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Coroner announces inquest into Sudbury mining fatalities

Normand Bisaillon and Marc Methe were killed while working at First Nickel in 2014.
Lockerby Winter First Nickel
Lockerby Mine was formerly owned by First Nickel, which later declared bankruptcy. (File photo)

SUDBURY - An inquest has been called into the 2014 deaths of two Sudbury mine workers.

Dr. Dave Cameron, regional supervising coroner for North region, Sudbury office, announced on Feb. 8 that an inquest will be held into the deaths of Normand Bisaillon and Marc Methe.

Bisaillon, 49, and Methe, 34, died on May 6, 2014, while working underground at the Lockerby Mine, then owned and operated by now-bankrupt First Nickel. An inquest is mandatory under the Coroners Act.

The inquest will examine the circumstances surrounding their deaths. The jury may make recommendations aimed at preventing future deaths.

Details regarding the date and location will be provided at a later date when the information becomes available. Dr. Steven Bodley will preside as inquest coroner. Julie Lefebvre will be counsel to the coroner.

Following the deaths, the Ministry of Labour conducted an investigation, initially laying 13 charges in the case.

Among the charges were failing to prevent the accumulation or flow of water, failing to ensure an effective ground support system was in place and failing the requirement that a written report be made of all dangerous work conditions.

First Nickel was found guilty, in February, 2018, on the following counts:

  • A workplace in an underground mine shall be kept free from accumulation or flow of water that might endanger a worker in the area
  • Fail to develop a quality control program for work in underground mine to ensure the group support systems that are specified in the mine design are properly installed and remain effective while in use
  • Supervisor of a work shift fail to make and sign a record in writing, and end of shift, where potential or actual danger to health and safety of a worker not remedied, describing the dangerous condition
  • Fail to give notice in writing when a fuse, detonator or explosive is found to be defective
  • Fail to develop written program (with joint Health and Safety committee if any) for timely communication between  workers and supervisors respecting ground stability, ground movement, falls of ground, ground monitoring equipment and emergencies (including means and procedures for communicating, kind of information to be communicated and actions to be taken by supervisors and workers when information received)
  • Fail before work has begun in a workplace to examine ground conditions for dangers and hazards and, if required, to make safe

Taurus Drilling was found not guilty of the four charges it faced.

- Media