By the end of the day, 39 miners who have been trapped underground at Vale’s Totten mine are expected to be brought to the surface.

According to a statement from the company, a rescue crew has reached the workers – who are all safe – and is assisting them as they mobilize to exit the underground mine.

The miners have been below ground since Sunday afternoon. That is when the conveyance for transporting employees was taken offline, following an incident in the shaft. The company has paused operations at Totten.

Reporting in The Sudbury Star cites an internal Vale memo, which “said a scoop bucket that was being slung underground detached from the conveyance and became hung up in the shaft. As a result, the conveyance for transporting employees is unavailable.”

After the incident occurred, the miners headed to underground refuge stations, where, the company said, they had access to food and water. Vale reports that it has been in frequent communication with the miners, and that nobody suffered any injuries.

The workers will exit the mine via a secondary egress ladder system with support of Vale’s mine rescue team.

Ontario Mine Rescue is providing support in the form of equipment and Mine Rescue Officer staff as part of the ongoing operation.

Once the employees are safe, a post-incident process will likely begin. Typically, this means that Vale will internally investigate what caused the issue and begin work to put the mine back in safe working order.

Following Vale’s investigation, the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development (MLTSD) may decide to review the issue. This is done through using staff mining inspectors or mining engineers. The ministry will then determine if any problems existed from a regulatory perspective prior to or during the incident and provide next steps for Vale to ensure safe operations. Ontario Mine Rescue will then review the operation with regards to how workers can be evacuated safely.

The Totten mine is located in Worthington, just outside of Sudbury, and has approximately 200 employees. It produces copper, nickel and other precious metals.