Family, MPP push for [mining safety] inquiry – by Carol Mulligan (Sudbury Star – November 26, 2012)

The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.

Jordan Fram had always wanted his mother, Wendy Fram, to go underground to visit where he worked at Vale’s Stobie Mine. Wendy Fram would tell her son: “Jordan, you’re never going to get me down underground. I can’t even get in that cage, let alone go under-ground.”

Wendy Fram did travel 3,000 feet underground at Stobie Mine late in the summer of 2011. She visited the spot where Jordan, 26, and his colleague, Jason Chenier, 35, were killed June 8 when they were overcome by a run of 350 tons of muck.

Fram wasn’t thinking about the need for an inquiry to review mining practices in Ontario when she went with her son Jesse, daughter Briana and their partners to say a prayer for the men and to lay flowers for them.

Still, Fram noticed even then there were changes that could be made. When Fram had heard the word muck before, she thought mud — not the huge boulders and rock and water she saw underground.

When she saw where her boy had worked, Fram said, “I couldn’t believe that people work in those conditions. I was devastated. I couldn’t believe it.”

It was like travelling back to the 1930s, “like men working in the coal mine, you know? It’s dark and dingy and dirty, and it’s … horrible.”

Wendy’s husband Brian, a longtime employee at Creighton Mine, couldn’t bear to go underground with his family to visit the level where his son and Chenier had died.

Nor has he gone back under-g ro u n d since his son was killed. He now works at Vale’s warehouse above ground.

Wendy admits she was worried about Brian going back underground.

That brief visit thousands of feet down in the earth helped Wendy Fram understand the danger miners face every day, she said.

It also prompted her several months later to accept the position of chair of a lobby group called MINES (Mining Inquiry Needs Everyone’s Support), struck to pressure the province to conduct a thorough investigation into mining practices.

Some days her son’s death still overwhelms her. Fram is hoping “we won’t have to fight for 10 years for this (mining inquiry) because … it’s sad.”

Fram had the opportunity to appeal to Premier Dalton McGuinty directly about the need for a mining inquiry when he visited Sudbury earlier this month.

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