Published on: 5/6/2014 3:35:03 PM Print | Font Sizes:  Normal Text Large Text

Sudbury ground collapse results in two fatalities

By: Northern Ontario Business staff

Two contract workers are dead following a fall of ground at First Nickel's Lockerby Mine in Sudbury. (FILE PHOTO)
Two contract workers are dead following a fall of ground at First Nickel's Lockerby Mine in Sudbury. (FILE PHOTO)

Two workers employed by Taurus Drilling are dead following a fall of ground at First Nickel’s Lockerby Mine in Sudbury.

The deceased are Marc Methe, 34, and Norm Bissaillon, 49, both drillers with the company.

The incident occurred on Tuesday morning after the occurrence of seismic activity, according to the company.

In response to the incident, all underground activities, except emergency requirements, were immediately suspended and authorities were notified, the company said.

Rescue teams were immediately dispatched to the area to render emergency assistance. A forensic unit from Greater Sudbury Police Service arrived on scene at Lockerby Mine around 11:45 a.m.

Senior operations management will work with government authorities to thoroughly investigate the accident.

The company is also working closely with Taurus Drilling to ensure that the miners' families receive counselling support. Counselling has also been and will continue to be provided for all employees and workers on site.

“We are deeply saddened by this tragic accident that resulted in the deaths of two men, and we extend our heartfelt condolences to their families, friends and colleagues,” Thomas M. Boehlert, First Nickel's president and CEO, said in the release. “Safety is the top priority for the company and we will ensure this accident is fully investigated.”

They are the fifth and sixth workers to be killed in Sudbury-area mines, or mining-related workplaces, in the past three years. The most recent fatality occurred just last month when millwright Paul Rochette suffered severe head trauma from a malfunction with an ore crusher while working at Vale’s Copper Cliff smelter.

In January, 2012, development miner Stephen Perry was killed at Vale's Coleman Mine in Levack. Perry died after he was struck by a 14-ton piece of rock that broke from the wall when he was working at the 4,215-foot level of the mine.

In June, 2011, Jason Chenier and Jordan Fram were killed when they were buried by an uncontrolled run of muck at the 3,000-foot level of Vale's Stobie Mine. Vale later pleaded guilty to three charges under the Occupational Health and Safety Act and was fined $1.05 million.

The Ministry of Labour is currently in the midst of a mining health and safety review in response to the fatalities and injuries that have occurred in mines across the province in recent years.

The review board has conducted public consultations in a number of mining jurisdictions across the province, including Sudbury.

The province's mining health and safety review aims to look at a wide range of areas related to mine safety, including: technological advances, assessing current health and safety regulations, and examining mine safety training practices.

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