Man confirmed dead after NT mine wall collapse
A man who was buried under a collapsed wall of dirt and rock at the Bootu Creek mine in the Northern Territory has died, his employer confirmed on Monday.
In a statement, Singapore-based OM Holdings Ltd (OMH) — the parent company of OM (Manganese) Ltd (OMM), which runs the Bootu Creek mine — confirmed the death.
The man, 59, was fatally injured when a wall failed at the Tourag pit of the mine, some 110 kilometres north of Tennant Creek, at about 2:40pm on Saturday afternoon.
The board of OMH was “deeply saddened” by the death, said company secretaries Heng Siow Kwee and Julie Wolseley.
“The identity of the employee will not be released by OMH until approval is provided by the employee’s family at the appropriate time,” they said.
“To all his family, friends and colleagues OM (Manganese) Ltd extends its sincerest condolences.”
Support is being provided to the man’s family and colleagues, they added.
“All operations at the mine were halted, subsequently certain operations have re-started. All employees are offered access to counselling services,” the statement said.
A joint investigative team has been set up with representatives from Northern Territory Police and the Department of Primary Industry and Resources.
OMM was directed to cease in-pit operations immediately, said Primary Industry and Resources Minister Paul Kirby in a statement.
“The incident at Bootu Creek Mine is an absolute tragedy and my thoughts go to all the workers at the site and the families involved,” Mr Kirby said. “Territorians have the right to go to work and return safely to their families.”
The Bootu Creek mine was placed in administration in January 2016, before resuming operations in early 2017.
About 140 workers lost their jobs when the mine was stagnated, largely due to a drop in ore prices, and only returned to full production in 2018.
The open-cut mine trucks its ore on a specially built road to the Adelaide-Darwin railway line 60 kilometres away for transport to Darwin, and then onto ships bound for overseas markets.
OMH’s 2018 annual report said the mine produced 814,040 tonnes of manganese ore in the year.
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