Gem and Diamond

Rio Tinto unit faces criminal case in Canada over injured worker

Rio Tinto unit faces criminal case in Canada over injured worker
A Canadian unit of global mining company Rio Tinto is facing a criminal case after an employee was seriously injured at an Arctic diamond mine, according to an announcement by local authorities.

The accident took place on Jan 26, 2003 at the Diavik mine, which is located about 200 km (125 miles) south of the Arctic Circle in the Northwest Territories, the local Workers’ Safety and Compensation Commission (WSCC) said.

The WSCC has filed a case against the mine and the next step is a hearing on March 19 at the criminal court in Yellowknife, the capital of the Northwest Territories. The WSCC revealed the case in a statement issued on Friday.

“Diavik Diamond Mine is charged with multiple counts alleging violations of the Mine Health and Safety Act, including failure to implement and maintain safe work practices, and failure to take every reasonable measure to protect the health and safety of their employees, as well as other offences,” it said, but gave no details of the accident.

Rio Tinto said in a statement on Monday that Diavik took the health and safety of its employees very seriously. It declined to comment further, given the criminal case.

Six people died last month after a small plane carrying Rio Tinto workers crashed near Fort Smith in the Northwest Territories, shortly after taking off for Diavik. Four of those were employees of Rio Tinto.

In 2022, Rio Tinto reported zero fatalities and had an all injury frequency rate – the number of all injuries per 2,000,000 hours worked – of 0.40, the same as the previous year.

The company’s annual report said that in 2022, the number of potentially fatal incidents rose to 19 compared to 16 in 2021.

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