Kalgoorlie Super Pit rock fall threatens jobs

The Super Pit rock fall. Image: Glenn Wilson.

KCGM has conceded that a rock fall at the Super Pit gold mine this month will affect its workforce numbers.

The mine is a major employer in Western Australia’s Goldfields region, with 1300 employees and contractors involved with the operation.

Mining rates at the joint venture between Barrick Gold and Newmont Mining are currently reduced following the incident at the operation’s Fimiston open pit, which experienced movement on its eastern wall on May 14–15.

KCGM general manager Cecile Thaxter revealed the workforce would be impacted by the rockfall in a briefing with the mine’s personnel this week.

“Our experts continue evaluating the rock fall and the subsequent safety precautions that have been implemented, to understand how it will impact mine planning and sequencing going forward,” Thaxter said.

“In the meantime, mining rates will be reduced as we work to develop these plans.

“Based on those measures, there will be an impact to the workforce numbers at KCGM for both our employees and our business partners, which continues to be defined.”

KCGM hopes to reduce the impact on the open pit workforce through redeployments, attrition, flexible working arrangements, and suspension of recruitment. The company plans to fully consult the affected employees.

Since the rock fall, KCGM has extended the exclusion zone surrounding the eastern wall on the north end of the pit as an additional safety precaution, while mining operations continue in the southern end of the pit.

Elsewhere, the Mt Charlotte underground mine, and the Fimiston and Gidji processing plants continue to operate normally.

KCGM is also holding discussions with its open pit business partners regarding the impact on mining rates.

The Super Pit produced 170,000oz of gold during the March quarter, according to the latest Surbiton Associates report.