In 2006 six people died in Canadian mine exploration accidents. The Canadian victims included a geologist whose head was hit by a helicopter blade, two drillers and a pilot killed in a helicopter crash and a linecutter mauled by a grizzly bear.

I get these grizzly statistics from a report on a presentation at the PDAC convention. The speaker is reported also to have saidthat in 2006 at least 29 accidents caused companies to lose a total of about 6,600 days of production time (no indication if this was in B.C. alone or across Canada, or whether this was in exploration only or in all mining.)

On the issue of cultural differences, Australia's mine exploration industry has been fatality-free for about six years.(I am told this is not true, but that is what the CBC reports.)

The report tells us that, presumably inthequestion-and-answersession, Gary Yeo, a geologist with a small exploration company in Saskatchewan, said his company had a near-miss when a line being used to lift ore got tangled in a helicopter's tail.This brought to mind the time the line from the helicopter to the drill rig broke, and the rig fell into an Alaskan wetland only to disappear deep into the mud, never to be retrieved.I watched this fall, splash and sink, but I am still not sure this was an accident. The driller hated the rig. I have often wondered if this was revenge for rig-brakedowns in the rain forests of Admiralty Island.

It appears that the biggest offenders are thoseperennial whipping-boys, thejunior mining companies.In thepresentation, they were told that if they donotdrop their macho attitudes, they could face criminal charges.

I know of only one person who can provide the services needed: Lise Thompson of 1984 Enterprises. Thinking to be neutral, I searched Google, but found nobody comparable offering similar services.Lots of government websites stuffed with platitudes.But nobody else actually prepared to get out inthe field and make sure exploration geologists and miners stay alive.If you know of any, please let me know and let us see if we can keep all mine exploration geologists, miners, and staff alive in 2007.I we do not succeed, I fear the kinder, gentler Canadian society will dissipate and degenerate to the point where lawyers are busy and companies pay when somebody is hurt or killed.