The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.
The president of United Steelworkers Local 6500 is calling for a meeting with officials from Sudbury’s Crown attorney office to discuss why they and Greater Sudbury Police investigators determined no criminal charges should be laid in the deaths of two men at Vale’s Stobie Mine.
Rick Bertrand said his union’s executive and other members are angry charges won’t be laid under the Criminal Code of Canada in the June 8, 2011, deaths of Jason Chenier, 35, and Jordan Fram, 26.
Vale is facing nine charges under the Occupational Health and Safety Act and one of its supervisors, Keith Birnie, is facing six charges under the act. The union said its eight-month investigation into the men’s deaths showed more serious charges were warranted.
“We found disturbing facts … about what went on at Stobie Mine,” Bertrand said Friday of his union’s investigation. USW Local 6500’s investigation determined water was pooled as deep as four or five feet in the corridors of the century-old mine, known for its water problems.
The union also found Chenier had sent two e-mails to Vale management expressing his concerns about the “dangerous water levels,” said Bertrand.
Chenier was so worried about water in the mine, he erected double guard rails to prevent the dumping of wet ore, but Vale management ordered “those safety guards … taken down,” said Bertrand.
“Yeah, we are very angry, we are upset. Vale management ignored the ongoing problems at their mine,” said the union leader.
Bertrand learned Thursday afternoon that criminal charges wouldn’t be laid under the Westray provision of the criminal code, as his union had demand.
“It’s so upsetting, you have trouble sleeping. You think about your members, you think about the families,” he said.
Vale spokeswoman Angie Robson said the decision not to pursue criminal charges “is one that is supported by our own internal investigation. While we are satisfied with this decision, it doesn’t minimize the loss experienced by our community and, most importantly, by the Chenier and Fram families.
“The best way to honour the memories of Jordan and Jason is to continue to ensure control measures are put in place across our operations to ensure this kind of tragedy is never repeated. That remains our focus,” she said.
For the rest of this article, please go to the Sudbury Star website: http://www.thesudburystar.com/2012/09/14/no-criminal-charges-in-death-of-miners-police