[Sudbury Vale workers] Back to work – by Carol Mulligan (Sudbury Star – Febraury 9, 2012)

The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.

Vale’s five Sudbury mines should be back in production by the end of next week, says a company spokeswoman.

Production at the mines was halted Jan. 30 after an experienced development miner, Stephen Perry, was killed on the job at Coleman Mine on Jan. 29.

Since then, Vale has been working with employees to ensure all five mines in Sudbury — Coleman, Creighton, Stobie, Garson and Copper Cliff — are safe places for production and maintenance employees to return to work.

“Production will start resuming at our mines as safety issues are addressed and completed,” Vale’s Angie Robson said Wednesday. “We expect that by the end of next week, most of our mines will be back into production.”

About 1,550 employees, members of United Steelworkers Local 6500, have been performing safety work since the mines ceased production. Work has been continuing at surface plants in the meantime.

Vale vice-president Kelly Strong called the safety break after the death of Perry, 47. He was operating a piece of mechanized equipment at the 4,215- foot level of Coleman’s main ore body when he was struck by rock.

Vale and Local 6500 have formed a joint committee to investigate how Perry died. The Ministry of Labour is investigating and Greater Sudbury Police Service has been conducting an investigation, in part for the coroner’s office.

Perry was killed on the job eight months after two men were killed June 8, 2011, while working at the 3,000-foot level of Stobie Mine. Jason Chenier, 35, and Jordan Fram, 26, were killed when they were overcome by a run of muck.

Vale and the union conducted separate investigations into that fatal accident. Vale released its findings two weeks ago and the union is putting the finishing touches on its investigation report.

The labour ministry has up to a year to complete its investigation into the Stobie fatalities.

Coroner’s inquests will be conducted into both fatalities.

Meanwhile, USW Local 6500 will conduct a plant gate collection Thursday for Perry’s only child. The company is also collecting funds from non-union staff.

Originally from Corner Brook, Nfld., Perry worked for Vale for 16 years. After his death, family spoke of his love for his daughter, Brittany Boyd-Perry, of Chelmsford, calling her the light of Perry’s life.

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