Ministry Issues 41 Orders at Site of Vale Mine Fatalities

Ongoing Safety Issues Reinforce Need for Mining Inquiry

SUDBURY, ON, Nov. 5, 2012 /CNW/ - A community-based committee created after two workers were killed at Vale's Stobie Mine is shocked that a Labour Ministry inspection of the same mine has resulted in 41 health and safety orders against the company.

"It is deeply troubling for us that orders have been issued to Vale related to concerns with standing water - the very hazard that contributed to the deaths of Jason Chenier and my brother, Jordan Fram," said Briana Fram of the MINES (Mining Inquiry Needs Everyone's Support) committee.

"How can it be that, only 17 months after Jason and Jordan were killed, Vale is being ordered by the Ministry of Labour to rectify problems with standing water in this same mine?" Fram asked.

The community-based MINES committee was formed last month to ask the provincial government to call an inquiry into Ontario mines. Such an inquiry has not been held in three decades.

The Ministry of Labour inspection of Stobie Mine occurred October 17, 2012. At least 10 of the orders issued to Vale, under terms of the provincial Occupational Health and Safety Act, are directly linked to water issues.

The orders issued to Vale also come as the company and one of its supervisors are being prosecuted in the courts on numerous OHSA charges related to last year's fatalities at Stobie Mine.

"We believe the results of this latest inspection reveal a disregard for workers' safety," said Fram. "It's another clear example of why an inquiry is needed to improve and modernize our mine safety system."

In 1996, miner Clifford Bastien was killed at Stobie Mine in a run of wet material. A coroner's jury into the fatality made recommendations linked to water-related hazards, but a number of those recommendations were never implemented.

The MINES committee believes the deaths of Jordan Fram and Jason Chenier could have been prevented if the recommendations from the Bastien inquest had been implemented.

"We continue to see disturbing examples of why existing regulations and legislation are not adequately protecting workers," said Fram.

"After three decades, a mine safety inquiry is long overdue. Our spouses, our brothers and sisters, our sons and daughters, our grandchildren need to be protected at work. Our community and all mining communities in Ontario need a public inquiry."

SOURCE: Mining Inquiry Needs Everyone's Support (MINES) Committee

For further information:

Media Contact:

Briana Fram, MINES committee, 705-562-5940, ontariomininginquiry@gmail.com