A miner at BHP Billiton’s Perseverance nickel mine in Western Australia was this morning found dead nearly 24 hours after his vehicle fell 18 m down a stope.
The 45-year-old man drove his vehicle over the stope yesterday morning at around 9.30 AM.
According to The West Australian, emergency teams spent most of yesterday trying to asses the safest way to mount a rescue.
An officer from the local Leinster Police station apparently attempted to get down the hole, but only made it halfway after 25 minutes.
In a statement, BHP said details of the accident were still being established and an investigation is underway.
“The onsite emergency team was activated and external emergency services attended the scene,” the company said.
“BHP Billiton Nickel West is working closely with the Department of Mines and Petroleum and Western Australia Police in relation to this tragic event.
“The employee’s family has been notified and operations at Nickel West Leinster are currently suspended.
“The company is offering assistance and support to the employee’s family and those affected.
“Our immediate thoughts are with the employee’s family, friends and colleagues at this difficult time.”
The Perseverance mine, located around 400 km north of Kalgoorlie, was subject to an investigation by the WA Mines Inspector last year after two rockfalls in three weeks.
The company was ordered to shut the mine down temporarily and commission an independent engineering study to prevent further incidents.
One miner was trapped underground for 16 hours in one incident, while another injured his back after being hit by a rock.