Gold miner killed at Waihi

A miner has been killed after his loader tipped, while operating underground at OceanaGold’s Waihi mine.

This is the first fatal incident at the New Zealand gold mine – which was formerly owned by Newmont – in 25 years.

The incident occurred late last night, when the 29-year-old operator was backfilling a void.

It is not yet known how the incident occurred, but it understood the operator was working alone, and was later found by a mines rescue team early this morning.

According to Stuff.co.nz, the man was working in a five by five metre tunnel in the Correnso mine, and tipped his LHD when it reached a wider area.

The rescue team was then sent in to find the man after he failed to make contact for some time, a spokesperson stating they couldn’t raise him on the radio, which drove the decision to send in mines rescue.

OceanaGold confirmed the incident, stating it is currently under investigation, and that the company is co-operating with police and WorkSafe New Zealand to determine the cause of the accident.

“We are all deeply saddened by this tragic event,” OceanaGold CEO Mick Wilkes said.

“It is a sobering reminder that the health and safety of our workforce is paramount each and every day. On behalf of all employees at OceanaGold, I offer our deepest prayers and condolences to the family of the worker and employees of the mine.”

All operations have been suspended at Waihi while the investigation is carried out.

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