Nfld. & Labrador

Yukon mine accident kills Newfoundland man

A young Newfoundland man was killed Monday while working on a mine tunnel in eastern Yukon.

A young man from Newfoundland has died while working on a mine in eastern Yukon. 

Paul Wentzell, 20, was working on a tunnel at Yukon Zinc Corp.'s Wolverine zinc-silver property, about 400 kilometres northeast of Whitehorse, when he was struck and killed by an unoccupied vehicle around 9 a.m. PT Monday.

Wentzell was from Daniel's Harbour on the Northern Peninsula but was living in Alberta at the time of the accident.

He was an employee of Procon Mining and Tunnelling Ltd., a contractor that is building a mine at the Wolverine property. The mine is slated to open next year.

Wentzell was flown to hospital in Whitehorse, where he died from his injuries.

RCMP in nearby Ross River are investigating the death with the territorial coroner's office and the Yukon Workers Compensation Health and Safety Board. The coroner's office has ordered an autopsy.

In a statement Tuesday, Yukon Zinc and Procon Mining and Tunnelling — both based in Vancouver — said they have suspended construction at the Wolverine property while they and government authorities review the accident.

"This is a sad day for Yukon Zinc and Procon and on behalf of our management and staff we express our sincerest condolences to the family and friends of our deceased colleague," Raymond Mah, Yukon Zinc's chief operating officer, said in the statement.

"Both Yukon Zinc and Procon place great emphasis on mine safety and will continue promoting safety programs to ensure that a culture and mindset of 'safety first' is maintained throughout the company."