Tagish Lake Gold pleads guilty to workplace safety infractions

Tagish Lake Gold Corp. has pleaded guilty to three violations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act. The company entered guilty pleas in territorial court on Tuesday.

Tagish Lake Gold Corp. has pleaded guilty to three violations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

The company entered guilty pleas in territorial court on Tuesday.

After reaching a deal with the Crown, the company is expected to make similar pleas for nine other charges of violating the code, said Graham Lang, who represented the mining company in court.

Tagish Lake admitted that between July 19 and Sept. 4, 2011 it did not make sure workers were aware of hazards in using the scissor-lift unit, scoop-tram unit and a dump truck at its underground mine about 30 kilometres west of Carcross.

In February, the company received a new five-year permit from the Yukon government.

The nine outstanding charges include two counts of continuing to work after the company received stop-work orders for the scoop tram and scissor lift on July 20, 2011.

The company is also charged with one count of failing to make sure the scoop tram had proper fire suppression equipment, and one count of failing to protect workers from falling, flying or intruding objects. Two charges relate to the company’s access road to its Chieftain Mountain exploration program.

The charges allege the company did not build proper barriers or a berm on the road, or an emergency runaway lane. The final three charges relate to posting incident reports. The company did not post incident reports from July 21 and Aug. 10, 2011, the charges allege. It also removed a notice from the scoop tram, the charges allege.

To date, the Vancouver-based junior mining company has provided little information about the events that led to the charges.

Tagish Gold’s property is 80 kilometres south of Whitehorse along the Wheaton River Valley. It includes the Mount Skukum underground gold mine, which briefly operated from 1986 to 1988. That operation left behind nearly five kilometres of underground tunnels, leaving Tagish Gold with easy access to underground ore bodies.

Company representatives were unavailable for comment before press time. The Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board would not comment on the case because it’s before the courts.

Sentencing will take place Feb. 25 at 2 p.m.

Contact Meagan Gillmore at

mgillmore@yukon-news.com