WSCC investigating work-related death of employee at Gahcho Kué mine

·2 min read
An aerial view of the Gahcho Kué diamond mine in 2016. A worker died at the site on Sept. 1, the first workplace fatality at the mine site. (submitted by The De Beers Group - image credit)
An aerial view of the Gahcho Kué diamond mine in 2016. A worker died at the site on Sept. 1, the first workplace fatality at the mine site. (submitted by The De Beers Group - image credit)

Inspectors from the Workers' Safety and Compensation Commission have been to the Gahcho Kué diamond mine in the N.W.T. to investigate the death of an employee.

The worker was an employee with SMS Equipment Inc., a heavy equipment dealer that sells and services machinery to construction, forestry, mining and road maintenance companies. This is the first death reported at the mine site.

"With great sadness, we confirm that one of our employees was fatally injured while working at the De Beers Gahcho Kué mine in the Northwest Territories," said Kelly-Ann Cordner, a spokesperson for SMS Equipment Inc., in an email.

"Our top priority is to ensure the employee's family and co-workers have the support they need during this incredibly difficult time."

Shannon Moore, a spokesperson for the Workers' Safety and Compensation Commission, said few details could be provided as the investigation is ongoing.

Moore confirmed inspectors "attended the work site of the recent incident," but wouldn't say when the inspectors were there or if they are still at the site.

Terry Kruger, a spokesperson for De Beers, the majority owner of the mine, confirmed in an email this is the first workplace fatality at the mine site. Kruger said the company is supporting the investigation.

He added De Beers is also conducting an internal investigation "to fully understand what happened in an effort to prevent a similar incident from happening in the future."

While all non-essential work was suspended at the mine last week, Kruger said limited production has now resumed.

He added crisis counsellors arrived at the mine site on the day of the incident to ensure the "individual's colleagues and the entire mine team are supported as they deal with this extremely difficult incident."

The crisis counsellors will remain at the site all week.

The Gahcho Kué diamond mine, a joint venture between De Beers Group and Mountain Province Diamonds, officially opened in 2016.

It's about 280 kilometres northeast of Yellowknife.