Interim mine safety report out next week – by Carol Mulligan (Sudbury Star – September 4, 2014)

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

An interim report on how to make mining safer in Ontario — pulling together information and recommendations from experienced miners, mining experts and family members of miners killed on the job — will be made public next week.

The advisory group for the Ontario Mining Health, Safety and Prevention Review will present a preliminary report Sept. 10 to George Gritziotis, the province’s chief prevention officer and the head of the review, when the group meets in Sudbury.

The report will then be presented to Ontario Labour Minister Kevin Flynn and its recommendations made public. The review was launched in December by then Labour Minister Yasir Naqvi after a campaign by United Steelworkers and a lobby group called MINES (Mining Inquiry Needs Everyone’s Support) for a full-fledged inquiry into mining safety in Ontario.

That call came after three deaths at two Vale mines in less than a year — the June 2011 deaths of Jason Chenier and Jordan Fram at Stobie Mine and the January 2012 death of Stephen Perry at Coleman Mine.

Naqvi established the review instead, describing it as a thorough, evidence-based review of mining safety in Ontario that would get meaningful results for miners and their families.

Since the review officially got under way at the beginning of this year, there have been at least six more deaths in Ontario mines, including three in Sudbury.

Millwright Paul Rochette was killed April 6 while working at Vale’s Copper Cliff Smelter Complex. Contract drillers Normand Charles Bisaillon, 49, and Marc Methe, 34, were killed by a fall of material, preceded by seismic activity at First Nickel Inc.’s Lockerby Mine.

The review is examining a number of issues in mining, including technological advances in mining, current health and safety regulations, education and training of employees and managers, ground stability and water management practices, and the proper use of barricades and warning systems.

The advisory group has met several times and conducted public consultations at several locations throughout the province. It is also accepting written submissions.

The review is only looking at underground mine practices, but Gritziotis has

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