Sudbury First Nickel fatal mine accident prompts ministry orders

Ontario's Ministry of Labour has given First Nickel the go-ahead to resume underground operations at its Lockerby mine, located southwest of Sudbury.

First Nickel set to resume operations following death of 2 contract workers this week

First Nickel's Lockerby Mine in Sudbury, Ont. (CBC)

Ontario's Ministry of Labour has given First Nickel the go-ahead to resume underground operations at its Lockerby mine, located southwest of Sudbury.

On Tuesday, two contract workers with Taurus Drilling Services — Marc Methe, 34, and Norm Bissaillon, 49 — died while working at the mine.

First Nickel has been allowed restart operations in all areas of the mine, with the exception of the level where the accident occurred, which remains under restricted access.

Ministry of Labour spokesperson Bruce Skeaff said four orders have been issued to First Nickel, including one stop-work order, information about water drainage, and a plan to repair of ground support.

The compliance date for that information is May 30.

Skeaff added a requirement was also issued to First Nickel, requesting an engineer’s report on the ground stability, mining methods, and the support or rock reinforcement used in the mine.

He said the compliance date for that requirement is June 16.

In the meantime, Skeaff said, no mining activities can be done on or from the affected area until the report is received and reviewed by the ministry.

First Nickel recalls workers

The company said it would recall its workforce on Thursday.

Prior to resuming work, employees are expected to be reintegrated into the work site through a series of sessions designed to provide a safety reorientation, a company press release stated.

“During this difficult periods, the company’s top priorities are supporting the Bissaillon and Methe families as well as friends and co-workers affected by this tragic accident,” Thomas Boehlert, president and CEO of First Nickel said.

“[We will continue] to strive to provide our employees and contractors with a safe working environment to ensure all who enter the mine site are able to return home safely every day.”

Two inspectors and one engineer with the Ministry of Labour remain at the scene of the accident.

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