Archive | Mining Accidents, Deaths, Cave-Ins and Industrial Disease

NEWS RELEASE: Steelworkers Union Welcomes WSIB Decision Recognizing McIntyre Powder-Related Parkinson’s as Occupational Disease (June 24, 2020)

https://www.usw.ca/

TORONTO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–United Steelworkers (USW) Ontario Director Marty Warren welcomes the announcement that Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) has finally recognized that Parkinson’s Disease is a direct result of exposure to McIntyre Powder.

McIntyre Powder was an aluminum-based inhalant used between 1943 and 1979 in mines and other industries where workers might be exposed to silica dust. The theory, eventually proved false, was that inhaling the powder would protect workers’ lungs.

“This a victory we have been fighting to win for many years,” Warren said of the WSIB decision.

“This means workers’ claims for compensation may finally be met. We consider this a significant step forward toward justice for elderly and sick retirees and their families, although for some families this news comes too late as many who should have been compensated while they were alive have passed away. In the case of those victims’ families, the Estate can file claims on behalf of their loved one.” Continue Reading →

Australian state launches enquiry into Anglo coal mine blast (Reuters U.S. – May 11, 2020)

https://www.reuters.com/

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Australia’s Queensland on Monday ordered an independent enquiry into an explosion at a coal mine run by Anglo American in the state that last week critically injured five workers.

The accident took place 15 months after another Anglo American worker was killed at a nearby mining complex and comes just months after a review called for tighter regulation of the sector that has seen at least 48 deaths since 2000.

The probe will be led by a retired judge or Queens Counsel who will be able to conduct hearings, call witnesses and make broad inquiries relating to the blast, state mines minister Anthony Lynham said. Continue Reading →

Black Lung and COVID-19 in Appalachia: A Lethal Mix – by Staff (Nature World News – April 6, 2020)

https://www.natureworldnews.com/

Black lung is prevalent in Appalachia. Vulnerable coal miners are wary that the rapid spread and the devastating effects of the COVID-19 can easily wipe their community out.

Jimmy Moore, a 74-year old black lung patient in Shelby Gap, Kentucky, does not know when the coronavirus gets to their area. However, if it does, ” It’s probably just going to wipe us out.” he said. Moore worked in the mines for 22 years and retired in 2000. His 51-year-old son also has a more severe case of black lung.

Two workers in Pennsylvania were tested positive for the coronavirus. The population has an increased risk of getting COVID-19 due to those already inflicted with a black lung. Continue Reading →

Black-Lung Coal Miners Facing Serious Threat from Virus Spread – by Will Wade (Bloomberg News – March 12, 2020)

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/

(Bloomberg) — The biggest labor union for U.S. coal miners is warning that members are at “significant risk” from the rapidly spreading coronavirus.

Mines are enclosed spaces where the highly contagious virus can easily spread, according to Phil Smith, a spokesman for the United Mine Workers of America. The trade group is developing guidelines that it plans to issue to members soon, he said by email Thursday.

Miners also face greater health risks. As many as 20% of long-time miners may have black lung in central Appalachia, a historic bastion of U.S. coal production that includes parts of West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee. Continue Reading →

BOOK REVIEW: Linden MacIntyre’s The Wake is a long overdue obituary for the miners of the Burin Peninsula – by Ken McGoogan (Globe and Mail – October 19, 2019)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

On Feb. 15, 1965, a retired miner named Rennie Slaney sat down at his kitchen table in St. Lawrence, Nfld., and typed out a five-page, single-spaced document that, as Linden MacIntyre writes in The Wake, would reverberate “across the land.” The 58-year-old Slaney, who could no longer work because of severe health problems, laid out what had happened in recent decades to the people of his small community on the Burin Peninsula.

Addressing his testimonial to a special committee appointed by the government of Premier Joey Smallwood, Slaney mentioned a miner who died in hospital that very day, while another lay nearby, “just awaiting his time.”

