Arctic mine accident leads to Rio Tinto's legal battle
A criminal case has been opened against a Canadian subsidiary of the global mining giant Rio Tinto after a serious employee injury at the Arctic Diavik diamond mine, as reported by Reuters.
Local authorities announced the legal action, highlighting the incident that took place on January 26, 2003, approximately 200 kilometers south of the Arctic Circle in the Northwest Territories.
The Workers' Safety and Compensation Commission (WSCC) has initiated the case, which is set to proceed with a hearing on March 19 at the criminal court in Yellowknife, the capital of the Northwest Territories.
In their statement, the WSCC detailed, "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."
Rio Tinto, addressing the charges, stated on Monday, "Diavik took the health and safety of its employees very seriously." The company opted not to provide further commentary due to the pending criminal case.
This case follows a recent tragedy involving Rio Tinto employees, where six people died in a plane crash near Fort Smith in the Northwest Territories, en route to Diavik, with four of the victims being Rio Tinto workers.
In contrast to these incidents, Rio Tinto's 2022 report boasted zero fatalities and an All Injury Frequency Rate of 0.40, mirroring the rate from the year prior. Despite this, the report acknowledged an increase in potentially fatal incidents, from 16 in 2021 to 19 in 2022.