Aurora Geosciences president Gary Vivian defended his company against safety recommendations relating to the 2006 bear-mauling death of employee Jean Francois Page.
The recommendations were made public in an official report released by the chief coroner Thursday.
According to the report, Page was not in possession of any bear spray or bear bangers at the time of the attack. This would have been in violation of company safety rules, said Vivian.
“We have a safety manual, and our safety manual specifically states that employees are expected to have bear spray and bear bangers,” he said.
In the months since Page’s death in April 2006, meticulous outside attention has been paid to Aurora’s safety manual. Very few upgrades have been need, said Vivian.
Because Yukon Compensation Health and Safety Board charges against Aurora could potentially be reinstated, Vivian said he was unable to elaborate on the company’s bear deterrents.
The coroner’s report also suggested that Aurora should schedule flights over survey areas and claim lines in order to assess potential animal hazards.
“Number one, it’s a cost to the client. Number two, do you believe that within treed areas that you can recognize a den or you’re going to see wildlife? — it’s not likely,” said Vivian.
“When you land a helicopter, basically that’s an alert to wildlife that something’s in the area … even an hour later you could come back and there would be wildlife there,” he added.
Vivian stressed that it is impossible to ensure complete safety within the “uncontrolled environment” of the wilderness.
“This is the first incident we’ve ever had — and in the Yukon it’s the first incident since 1985 that’s occurred in (mining) exploration,” said Vivian.
“You’re dealing with an accident, a tragic accident — I don’t know what else a person can say,” he said.