Gold Mine Fined $130K Under POA

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Two workers’ injuries led to a combined $130,000-fine levied against Wesdome Gold Mines Ltd., a Toronto-based mining firm.

In June 2011, a worker fell at the mill’s metal precipitation plant, which removes metal from mine tailings. A chemical, floculante, a known slip hazard, was on the plastic-covered floor in the area. The worker suffered broken bones.

Wesdome pleaded guilty to failing as an employer to ensure that a safe means of access was provided where workers are required to work, operate, maintain or service equipment — an Occupational Health and Safety offence. It was fined $60,000.

The second incident took place on March 28, 2012. A crew of three repair and maintenance workers was working in an ore-crusher area, where a cyanide solution tank is located. The cyanide solution is used in processing ore and helps to separate gold from rock.

A worker stepped into a hole that was obscured by dirty water. Unknown to the worker, the hole contained sodium cyanide and sodium hydroxide. The worker suffered cyanide poisoning and chemical burns.

Justice of the Peace Liette Hunter found that the company failed have an alarm installed to warn workers of the presence of poisonous cyanide gas during overflows and spills. Wesdome was fined $70,000 on the second count, in Marathon Provincial Offences Court, Sept. 17.

A 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge is added to the fines, under the Provincial Offences Act.

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