At the Yellowknife courthouse on Monday, Diavik Diamond Mine agreed to pay $150,000 fine for an accident in 2020 that left a worker blind.
In November 2020, after frozen rock at the mine site had been blasted, employee Steve Houle, 50, was operating an excavator to collect the leftover fragments.
That's when a large slab of rock fell onto his excavator, crushing the cab and trapping him for over four hours.
The accident left him with multiple injuries, including the loss of his vision in both eyes and the amputation of a toe.
Court heard Houle had decades of experience as a heavy equipment operator and had been working at Diavik for three years prior to the accident.
Diavik initially faced nine charges, including failing to take every reasonable measure and precaution to protect the health and safety of employees, and ensuring that all supervisors are properly trained in safe work and safe blasting procedures.
But eight of those charges were withdrawn and Diavik pleaded to one count for violating the Mine Health and Safety Act.
Peter Roberts, the lawyer representing Diavik, said the incident was the result of a construction supervisor not being properly trained and being unable to recognize the danger presented by large slabs of rock remaining after blasting.
He said the mine has a track record of good safety practices and co-operated with the Workers' Safety and Compensation Commission (WSCC) investigation.
Additionally, after the accident, Diavik changed its policies around training to ensure staff are always up to date.
The charge carries a maximum fine of $500,000, but Diavik will pay $150,000, which will go to the WSCC.
The company will also pay $22,500 for the victim surcharge fine.
Both Roger Shepard, the prosecutor representing the N.W.T., and Roberts, Diavik's attorney, agreed the $150,000 is on the higher end for a workplace injury, but is fair considering the extent of the injury Houle received.
The plea was part of a joint submission, meaning Shepard and Roberts agreed to the charges and fine.
Mike Lowing, a representative from Diavik, was in the courtroom to deliver the plea.
The presiding judge agreed with the submission, finding it was a serious matter that altered the life of Houle and his family but that the mine appeared to have taken measures to ensure it doesn't happen again, including new training protocols.
Court also heard this was the first time Diavik had done this type of blasting, so it was a procedure the staff were unfamiliar with.
This is one of the most serious workplace injuries at Diavik since before the mine was in operation.
In 2001, two men died when a lift they were on 15 metres above the ground fell over.