On Sunday, May 4, 2014, Norm Bisaillon was considering his options. Bisaillon, 49, was employed by Taurus Drilling Services, but was thinking about leaving Sudbury for another job. He told partner, Romeena Kozoriz, “I’m going to be going to the Yukon.”
Bisaillon was working for Taurus at First Nickel Inc.’s Lockerby Mine. He had 23 years’ experience at several companies.
“He never, ever was afraid to work in a place, OK, and he worked in South Africa where there’s no safety, there’s nothing,” said Kozoriz of Bisaillon’s 18-month stint there. “He wasn’t as concerned (there) for his safety as Lockerby.”
That Sunday, two days before he would be killed by a fall of ground at the 6,500-foot level of Lockerby Mine, Norm said “he wanted out of that mine,” said Kozoriz.
Not surprisingly, Bisaillon’s drilling partner, Marc Methe, 34, had also been considering going to the Yukon to work. He “didn’t trust that his job would be there,” said Methe’s father, Cleo, of his son’s employment at Lockerby.
First Nickel Inc., like all mining companies, was being pummeled by the low price of nickel at the time. In January 2015, it would cut 45 per cent of its workforce. More layoffs would follow and the company would halt production of a section of its nickel-copper mine a few months later. It eventually closed the entire mine, went into receivership and sought bankruptcy protection.
In an interview at her Azilda home, Methe’s mother, Marianne, echoed what Kozoriz said about Taurus workers, her son included, having concerns about safety at Lockerby Mine.
“They all wanted out,” said Marianne.
Her son and Kozoriz’s spouse were working together when they were killed. Cleo said someone from FNI called his home about 7 a.m. on May 6, 2014, to tell him his son had been involved in a mining accident “and they would get back to me.”
Koziriz didn’t receive a call because the company didn’t have her correct phone number. Instead, an FNI employee and one from Taurus Drilling came to her door at 8 a.m. and told her there had been an accident “and they knew nothing,” said Romeena. They left their card and told her to call if she didn’t hear from them.
“So we kept calling and calling and getting nothing,” said Kozoriz. “Nobody would pick up the phone.”
Meanwhile Marc’s sister, Melanie, read on social media about 10 a.m. that two workers had been killed at Lockerby Mine. “Obviously, we knew who they were,” she said.
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