No charge for BHP’s Olympic Dam accident

The shaft failure at BHP Billiton’s Olympic Dam mine in 2009 that cost over $200 million has not been resulted in prosecution for the company.

The incident brought 75 per cent of production at the site to a halt for nine months, which Safework SA has determined was damaging enough to BHP that it doesn’t need to be charged, the Australian reports.

"A legal review of all available information concluded that insufficient grounds exist to sustain a successful prosecution,” Safework SA told The Australian.

"Nevertheless, the financial consequences to BHP-Billiton have been substantial, ranging from repair costs totalling tens of millions of dollars to production losses worth several hundreds of millions of dollars."

There were no injuries sustained when the automatic braking system on the main Clark shaft at Australia’s biggest copper mine in 2009 failed.

It sent a skip filled with 38.5 tonnes of ore hurtling more than 700 metres down the mine and also resulted in an empty skip crashing into housing and structural equipment at the top end of the shaft and then fell to the bottom, according to SafeworkSA.

Safework SA is satisfied that BHP has identified what caused the failure, a software fault, and has taken steps to prevent similar incidents in the future.

Image: BHP Billiton

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