Sudbury·Audio

Vale rescuing 39 employees trapped in Sudbury, Ont., mine since Sunday

Thirty-nine Vale employees have been trapped underground in the Totten Mine in Sudbury, Ont., since Sunday, the company says, telling CBC on Monday "our focus is squarely on the safety of the employees."

'We're doing absolutely everything we can to ensure the safety of these employees,' spokesperson tells CBC

Vale says it is rescuing 39 employees stuck underground in its Totten Mine in Greater Sudbury in northern Ontario, and all are safe. (Vale)

Thirty-nine Vale employees have been trapped underground in the Totten Mine in Sudbury, Ont., since Sunday, the company says. 

The workers are safe and are currently mobilizing to exit the mine via a secondary ladder system, the company said in a news release before speaking to CBC.

Vale spokesperson Danica Pagnutti said workers will need to climb up a ladder system that has multiple resting stations along the way.

Pagnutti said the workers were stuck at levels of between about 914 and 1,219 metres underground. Toronto's CN Tower, in comparison, is about 550 metres in height.

Earlier, Vale said there was an "incident" at its mine in the western reaches of Greater Sudbury on Sunday afternoon that took the conveyance for transporting employees offline. The conveyance system, commonly called a cage, was damaged when it was used to move a large piece of equipment, that collided with it. 

Pagnutti said no one was onboard the cage when it was damaged.

Workers able to phone families from mine

The 39 employees working underground at that time immediately went to a refuge station, where they had access to food and water.

"We're doing absolutely everything we can to ensure the safety of these employees," Pagnutti said. "We are in close contact with the families. The employees are able to phone their families from underground and stay in touch with them. So our focus is squarely on the safety of the employees."

The company said it will provide further updates as they become available.

Dozens of miners at a Vale mine in Sudbury have been stuck underground since yesterday afternoon. The Totten mine is located on the edge of the Sudbury basin about fifty kilometres west of downtown. The company confirms there was an incident in the shaft Sunday that rendered the cage inoperable. Vale says the conveyance for transporting employees was taken offline. The workers were underground and went to safe areas called refuge stations to wait. Danica Pagnutti speaks for the company. She spoke with reporter Kate Rutherford about the situation. 5:57

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