BHP Billiton’s Perseverance nickel mine could be closed indefinitely today by West Australian Mines and Petroleum Minister Norman Moore.
Moore has reportedly sought urgent advice from state mining engineer Martin Knee on whether the mine should remain open.
A worker was injured and another trapped underground in the second rockfall at BHP Billiton’s Perseverance nickel mine in as many weeks.
The tremor-induced rockfall occurred at 11.30pm on Monday night, trapping one employee underground for two hours before he was safely removed.
A second worker was injured in another part of the mine when a piece of rock hit him in a related rockfall.
A BHP spokesperson told MINING DAILY affected areas of the mine have been closed while a detailed investigation is completed.
“Departmental investigators will inspect the site to determine the cause of the incident and prove it is safe to continue operations,” the spokesperson said.
According to the spokesperson, mining is continuing at unaffected parts of the mine and any impact on production will be included in the company’s next production report.
Earlier this month, a worker was trapped a kilometre underground for 16 hours after a small tremor triggered a 500t rockfall.
Moore said the latest incident has raised serious concerns about the mine’s safety.
“I have asked the state mining engineer to give his professional advice whether there is any reason to stop the Perseverance nickel mine from continuing operations,” he said.
“This could mean that further, independent engineering studies are required to determine if those parts of the mine that are currently closed can be reopened.”