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

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 →

Glencore Says 19 People Were Killed in Congo Mine Collapse – by William Cloves and Thomas Biesheuval (BNN/Bloomberg News – June 27, 2019)

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/

(Bloomberg) — Glencore Plc said 19 illegal miners were killed when part of a mine collapsed in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Glencore shares fell as much 8.3%. The workers entered the mine without permission and put their lives at risk by trespassing on the industrial site, which is one of the world’s biggest cobalt mines, according to a statement from the company on Thursday. A search and rescue operation is ongoing. The incident will not affect Glencore’s production.

Producers and authorities in Congo and other African countries face a constant struggle against illegal miners, who break into operational and shuttered mines to extract ore and don’t follow official safety procedures. Continue Reading →

[Falconbridge] ‘I thought the smelter had blown up’ – by Harold Carmichael (Sudbury Star – June 21, 2019)

https://www.thesudburystar.com/

Electrician Gary Hrytsak was taking a brief nap during a coffee break at the Falconbridge smelter complex about 10:05 a.m. June 20, 1984, when he got thrown off the bench he was on.

“It was an eerie feeling,” recalled the now-retired Hrytsak during his speech at the 35th Workers’ Memorial Day ceremonies at the Caruso Club on Thursday. “You could feel things shaking under your feet … I thought the smelter had blown up.”

Hrytsak, who went on to do compensation, health and welfare work for his union (Mine Mill and Smelter Workers Local 598), said he put on his respirator, went to the electrical shop and telephoned his foreman, only to be told to stay where he was. Continue Reading →

Coal miners daughters story told at Davis Day ceremony in Springhill – by David Mathieson (Amherst News – June 14, 2019)

https://www.cumberlandnewsnow.com/

SPRINGHILL, N.S. – Springhill mining history came to life at the 2019 Davis Day service June 11 at the St. Andrews-Wesley United Church in Springhill.

“As was the practice in those days, the eldest son, Donald, my grandfather, went to work at a man’s job at the age of 13 to support his family,” Shawna Canning said to the crowd gathered for the service.

Born in 1913, Canning’s grandfather, Donald Arthur Campbell, was named after his grandfather who was killed in the 1891 explosion that killed 125 miners. Donald began working at the mine at the age of 13 after his father, John Campbell, was injured at the mine and was unable to work again. Continue Reading →

Coal miners’ union urges silica regulation to curb black lung – by Jan Pytalski (Reuters U.S. – June 6, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

PIPESTEM, W.Va. (Reuters) – The head of the national coal miners’ union on Thursday urged the Trump administration to impose regulation on silica dust in mines, which researchers believe is responsible for a resurgence of black lung disease in central Appalachia.

The demand from United Mineworkers of America president Cecil Roberts comes as President Donald Trump tries to pump up U.S. coal production, mainly by rolling back regulations he deems burdensome to the industry.

“We are seeing the most serious levels of black lung, mainly caused by silica and there are no silica standards out there,” Roberts told Reuters on the sidelines of a black lung disease conference in West Virginia. “We desperately need more.” Continue Reading →