Miners successfully return to surface

All 39 workers climb to safety after elevator shaft accident in Sudbury, Ont.

Miners successfully return to surface

As of Wednesday, all 39 miners trapped underground in a Sudbury, Ont. mine have returned to the surface.

A team of doctors is on-site, checking workers as they emerge, says Nick Larochelle, USW Local 6500 president, representing 30 of the 39 miners, and no one has been physically injured in the incident or in the evacuation.

“When an incident like this unfortunately happens, everyone comes together. The miners support each other, the highly trained mine rescue teams come together and the whole community waits patiently praying for the safe return of every one of the 39 miners to surface.”

“We have made great improvements to health and safety when it comes to mining, this is an important example of why we can never lose focus on safe work for everyone – whatever their job is.”

On Sept. 26, 39 employees were unable to exit the mine due to damage in the shaft that houses the conveyance used to transport employees between surface and underground. While conditions were evaluated, employees reported to underground refuge stations as part of the company’s standard procedures, according to Vale, owner of the Totten Mine in Sudbury, Ont.

That evening, the workers started making their way to surface using a secondary egress ladderway system.

“We thank the impacted employees for their patience and perseverance and the mine rescue teams for their tireless dedication and support,” says Gord Gilpin, head of mining operations for Vale’s Ontario operations. “This has been an incredible team effort.”

Back in 2013, the Ontario government launched a review of mining safety, looking at the effectiveness of health and safety rules, enforcement and prevention in the province after the 2011 deaths of two men at a Vale SA mine prompted calls for reform.

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