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Mining Inquest

SUDBURY – The inquest in the deaths of two drilling workers at a Sudbury area mine 5 years ago wrapped up on October 4.

In 2015, Norm Bisaillon and Marc Methe, both contractors for Taurus Drilling, died of traumatic asphyxia after being crushed by 12 tons of rock and debris.

The mine's design and development was a big focus of the inquest.

"There was an opening geometry issues, that is they over blasted when they opened up the area. That creates all kinds of geo-physical problems. There were problems with water management, there were errors perhaps that's the wrong word… perhaps improper or inadequate blasting," said David McCaskill, Ministry of Labour Lawyer.

"Engineering must be diligent and pick up on these things and make corrective actions immediately… in this case it didn't happen, and it cost two lives," said Dave Stewart, Bisaillon family representative.

The jury made seven recommendations, including improved seismicity monitoring and re-entry protocol after seismic activity.

"Safety is priority in actually any job really. Mining in particular, because there is already a risk going down there, that they are putting themselves in, so the more safety the better," said Romeena Kozoriz, Bisaillon's wife.

In this case, there was a trial involving criminal charges, which were completed last February and under the Coroner's Act, an inquest cannot be held until those proceeding are complete.

"In this particular case, there was a lengthy trial, in which First Nickel Incorporated was convicted of a number of serious offences under the legislation," said McCaskill.

Many feel inquests should be held in a timelier manner.

"Way too long. It's five and a half years. Unfortunately for both families, they had to relive all of this," said Dave Stewart, family representative.

During some emotional testimony, one site foreman with First Nickel said five years is far too long to wait when you are trying to forget the worst day of your life.