Judge directs Barrick to pay $1.4m compo

A judge has directed Barrick Gold to pay $1.4 million in compensation to the de facto partner and son of a mine worker who died at the Kanowna Belle mine in August 2009.

Daniel Owen Williams plunged 25 metres and died when he was working underground.

His partner Carlie Marie Wiggins launched a civil action following the incident.

Judge Mark Herron at the Perth District Court awarded Wiggins damages of $969,531 and $417,780 to the couple’s two-year-old son, the West Australian reported.

Barrick had acknowledged liability for Williams’ death and that Wiggins was entitled to compensation.

Judge Herron had to decide on the amount of compensation.

Barrick’s evidence in court came in the form of a letter it had sent to Williams in January 2009 that told him of the move to contract out lateral development work at Kanowna Belle.

The letter said Williams had been posted as a truck driver as a result of operational modifications as of March 13, 2009.

Barrick contended the letter indicated there would be “some risk” with Williams’ job and was proof of the doubt around employment in the gold industry.

But Judge Herron dismissed the letters and said Barrick had “clearly not acted on the advice in the letter”, and had employed Williams as a leading hand.

Williams had started training as a bogger operator before his death.

The amount of compensation was decided based on the fact that Williams would have become a bogger operator with the corresponding income.

The judge looked at loss of income, loss of dependency, loss of superannuation and future dependency before deciding the amount.

Williams’ colleagues said he was a “real go-getter who always went that extra step” and “loved getting his hands into the work’.

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