Canadian Mining Journal

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COMMENT: Underground, wash plant fires underline need for increased safety vigilance

Fires at Canadian mines are rare, even rarer is  the occurrence of two on the same day. Unexpected ignition happens, and the resulting fire can have a catastrophic outcome. Fortunately that wasn't the case in either Manitoba or British...


Fires at Canadian mines are rare, even rarer is  the occurrence of two on the same day. Unexpected ignition happens, and the resulting fire can have a catastrophic outcome. Fortunately that wasn’t the case in either Manitoba or British Columbia.

An underground fire broke out Sunday afternoon in Vale‘s nickel mine in Thompson, MB, when a remote controlled load-haul-dumper caught fire. Thirty-nine miners reported to the refuge stations where they remained safely until the all-clear was given early Monday afternoon. No injuries were reported.

At Teck‘s Greenhills coal mine near Elkford, BC, a flash fire broke out in the pulverizing room of the dryer complex on Sunday. Three workers were taken to hospital with burns, none of which were life threatening.

Both incidents will be thoroughly investigated by the mining companies, provincial authorities, and local unions.

All of which goes to remind our readers that safety can slip away at unexpected moments. Vigilance, training and constant awareness of hazards must be practised every second in the workplace.

Sharpen your safety skills by reading the April 2015 issue of Canadian Mining Journal