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British Columbia gold mine to resume surface operations

(Canadian OH&S News)


(Canadian OH&S News)

A mining project near Gold Bridge, British Columbia is set to resume partial operations, nearly two months after a closure ordered by the province’s Ministry of Energy and Mines for health and safety reasons.

The ministry gave its approval to Bralorne Gold Mines Ltd. to reopen surface operations at the mine, according to a Sept. 9 press statement from Bralorne chief executive officer William Kocken. The company received a shutdown order on July 15 to cease operations until firefighting capabilities were upgraded, but later completed the training of 12 of the mine’s workers in order to qualify for surface work.

“Based on the information provided, the ministry is satisfied that compliance with the orders from the inspection report that pertain to the surface shutdown has been met,” said a spokesperson for the Ministry of Energy and Mines. “The expectation is that equipment and training will be maintained as necessary to ensure Bralorne’s ongoing firefighting capacity.

“The order was issued because of lack of mine rescue personnel and inadequate training for staff to maintain and use safety equipment,” the spokesperson added.

Since the closure, the dozen employees have received National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1001 Fire Fighter 1 Modified level training, while the company has bought the necessary firefighting gear and equipment. The gear includes self-contained breathing apparatuses, two 1,000-gallon water tanks, two high-volume pumps, two high-pressure pumps, one 1,600-gallon portable water bladder and 2,000 feet of fire hose.

According to Kocken, Bralorne intends to resume installing a new centrifugal concentrator, which will improve gold recovery in the gravity circuit, while milling materials that are stockpiled on the surface, as soon as operations on the mine restart.

“The company is working on compliance as soon as possible with items required for underground mining operations to resume,” Kocken said in the press release.

To date, other measures that have been completed include:

* The obtaining of an agreement for backup mine rescue;

* Submission of a geotechnical report on rock bolting;

* The commissioning of an updated emergency-response plan; and

* The purchase of an approved apparatus for generating oxygen from carbon dioxide in rescue stations.

In addition, the company has been working on obtaining an underground emergency transport vehicle. “It is anticipated that these issues will be resolved to the satisfaction of the mines inspector, upon which underground operations will resume,” Kocken added.

According to the ministry, mines need to meet the requirements laid out in the Health, Safety and Reclamation Code for Mines in British Columbia. This document is publicly available at http://www.mining.bc.ca/sites/default/files/resources/hsrc2008.pdf.