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St Barbara unit faces 32 charges over alleged infractions at Canadian gold mine

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St Barbara unit faces 32 charges over alleged infractions at Canadian gold mine

Australian gold miner St Barbara Ltd.'s unit Atlantic Mining NS Inc. faces 32 charges related to alleged environmental infractions at its gold mining operations in Nova Scotia, Canada, which include the Touquoy gold mine.

Rachel Boomer, communications director for Nova Scotia Environment, confirmed the charges were laid in September, which were earlier reported on by Halifax Examiner. The charges relate to alleged incidents that happened between Feb. 8, 2018 and May 9, 2020, Boomer said.

"Of those, 26 charges are related to silt releases at the Touquoy gold mine," she said in a Dec. 23 email. "Three charges are related to alleged violations of the conditions of the company’s industrial approval, and another three charges relate to alleged violations of water withdrawal approval for exploration activities."

She said a court date is set for Jan. 26, 2021.

Responding to the alleged infractions, St Barbara spokesperson Dustin O'Leary said in a Dec. 24 email that the incidents largely relate to heavy rainfall that created silty run-off from roads, overwhelming the storm water management system. The incidents have not had an impact on mining activities, including its tailings processing and management facility, he said.

"Atlantic Gold has been proactively working with [Nova Scotia Environment] to address these matters," O'Leary said. "Full and thorough remediation work was conducted at the time of the incidents, all of which were reported, with an ongoing focus on mitigation."

Apart from those additional details, he said the company could not comment further until the court proceedings reach a resolution.

St Barbara acquired the Touquoy gold mine in 2019 through a C$722 million deal taking over Atlantic Gold. The alleged infractions come as St Barbara seeks to permit additional mining operations in Nova Scotia, where it faces some local opposition to plans.

In the first quarter of fiscal year 2021, St Barbara produced about 27,000 ounces of gold at its Nova Scotia operations.