, a distance of just over 142 kilometres on existing roads. The Touquoy Gold Mine is located at the former village of Moose River Gold Mines, about 58 kilometres north of Sheet Harbour.

The planned start date for construction of the Cochrane Hill project is May 2021, with a scheduled start-up for 2022. The company says the mine will operate for six years to 2027 and will employ up to 220 people, including both salaried and hourly personnel. At the cessation of mining activities, the site will be reclaimed.

The company’s submission to the agency says to allow for the open pit to be built and prevent the need to shut down the public highway during blasting operations, a 2.9 kilometre section of Highway 7 will be relocated approximately one km to the west.

The mine site will use a one-kilometre portion of the existing Trunk 7 as the access road to the south of the site.

Written submissions are due by Oct. 29, 2018. St. Mary’s CAO Marvin MacDonald told The Journal the municipality will make a submission. Council heard a delegation from the St. Mary's River Association who spoke against the proposed mine project during the regular monthly meeting on October, 9.

If a federal EA is required, the agency will coordinate with the province of Nova Scotia, as the project also requires a Class I provincial environmental assessment under Nova Scotia’s Environmental Assessment Regulations.