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Coroner’s inquest to examine deaths of two Vale miners

The Office of the Chief Coroner for Ontario has scheduled a 10-day inquest into the deaths of Jordan Fram and Jason Chenier, two Vale miners who lost their lives in a mining accident in Sudbury in June 2011.

The inquest will take place at the Sudbury Courthouse beginning April 20th.

The two miners were killed when they were crushed by a 350-ton run of muck at the 3,000-foot level of Vale’s Stobie Mine.

The inquest will examine the circumstances surrounding the men’s deaths and make recommendations aimed at preventing similar deaths from occurring.

The inquest is just the latest investigation prompted by the two fatalities. Vale and Steelworkers Local 6500 conducted separate investigations and released reports about the incident.

In September 2013, Vale pleaded guilty to three charges under the Occupational Health and Safety Act and was fined $1,050,000.

Greater Sudbury Police also held an investigation and decided not to lay criminal charges.

After the accident, the victims’ families and community supporters formed the Mining Inquiry Needs Everyone’s Support (MINES) committee, which pushed for the provincial government to conduct a mine safety inquiry.

Instead, the government convened a mine health and safety review, which held public consultations in a number of cities, including Sudbury.

Dr. Reuven Jhirad, deputy chief coroner of the Office of the Chief Coroner for Ontario, said there’s a good reason it has taken so long to call an inquest.

“We wait for all investigations to complete, whether that’s a police investigation or a Ministry of Labour investigation,” he said.

It’s necessary to wait until all other investigations are complete to ensure the most information possible is available, Jhirad said.

“You wouldn’t want to have an inquest process and then have a ministry report surface later that could have been really very useful to the jury,” he said. “We try to make sure we have all the information they need.”

The inquest jury — which will be made up of local citizens — will make recommendations to prevent the occurrence of similar accidents.

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