Sudbury mining incidents “unacceptable”: Ministry of Labour

Thomas Boehlert, president and CEO of First Nickel Inc. at a conference Tuesday. Source: Youtube.

Two miners died in Canada on Tuesday in an accident at the Lockerby mine underground site near Sudbury, Ontario.

First Nickel Inc. (TSX:FNI) identified the men as Marc Methe, 34, and Norm Bissaillon, 49, contractors working for Taurus Drilling Services.

The company said the accident was preceded by seismic activity which is believed to have been a factor in the accident. The miners were pronounced dead on scene, becoming the sixth mining-related deaths in Sudbury-area mines in the last three years, according to Northern Life.

A worker was killed at Brazilian mining giant Vale’s (NYSE:VALE) smelter in Copper Cliff just last month, when he was struck in the head by a pin that broke off from a crusher. Vale had also previously been fined over $1 million for another 2011 accident that took the lives of two young men in Sudbury.

According to data from the Association of Workers’ Compensation Board of Canada, a total of 69 mining-related deaths occurred in 2012 alone.

The chief prevention officer for the Ministry of Labour, George Gritziotis said in a statement the accidents are “unacceptable” and we must “find better ways of protecting  people who go into mines every day to earn a living.”

The incident is currently being investigated by the Ontario Ministry of Labour, Sudbury police, the company and Unifor, the union that represents First Nickel’s Lockerby Mine workers. There have been no further development since Tuesday.

“Considering that we’ve only begun the investigation, we can’t say what measures should have been taken to prevent such incidents,” Ministry of Labour spokesman Bruce Skeaff told “Each incident is unique.”

First Nickel has now to turn over documents pertaining to the deaths, reported CBC News, as the Ministry of Labour, Sudbury police, the company and union continue to efforts to find what led to the deaths of the two men.

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