St Andrew Goldfields sadly reported the death of one of its workers on May 23 at the Holt gold mine 45 km northeast of Kirkland Lake, ON. Alexie Dallaire-Vincent, 22, was involved in a fatal rail haulage accident.
“We are deeply saddened by this news and our sincere condolences go out to the family, fellow workers, and friends,” said Duncan Middlemiss, president and CEO of SAS.
Nor is this the only mine death in recent weeks. There has been a spate of fatalities in Australian mines. Eight people have lost their lives so far this year – two in a single week in May.
In the United States, 10 people died in mining related accidents during the first quarter of 2015, according to statistics kept by the Mining Heath and Safety Association.
In Canada the oil sands sector was hardest hit by deaths last year. Suncor had four in the first half of 2014. Canadian Natural Resources had one in December.
Add to that the conclusions of the public inquiry of the 2012 double fatality at Vale’s Sudbury operations, and mine safety is again in the headlines. Too bad the headlines only note accidents and deaths. I would like to see a headline telling me how many mine employees went home safely last week. I know the vast majority of them did.
To forget safety can be lethal. No one in the industry can ignore it for a single moment. That means the miners at the face, equipment operators, plant operators, office workers, and all those in between. And if readers need a bit of reminding, they should re-read the April 2015 edition of CMJ.