Rock fall delays Mount Lyell by months

Mount Lyell copper mine has faced further delays to its reopening, due to a rockfall in the ventilation shaft.

About 500 metres of the main ventilation exhaust has been damaged, and works will be required to re-route the main power supply, repair maintenance which Copper Mines of Tasmania (CMT) said would take two to three months.

No workers were at risk during the rock fall.

The Tasmanian mine, owned by Vedanta Resources, has been closed since January when 53 year-old mobile plant operator Michael Welsh was killed by a mud rush.

In December last year, two workers were killed when they fell down a shaft.

Workers at the mine were stood down on half-pay after the third death in January.

Australian Workers Union spokesperson Robert Flanagan said the news of the ongoing closure was devastating news for the mine’s 200 workers.

“I think everybody would see this as a real kick in the guts for all stakeholders that rely on the Mt Lyell operation,” he said.

Flanagan said the AWU had expected the mine to resume operations at the end of July.

“Potentially, that's now pushed back by two or three months… and that just makes things more difficult for those that have been trying to cope with the situation.”

CMT general manager Scot Clyde said they will review the viability of the ailing mine.

“We will … need to reassess the economic viability of the mine, as this latest incident will incur significant additional costs which will negatively impact on what was already a marginal economic position,” Clyde said.

Image: The Mercury

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