Slaney himself, having worked in the mines for 23 years, was suffering from chronic bronchitis, obstructive emphysema, infective asthma and “a usually terminal heart disease caused by lung failure.” The man could step forward because, MacIntyre tells us, he had nothing left to lose: “His lungs were shot.” Continue Reading →

Dam Collapse at Siberian Gold Mine Leaves at Least 15 Dead – by Yuliya Fedorinova (Bloomberg News – October 19, 2019)

https://finance.yahoo.com/

(Bloomberg) — At least 15 people died when a dam collapsed at a gold mine in Russia’s Krasnoyarsk region, the Ministry of Emergency Situations said on its website.

The incident happened at about 2 a.m. Moscow time Saturday near one of the small local gold mining companies’ operations, the ministry said.

Emergency services continue rescue efforts and seven of the 13 people reported missing earlier have been found alive, the Tass news wire reported, citing a local official. Continue Reading →

Fatal mine accident avoidable, Sudbury inquest hears – by Harold Carmichael (Sudbury Star – October 4, 2019)

https://www.thesudburystar.com/

Development work was carried out on the 6,500-foot level of First Nickel Inc.’s Lockerby Mine in early 2013, wrapping up in March of that year.

That work included blasting out a drift – the 65-2-1-West area – that did not proceed as planned. The entranceway was off-line, so corrective blasting was done to try and straighten it out, and wire mesh, split sets (long metal tubes that help to reinforce a ceiling) and shotcrete (sprayed-on cement) were used to strengthen the ceiling and walls in preparation for production drilling and blasting.

The wider-than-expected entrance created a structural integrity issue, as the arch that was in place to help distribute the stress from the backfilled-area one level above was not large and strong enough. Continue Reading →

Sudbury inquest told: ‘I heard a big bump. It sounded like something had happened’ – by Harold Carmichael (Sudbury Star – October 1, 2019)

https://www.thesudburystar.com/

Normand Bisaillon had just started working on his dream home when he and his partner were killed in an accident five years ago at the now-shuttered Lockerby Mine, his widow told an inquest as it opened in Sudbury on Monday.

“This is a last chance to get it right,” Romeena Bisaillon told the five-member coroner’s jury at the end of her short address. “Please: let’s not waste it.” The inquest is looking at how Normand Bisaillon, 49, and Marc Methe, 34, were killed on May 6, 2014, and recommendations on how to prevent such tragedies in the future.

Greg Allaire, representing the Methe family, said Marc was an intelligent man who aimed for bigger things in his life and took on the drilling job with Taurus Drilling as a stepping-stone in his career. Continue Reading →

Linden MacIntyre shares personal connection to Newfoundland disaster in The Wake – by Holly McKenzie-Sutter (CBC News – August 22, 2019)

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/

As a journalist Linden MacIntyre covered adversity around the world, sharing the experiences of those caught in tragic circumstances, but he’s waited decades to bring the story of his hometown to the page.

The investigative reporter and novelist was born in St. Lawrence, N.L., where his new book The Wake is set. The author’s hard-rock miner father moved there in the 1940s to work for the fluorspar mining operation that rolled into the poverty-stricken community, which was recovering from a natural disaster and an unexpected collapse of the area’s crucial fisheries.

In 1929, an earthquake-related tsunami struck southern Newfoundland’s Burin Peninsula, washing homes out to sea and killing 28 people. The story of environmental destruction and industrial exploitation that followed is narrated in The Wake. Continue Reading →

Iamgold under fire for alleged poor disclosure over miner death at Rosebel site in South America – by Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – August 9, 2019)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

Shares in Iamgold Corp. fell 14.6 per cent Thursday – their steepest drop in nearly five years – as the Canadian miner faces heavy criticism for its alleged poor disclosure over the death of a miner at a South American mine site.

Last week, the Toronto-based company suspended mining at its second-biggest mine, Rosebel in Suriname, after an “unauthorized” artisanal miner was killed, following a confrontation with police. Iamgold said the fracas, which involved an unspecified number of artisanal miners, also caused equipment damage. The company said there are continuing security concerns for its staff at Rosebel.

