First Nickel said both workers, Norm Bissaillon, 49, and Marc Methe, 34, were
drillers employed by Taurus Drilling Services. In a statement, First Nickel said
Bissaillon was a dedicated and experienced underground miner with over 20 years
of experience, and Methe had been with Taurus for about four years and was
committed and enthusiastic about the trade.
The company said “a fall of
material” which was “preceded by seismic activity” is believed to have been a
factor in the accident. All underground work at the northern Ontario mine has
been suspended. The company is also working closely with Taurus Drilling to
ensure that the miners’ families receive counselling support, and counselling
has also been provided for all employees and workers on site.
operations management at First Nickel are working with government authorities to
thoroughly investigate the accident.
“Safety is the top priority for the
company and we take it very seriously. We are committed to a full and thorough
investigation,” said Thomas Boehlert, president and CEO of First
Ontario is in the midst of a mine safety review, looking at the
effectiveness of health and safety rules, enforcement and prevention in the
The review came after more than a year of lobbying by families
and friends of two men killed in 2011 at another Sudbury mine, owned by Vale SA,
as well labour leaders and other allies. The Brazilian miner was hit with a
record $1.05 million fine for that incident last year. It pleaded guilty to
three counts of violating the province’s workplace safety law.
one worker was killed and another was injured at Vale’s Copper Cliff smelter in
Sudbury. Another worker was killed at Vale’s Coleman mine in Sudbury in January