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Province demands documents from First Nickel after May 6 tragedy

The Ministry of Labour has ordered First Nickel Inc.
Work remains at a standstill at Lockerby Mine following the deaths of Marc Methe and Norm Bissaillon on Tuesday. Photo by Jonathan Migneault.
The Ministry of Labour has ordered First Nickel Inc. to supply documents for training records, shift lineup, level plans, shifter log books, seismicity records and a ground control inspection report by May 9, following a fall of ground that killed two underground drillers at Lockerby Mine on Tuesday morning.

The scene of the accident must also remain barricaded until released by a Ministry of Labour inspector.

Underground drillers Marc Methe and Norm Bissaillon were killed during the incident.

Both men worked for Taurus Drilling Services.

In a statement Tuesday, First Nickel CEO Thomas Boehlert described Methe, 34, as a man who was “committed and enthusiastic” about his trade. “He was always positive and meticulous about everything he did,” Boehlert said.

Methe worked for Taurus Drilling for four years.

Bissaillon, 49, had more than 20 years experience as an underground miner. Boehlert described him as “a good man and a family man who loved to talk about his children of whom he was so proud.”

Boehlert said both men were killed by a fall of material preceded by seismic activity. The company is also providing counselling to First Nickel staff and family in the wake of the tragedy.

"We are profoundly saddened by this tragic accident that resulted in the deaths of two men and we extend our deepest condolences to their families, friends and colleagues," Boehlert said in the prepared statement. "Safety is the top priority for the company, and we take it very seriously. We are committed to a full and thorough investigation." contacted Earthquakes Canada, a department of Natural Resources Canada that records seismic activity, in an effort to gauge any seismic activity at the time. A representative said the organization did not pick up any seismic activity readings in Sudbury around the time of the incident.

Following word of the incident, rescue teams were immediately dispatched and Greater Sudbury Police Services officers were also on the scene of the apparent fall of ground, which occurred between 3 a.m. and 3:30 a.m. Tuesday morning.

While neither men were part of a labour union, Mine Mill Local 598 President Anne-Marie MacInnis said the union, which represents workers at Lockerby Mine, will participate in an investigation to uncover the causes of the fall of ground that killed both men, and make recommendations to prevent similar events in the future.

The deaths of Methe and Bissaillon are the fifth and sixth mining-related fatalities in Sudbury over the past three years.

Jonathan Migneault

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