Mining industry now a ‘safety leader’: Awards chair

John T. Ryan National Safety Trophy handed out to mines in Saskatchewan, Alberta and the Northwest Territories

Cameco’s McArthur River uranium mine in Saskatchewan has been awarded the John T. Ryan National Safety Trophy for best performance in the metal mine category for 2009.

Last year, the mine recorded one reportable injury for 756,990 working hours.

Tim Gitzel, Cameco’s senior vice-president and chief operating officer, said awards like this one are a reflection of the Saskatoon-based company’s commitment to safety.

“We are proud of our employees, who have helped make our mines and facilities among the safest in Canada,” said Gitzel.

The awards were handed out at the Canadian Institue of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM) conference in Vancouver this month.

Other national award winners

Diavik Diamond Mines was awarded a John T. Ryan National Safety Trophy in the select mines category for its work in 2009. The remote mine, located in the Northwest Territories, had its lowest lost-time injury last year since it began operation in 2003.

The company also said 2010 is off to a good start, as it has recorded two million hours without a lost-time injury and one million hours without any recordable injury or medical treatment.

"I am extremely pleased that Diavik's workforce has been awarded our industry's most prestigious safety award," said Diavik president and chief operating officer Kim Truter. "This major accomplishment is shared by everyone who works at Diavik and one in which we can all take great pride."

This is the company’s first national John T. Ryan trophy, but it won regional John T. Ryan safety trophies in 2003, 2004, and 2007.

Sherritt Coal’s Genesee Mine, located west of Edmonton, took home the John T. Ryan National Safety Trophy for coal mines. The mine has a bit of a safety award dynasty running, as it has won the national award for coal mines for the past 10 years.

About the awards

Administered by the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum, there are three national John T. Ryan trophies awarded annually. The Ryan program began in 1941 when Canada's mining industry provided metals and mineral for war supplies. In 1942, a second national trophy was established for coal mines while the select mines national trophy was established in 1970.

“Safety is our moral imperative,” said Gord Winkel, Ryan Safety Trophy committee chair. “And I’m here to tell you that mining has outperformed every other industry in this country in terms of safety. Mining is now a leader in safety.”

Regional winners

Regional trophies in the metal mine category have been presented since 1942. Other regional trophy winners in 2009 included Xstrata Nickel Raglan Mine in Northern Quebec, Vale Inco Birchtree Mine in Thompson, Man., Little Narrows Gypsum in Nova Scotia and De Beers Canada Snap lake Mine in the Northwest Territories.

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