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Gold Mining Company Fined $100,000 After Workers Injured

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Gold Mining Company Fined $100,000 After Workers Injured

Ministry of Labour

Kirkland Lake, ON - Kirkland Lake Gold Inc., a company that operates an underground gold mine in Kirkland Lake, was fined $100,000 on September 6, 2011, for violating the Occupational Health and Safety Act after two workers were injured.

On February 24, 2009, two crews were having lunch in the mine when they learned that a machine in a tunnel off the main haulage line had a flat tire.  They were instructed to take one crew to examine the machine, before obtaining the appropriate tire from storage. One crew left with a tram - a train consisting of a motor and ore cars - and along the way, they found a tire placed at a curve in the main line and assumed it would fit. The second crew left shortly after, unaware the first crew had stopped to pick up the tire and was still on the main line. The second crew's tram hit the other tram at the curve, crushing and seriously injuring a worker. Kirkland Lake Gold Inc. pleaded guilty, as an employer, to failing to supervise the implementation of its procedure for instances where a train may meet another on a single track.

In a separate incident on August 5, 2009, a worker was installing ground support at a working face in a drift - a horizontal tunnel - at the 4750-foot level. A piece of loose rock fell, glancing off a drill and hitting the worker, who suffered leg injuries. A Ministry of Labour investigation found that Kirkland Lake Gold Inc., the employer, failed to follow bolt patterns used to stabilize rock excavations as prescribed by the mine plan, and utilized bolts significantly shorter than what was called for. The investigation also found that the screening along the wall and roof of the drift had not been properly cleared of loose rock, also contributing to unsafe conditions. Kirkland Lake Gold Inc. pleaded guilty, as an employer, to failing to ensure that ground conditions be examined for dangers and hazards before work was begun.

Kirkland Lake Gold Inc. was fined $50,000 for each conviction. The fines were imposed by Justice of the Peace Michel Moreau. In addition to the fines, the court imposed a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge, as required by the Provincial Offences Act. The surcharge is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.

Court Information at a Glance

Location:                    Ontario Court of Justice

                                    140 Government Rd. E.

                                    Kirkland Lake, ON

Judge:                         Justice of the Peace Michel Moreau

Date of Sentencing:    September 6, 2011

Defendants:                 Kirkland Lake Gold Inc.

Matter:                         Occupational Health and Safety

Convictions:                Occupational Health and Safety Act, Sections 25(2)(a), 25(1)(c)

                                   Ontario Regulation 854, Section 66(1)

Crown Counsel:          Wes Wilson

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