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Faulty cage bell kept miners sub-surface for hours at Creighton yesterday

Workers had to wait for communication line to be repaired
A malfunctioning cage bell kept miners below the surface for a couple of hours at Vale's Creighton Mine during an evening shift change Feb. 15. (File)

The end of their shift didn’t go according to plan for a group of miners at Vale’s Creighton Mine on Feb. 15.

Some readers might have heard rumours of some miners being trapped underground yesterday. That’s not quite true, Vale said this morning.

In response to a question from, Amanda Brosseau, corporate affairs specialist for Vale, said a problem with the cage bell at the mine — which is used for communication between the hoist operator on the surface and the cage — meant crews coming off shift had to wait for the communication line to be repaired before coming back to surface.

The process took a couple of hours, Brosseau said.

The miners weren’t trapped underground, however, she added. There are other means of entering and exiting the mine, Brosseau said, but waiting on the cage bell to be repaired was “the safest and simplest solution,” she said.