Minto mine back up and running after explosion

The Minto mine is back in full operation after a stop work order closed a portion of the mine following an explosion May 19. One mine worker was injured.

The Minto mine is back in full operation after a stop work order closed a portion of the mine following an explosion May 19. One mine worker was injured.

Production resumed at Minto May 22.

The explosion occurred when a hydraulic shovel in an open blasting pit struck an undetonated explosive device, said Ron Light, general manager of the Minto Mine. The resulting blast caused rock debris to hit the shovel’s windshield, shattering the glass, which is what injured the driver, he said.

The worker was employed by Pelly Construction. He was treated on site and then medevaced to hospital in Whitehorse for further care. He has since been released. Further information on his condition is private, Light said.

These kinds of accidents are “not a common occurrence but it does happen,” he said.

Sometimes a blasting line gets cut, which leaves an unexploded device in the hole, he said.

The blasting pit had been inspected the day before but “nothing abnormal” was noted, he said.

The Yukon Workers Compensation Health and Safety Board was called in following the explosion.

“Our role is to go into the workplace in the immediate short term, to ensure there are no immediate hazards that exist so no more workers are hurt,” said Andrew Robulack, a board spokeperson.

The investigation is ongoing.

The board will look at what caused the incident and demand changes if they find a need for further safety training, Robulack said.

There may be things that can be done to improve safety at the mine, Light said.

“We will have to see what the investigation reveals,” he said.

Light said he expected the investigation to take a week. Robulack said he was unsure how long the investigation would take.

“This is the beginning, the very, very beginning of this investigation,” Robulack said.

Contact Lori Garrison at lori.garrison@yukon-news.com

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