Vale receives record fine in Canadian miner deaths

Brazilian mining giant Vale's Canadian unit has been fined over $1 million for an accident that took the lives of two young men at the company's Stobie Mine in Sudbury Ontario.

Jordan Fram and Jason Chenier were buried by a torrent of wet mud and ore on June 8, 2011.

Canada's Ministry of Labour laid charges under Canada's Occupational Health and Safety Act when it was found that there had been blockage in the ore pass where the two had been working, the CBC reports. The ministry also claims Vale neglected other water-related problems at the mine.

The $1,050,000 fine – the most severe by an Ontario court under the safety act – was dealt after Vale pleaded guilty to three counts, which included:

  • Failing to prevent the movement of material through an ore pass in hazardous conditions.
  • Failing to maintain the drain holes at the 2,400-foot level of the Stobie Mine (leading to the accumulation of water, and creating wet muck).
  • Failing to ensure that water, slimes and other wet material was not dumped into the ore pass.

The accident has also prompted Ontario Premier Wynne to call for probes into mining safety province-wide.

Wynne met earlier this month with members of the Fram family, who have been pushing for better safety standards since they lost their son.

“There hasn't been a review of mining safety for many years, and that needs to happen,” Wynne said after the meeting.