GOLDBORO: Dustin Angelo, the president of the company looking to dig up some history of their own in the historically, gold-rich town of Goldboro will have to wait just a bit longer to begin digging.

Nova Scotia’s environment minister said she can’t make a decision whether to approve the gold mine project, because Anaconda Mining Inc., the company behind the project has not provided sufficient information.

In a letter addressed to Anaconda Mining Inc. dated September 19, Environment Minister Margaret Miller told the company that the environmental assessment documents provided insufficient information to allow an assessment of potential impacts of the project.

“I have determined that a review of the information indicates that to better understand the potential for adverse effects or significant environmental effects, a focus report is required,” she stated in her letter.

Miller has asked Anaconda to submit a report addressing the possible effects of the project, as well as plans to monitor and mitigate those effects.

“The focus report shall examine potential impacts of the project on: soil, water resources, wetlands, flora and fauna, species at risk, fish and fish habitat, air quality, noise, human health, acid rock drainage, hazardous materials, waste management, contaminated sites management, and contingency planning.”

Anaconda Mining Inc. will have up to one year to prepare the report once it receives terms of reference for the preparation of the focus report from the department.

Miller’s letter to the company advised concerns were raised during the environmental assessment review through public and Mi’kmaq submissions, along with Nova Scotia’s Environment Department, Department of Lands and Forestry, Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture, as well as Environment and Climate Change Canada, Health Canada.

Anaconda Mining Inc. respects the decision of the minister to request additional information regarding the project, Lynn Hammond, Vice President Public Relations said in an e-mailed statement.

“We are disappointed with the delay, but recognize the importance of ensuring that the Government of Nova Scotia has confidence in our ability to implement an environmentally responsible project.”

Despite what some may think about the requested focus report, in no way does Anaconda see the minister’s decision as a step-back.

“Our preliminary review of the comments by government departments and agencies identify a request for expanded information, rather than identifying any unanticipated concerns,” Hammond said. “We will continue to work with the Government of Nova Scotia, Goldboro Community Liaison Committee, Municipality of District of Guysborough, Mi’kmaq representatives, and other stakeholders to address any outstanding questions or concerns about the project.”

Anaconda’s proposal establishes during the first three years they will operate as an open pit. Daily operations would see 575-tonnes of rock being blasted, dug up, ground and then ran through a gravity circuit and flotation circuit to remove all waste to create and refine a gold-bearing concentrate. Five to seven trucks per week would transport the concentrate via the Trans Canada and North Sydney ferry to Anaconda’s Point Rousse processing facility, near Baie Varte, N.L., to remove the gold. After the first three years of operating as an open pit, Anaconda proposes to continue as an underground mine.

Currently, Anaconda is on site preparing for the extraction of a 10,000-tonne bulk sample of stone that will be used to verify the company’s model and allow for further exploration of the land.