Marathon, ON – Wesdome Gold Mines Ltd. has been convicted in two separate cases involving injuries to workers and fined a combined total of $130,000 plus surcharges.
In one case, on March 28, 2012, a crew of three workers was conducting repair and maintenance to an ore crusher in the mill. They were working in an area of the mill where a crusher and a cyanide solution tank are located. The cyanide solution is used in processing ore and helps to separate gold from rock.
A worker was washing a part of the crusher at floor level and inadvertently stepped into a hole that was not visible because the area was covered with a few inches of dirty water. Unknown to the worker, the hole contained sodium cyanide and sodium hydroxide as well as water. In stepping into the hole, the worker’s boot was filled with liquid. As a result the worker suffered from cyanide poisoning and chemical burns to the leg.
The court found that the company failed have an alarm installed to warn workers of the presence of poisonous cyanide gas which would result during overflows and spills.
Wesdome was fined $70,000 as well as the 25% victim fine surcharge required by the Provincial Offences Act. The fines were imposed by Justice of the Peace Liette Hunter.
In an earlier case at the same mining company, on June 2, 2011, a worker fell at the mill’s metal precipitation plant, which removes metal from mine tailings. A chemical used in the water treatment process was present and the chemical, floculante, is known to create a slip hazard. Due to the presence of floculante, the worker slipped while walking on plastic screening. 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. Wesdome was fined $60,000, as well as a 25% 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.