Investigation Launched into the Death of Worker at Alberta Coal Mine

Alberta Government - image credit

   An investigation is underway following a tragic incident on Saturday where a worker lost their life in the pit of a coal mine located southwest of Edmonton.

Company officials confirmed in a statement on Thursday that the deceased was an experienced mine worker at the Genesee Mine, near the village of Warburg in Leduc County. The fatality occurred at approximately 11:30 a.m. while the worker was attempting to clear a frozen line used for pumping water out of the bottom of one of the mine's pits.

Scott Sturm, Chief Operating Officer of Westmoreland Mining, expressed the company's heartbreak over the loss. 

The worker was a valued employee who had been with the company since 2017 and had more than 15 years experience in the mining industry, Sturm said,

"We are grateful to the emergency responders who reacted so quickly to this event," Sturm stated.

The priority for the company at this time is to attend to the needs of the deceased worker's family and all employees at the Genesee Mine. The spokesperson for the province's Ministry of Labour and Immigration confirmed that the worker's death is under investigation by Occupational Health and Safety officials. 

The fatality occurred when the worker was struck by an object.

The company is fully cooperating with the ongoing investigation. Neither the company or the province would provide additional details on the worker, citing the ongoing investigation.

The Genesee Mine is operated by Westmoreland Coal Company in a venture with Edmonton-based Capital Power. As one of the last remaining coal-fired power plants in Alberta, the Genesee generating station has been undergoing upgrades to transition the entire operation from coal-fired to natural gas. The mine, situated about 80 kilometers southwest of Edmonton, employs over 200 permanent workers. All coal-fired plants in Alberta are mandated to be retired by December 2029.