Earthquake shuts BHP mine, workers told to stay home

Underground workers at BHP Billiton’s Nickel West Leinster Perseverance Underground operation have been told not to come to work until further notice after an earthquake last month suspended operations.

Nine BHP Billiton miners had to be rescued after an earthquake rocked the underground nickel mine in Western Australia on October 31.

It took nine hours to free the trapped workers.

None of the miners were injured.

The operation has been temporarily suspended while experts assess the seismic event’s impact on the site.

“A small crew of employees is able to safely continue working underground to re-establish access, carry out inspections, assessments and maintenance of essential services,” BHP said in a statement.

“Underground personnel not engaged in these tasks have been informed that they are not required at work until further notice.”

Shutting down Perseverance is expected to see total saleable nickel production at Nickel West fall in the December quarter.

The company said production at its Kwinana nickel refinery will be maintained in the short term.

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