Union Cautiously Optimistic of Imminent Rescue of Trapped Miners

SUDBURY – The United Steelworkers union (USW) is deeply concerned for the 39 workers who have been temporarily trapped underground at Vale’s Totten Mine in Sudbury since early Sunday. Rescue efforts are underway and the union is cautiously optimistic all of the workers will be safely evacuated as soon as possible.

“This is a very difficult time for these workers, their families and co-workers, and our thoughts are with them,” said Nick Larochelle, president of USW Local 6500, which represents most Totten Mine employees, including 30 of the 39 trapped workers.

“Fortunately, no one has been physically injured in this incident. However, this is a very stressful and anxious time for the workers and their loved ones. Every effort is being made to ensure everyone is brought back to surface safely and as quickly as possible,” Larochelle said.

The workers have been underground since Sunday morning following an incident that affected the shaft and mine cage (elevator) that transports workers into and out of the mine. The workers have remained in underground refuge stations where there is a significant supply of water. Rescue teams have been able to deliver food, as well as medication for certain workers.

“We are working closely with Vale management and our highly trained mine rescue personnel which includes Local 6500 members. We are confident in their abilities to deal with these types of incidents. We will continue to work diligently until everyone returns to surface,” Larochelle said.


For further information:

Pascal Boucher, USW Area Co-ordinator, 705-521-3414, pboucher@usw.ca
Shannon Devine, USW Communications, 416-894-7118 (cell), sdevine@usw.ca

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