Mine argues charges in fatal tunnel collapse too vague
Judge to decide if safety charges will stand against Yukon Zinc and contractor Procon Mining
Yukon safety inspectors will find out next week if the companies involved in a fatal mining accident in 2010 will get their day in court.
Procon Mining and Yukon Zinc were in court Thursday arguing the charges against them are too vague to defend themselves against.
In April 2010, 25-year-old Will Fisher was working with two other employees in a stabilized underground part of the Wolverine mine when a wall caved in and nearly 10 tons of rock came crashing down, burying him alive.
Mine owner Yukon Zinc and contractor Procon Mining are facing a variety of charges under Yukon occupational health and safety regulations, but the companies are demanding prosecutors make it clear exactly what they did that was illegal.
Crown Prosecutor Cindy Freedman says the charges are clear and indicate what regulations were broken, where and when.
The companies are charged with failing to ensure a safe workplace and she says it's up to them to prove they did everything they reasonably could to protect their workers.
The judge will decide by next Friday if the charges should stand, be amended, or thrown out altogether.
Procon Mining pleaded guilty in 2011 to two of eight occupational safety charges it faced in connection with the death of Paul Wentzell, 20, at Wolverine mine. Wentzell was working for Procon as an apprentice mechanic when he was killed by an unoccupied vehicle at the mine site in 2009.
Yukon Zinc's Wolverine property is located 200 kilometres south of Ross River and about 400 kilometres northeast of Whitehorse.