Glencore Sudbury mine death: 'It's not acceptable'

Questions remain about how a death at Glencore's Nickel Rim South mine could have happened this week in Sudbury.

Nickel Belt MPP France Gelinas wonders why mining deaths are still happening in 2015

Sudbury's mining community is mourning the loss of a worker who was killed at a nickel-copper mine this week. Richard Pigeau died Oct. 20 at Glencore's Nickel Rim South mine. (Olivia Stefanovich/CBC)

Questions remain about how a death at Glencore's Nickel Rim South mine could have happened this week in Sudbury.

Richard Pigeau, 54, died on Tuesday after being struck by a piece of equipment while working 5,000 feet below surface.

His death comes not long after the recent release of the province's Mining Health, Safety and Prevention Review — a report that states machinery is a key hazard to workers.

The director of mining for Workplace Safety North says the tragedy is yet another opportunity to make the mining industry safer for workers.

"New controls or engineer controls that can improve either the operator's view or awareness that there are people in this area" can be implemented, Mike Parent said.

Workplace Safety North will review the Ministry of Labour's investigation into the incident to try and prevent a similar tragedy in the future, he added.

Pigeau was an experienced miner

Meanwhile, work at Glencore's Nickel Rim South mine has ground to a halt in the wake of Pigeau's death. The company plans to resume operations on Friday, Oct. 23.

Nickel Belt MPP France Gélinas says she wonders why mining deaths are still happening in 2015 after so many resources have been put into learning how to prevent industrial accidents. (CBC)

Nickel Belt MPP France Gelinas, who represents the area where the incident took place, said she is puzzled as to why it is "that in 2015 miners continue to lose their lives at work?"

She pointed out that Pigeau had more than 20 years of experience in the mining industry.

Lockerby Mine is also in her riding — where two contract drillers were killed last year.

"We thought that we had turned the page on workers dying in our mines, but we have not," she said.

Parent agreed.

"It's not acceptable. None of us want to accept this," he said.

"I believe that operations such as Glencore, are working hard to prevent these [tragedies] from happening and we have to continue, when something bad does happen, to learn everything we can from it and to prevent a reoccurrence in the future."

Parent said Glencore's Sudbury operations have received awards from Workplace Safety North for their safety performance over the last two years.

A moment of silence was expected to be held for Pigeau at 10:30 a.m. Thursday at Queen's Park.

Read the Mining Health, Safety and Prevention Review.


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