Highest-ever Penalty for Mining Company


Vale Canada Limited Vale Canada Limitée has been handed a $1.05-million fine, in the 2011 deaths of two workers in Sudbury.

The Toronto-based company pleaded guilty to three counts: failing to prevent the movement of material through an ore pass while hazardous conditions existed; failing to maintain drain holes at the Stobie Mine; and failing to ensure that water, slimes and other wet material was not dumped into the ore pass in the mine.

Vale was fined $350,000 for each count — the highest-ever total fine levied by a Court in Ontario for contraventions of the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Justice Randall Lalande handed down the sentence, Sept. 17.

Under the Coroners Act, a coroner’s inquest must be held into the deadly mining accident.

On June 8, 2011 two workers were working the night shift at an ore pass in the Sudbury-area Stobie Mine. As they transferred broken rock and ore from above the 3000 foot level to below that level with a remote control pendant, they moved in front of the transfer gate, to an exposed area.

A sudden, uncontrolled release of muck, sand, and water buried one worker and hit the other. Both workers died from massive crush injuries, multiple blunt force trauma, suffered in the run of muck.

A Ministry of Labour investigation found that there had been a hang-up of wet muck in the ore pass, a result of Vale not dealing with water issues in the mine.


  1. I would rather spend money on prevention and training than get a worker killed. This is why a proactive system is always better than a reactive system.

  2. Excellent story and quite the fine! Also should be sending a resounding message that the courts are willing, where circumstances merit, to go a lot higher than employers may realize.

  3. Tracey Gauley · ·

    Thanks for this, printing it off for our library here at the office. Keep the labour/employment info coming – please! 🙂

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