Two men have died in an accident at a mine in Northern Ontario.
First Nickel Inc. said the two drillers – contractors working for Taurus Drilling Services – were underground Tuesday at the Lockerby Mine near Sudbury, Ont., when the incident occurred.
First Nickel president and chief executive officer Thomas Boehlert identified the men as Marc Methe, 34, and 49-year-old Norm Bissaillon.
Boehlert says Bissaillon was a dedicated and experienced underground miner with over 20 years of experience, while Methe had been with Taurus for about four years.
First Nickel said in a statement that “a fall of ground, preceded by (seismic) activity” is believed to have been a factor in the accident.
Ministry of Labour spokesman Bruce Skeaff confirmed the deaths and said the ministry was investigating but had no further details.
George Gritziotis, chief prevention officer for the ministry, said he was “shocked and saddened,” and called the deaths “unacceptable.”
“We must find better ways of protecting people who go into mines every day to earn a living,” Gritziotis said in a statement. “No job is worth a life.”
All other workers have been accounted for and underground operations at the mine were immediately suspended after the incident.
First Nickel said its senior operations management will work with government authorities to thoroughly investigate the accident.
It is also working with Taurus Drilling to ensure the miners’ families receive counselling support and is providing counselling for employees and workers at the site.
“We are deeply saddened by this tragic accident that resulted in the deaths of two men and we extend our heartfelt condolences to their families, friends and colleagues,” said Boehlert.
“Safety is the top priority for the company and we will ensure this accident is fully investigated,” he said.
Premier Kathleen Wynne said she was very concerned about the incident, adding, “My thoughts are with the family.”
NDP Leader Andrea Horwath also offered her condolences to the families and friends of the men, calling it a “terrible tragedy.”
“Today is a grim reminder of the dangers miners face each and every day on the job,” she said.
“Every miner’s death in Ontario is one too many.”
The deaths came just one month after a worker was killed at Vale’s smelter in Copper Cliff on April 6.