WA mine fire rescue praised

The Australian Workers’ Union (AWU) was relieved to see all 54 miners at the WA Goldfields Kanowna Belle Gold Mine safely rescued last night after being trapped underground for over six hours.

The Australian Workers’ Union (AWU) was relieved to see all 54 miners at the WA Goldfields Kanowna Belle Gold Mine safely rescued last night after being trapped underground for over six hours.

AWU Acting National Secretary Paul Howes said the Union was pleased with the speed and professionalism shown by the company in carrying out the rescue but reiterated the AWU’s call for the industry and regulators to take a tougher approach to miners safety underground.

“The safety, rescue and management teams at Kanowna Belle deserve to be congratulated for the way they managed the fire and subsequent rescue at the mine, however, it still must be remembered that despite continuing efforts 12 to 14 miners are killed every year in metalliferous mining,” Howes said.

“Workplace injuries in the WA mining sector are on the increase and Government, Industry and the community cannot afford to rationalise that fact with the deadly defence that ‘mining is inherently dangerous’.

“Whilst there was a good outcome last night at Kanowna Belle and their safety systems worked the Union will continue its campaign to strengthen regulations and to introduce process prescriptive OHS programs across the mining sector to finally tackle the increasing number of incidents, injuries and deaths.”

The AWU has dispatched extra officials to join our Kalgoorlie based team to talk with the workers at Kanowna Belle and in the Goldfields generally to gauge their views on the rescue operations and the lessons that can be taken onboard by the industry.

Paul Howes

The Australian Workers Union

paul.howes@awu.net.au

www.awu.net.au

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