Artisanal mining is common in Africa and South America, often involving impoverished locals mining by hand. While occasionally legal, artisanal miners often trespass on concessions controlled by international mining companies. Continue Reading →

Protests over worker deaths paralyze production at some Coal India mines – by Jatindra Dash (Reuters U.S. – July 29, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

BHUBANESWAR (Reuters) – Members of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have mounted protests that have paralyzed production at one of India’s biggest coalfields following a deadly accident last week.

The BJP workers have been staging sit-down protests and waving flags at state-run Coal India Ltd’s mines in the eastern state of Odisha, demanding a safety audit of all mines in the region.

Rescue officials said they have recovered the bodies of three workers who were trapped inside the mine in Odisha’s Angul district after a landslide on Tuesday, and are trying to recover another body from inside the mine. Continue Reading →

‘Poverty-driven’ artisanal mining in spotlight after tragedy hits Canadian miner’s Congo property – by Gabriel Friedman (Financial Post – June 29, 2019)

https://business.financialpost.com/

‘You need to find alternative ways for these guys to work’

The death of dozens of artisanal miners in Congo on the property of a Toronto-Stock Exchange-listed Canadian company highlights the fraught relationship between overseas mining companies and local communities.

At least 43 artisanal miners have reportedly died while digging for cobalt — a vital metal for the batteries found in smartphones, tablets and electric cars — on a spot of ground that overlooks Katanga Mining Ltd.’s vast Kamoto Copper Complex.

Throughout much of Africa and other parts of the world, artisanal miners are often found near mines, taking grave risks to scour tailings or waste rock in search of valuable metals. Their numbers appear to be growing, along with tragic accidents, which has provoked questions and challenges for mining companies. Continue Reading →

Steel contributes $225K to research – by Mia Jensen (Sudbury Star – June 29, 2019)

https://www.thesudburystar.com/

The United Steelworkers announced Friday that they are committing $225,000 over the next three years to Laurentian University’s Centre for Research in Occupation Safety and Health.

As the only centre for occupational health and safety research in Northern Ontario, CROSH’s goal is to partner with workers, workplaces, communities and governments to tackle relevant workplace challenges.

The centre uses a field-to-lab-to-field approach to their research. Researchers engage with industries and communities in the field to understand the problems they are facing. Then they bring their findings to the lab at Laurentian University to troubleshoot evidence-based solutions, before bringing those solutions back to the workplace to be tested in the field. Continue Reading →

OUR VIEWS: GLENCORE TRAGEDY SHOWS WHY MINING SHOULD BE DONE HERE (Mesabi Daily News – June 29, 2019)

https://www.virginiamn.com/

As news filtered out Thursday that Glencore had established itself as the majority shareholder of PolyMet, which is looking to build Minnesota’s first-ever copper-nickel mine near Hoyt Lakes, devastating headlines about the Swiss-based company were also breaking.

At least 43 “illegal miners” died at a Kamoto Copper Company mine, operated by Glencore’s subsidiary Katanga, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Glencore later said the incidents were not linked to the official “operations and activities” of the mine.

While clandestine miners, who access sites without approval or permits, are a common occurrence in Congo and across Africa according to Reuters, the incident raises several questions in light of Glencore’s new role on the Iron Range. Continue Reading →

CORRECTED-Glencore’s Congo tragedy highlights security conundrum for miners – by Edward McAllister and Mitra Taj (Reuters Africa – June 30, 2019)

https://af.reuters.com/

DAKAR/LIMA, June 30 (Reuters) – The deaths of 43 illegal miners at a Glencore facility in Congo last week highlighted a growing challenge for mining companies struggling to secure sites from small-scale prospectors digging for cobalt, copper and other minerals.

Many mines span hundreds of square kilometers across rural terrains, a tantalizing prospect for illegal miners, also known as artisanal miners, who break into sites in search of metals, some of which end up in electric cars and other products.

But even as last Thursday’s tragedy ratcheted up pressure on companies to make changes to security and community outreach, industry consultants and analysts say the task will be difficult given the geographic constraints and economic challenges faced by the world’s estimated 40 million artisanal miners. Continue Reading →