First Nickel fined $1.3 million following 2014 deaths of two miners
Defunct First Nickel Inc. was fined $1.3 million by Justice David Stone in a Sudbury courtroom on Feb. 20 stemming from the May 2014 deaths of a pair of miners who were working at Lockerby Mine.
The ruling of six guilty counts by Stone prompted Crown counsel David McCaskill to seek fines totalling $1.5 million.After more than an hour of deliberation, Stone responded with fines $200,000 short of the Crown’s request, but it makes it the highest fine levied against any mining company in Ontario.
Two contract drillers at Lockerby Mine – Marc Methe, 34, and Norm Bisaillon, 49 – died May 6, 2014 after 12 tonnes of material fell from above, trapping and asphyxiating the two men.
Stone found First Nickel Inc. guilty of six of eight Ontario Health and Safety Act (OHSA) charges laid against them, while Taurus Drilling Services, the company that employed the two men, were found not guilty of the four charges laid against them in the case.
The question now remains, who will pay the fine? First Nickel, which went into receivership in August 2015, was tried in absentia. Company officials did not appear. The judge entered a plea of not guilty on the company’s behalf.