There are more than 375 mine openings at 63 separate mine sites in New Brunswick. Most of these openings are on private land. Many of them predate modern safety rules. They are dangerous! The ground around a mine opening can become unstable and may collapse.
The landowner is responsible for abandoned mine openings. Under the Criminal Code of Canada: “Everyone who leaves an excavation on land that he owns or of which he has charge or supervision is under a legal duty to guard it in a manner that is adequate to prevent persons from falling in by accident and is adequate to warn them that the excavation exists.”
As the owner, you may be held liable for injury that occurs on your land. You must take reasonable measures to make sure open holes are made safe. Here’s how you can restrict access and minimize risk:
- Erect signs to warn of the danger.
- Make sure that access to the opening is restricted. The ground around mine openings can be fragile.
- Use barricades to restrict access. (This can include fencing, earthen berms, boulders, concrete blocks, steel grating, wire screen and timber.)
- Inspect the area on a regular basis to make sure it is safe and secure.
Signs and barricades do not remove the risk of someone going into a mine. The only way to prevent access is to seal the mine permanently. This can be done by filling or blocking with overburden, placing timber or concrete bulkheads for tunnel openings, placing concrete caps for shafts, or blasting.