Middlemount Coal has confirmed the death of a mineworker after a high wall collapsed on to an excavator with the worker inside.
The company has suspended work at the site and a workplace health and safety investigation is under way. The death represents the third fatality at a Queensland coal mine this year.
Middlemount Coal chief executive officer Gerrie Jordaan released a statement saying that the company was deeply saddened about the incident.
“He was a highly valued member of our team and will be greatly missed by his workmates,” the statement read.
“We are in contact with his family and have offered our full support to help them deal with their loss. Their welfare is our highest priority and we ask that their privacy be respected at this difficult time.”
CFMEU Queensland branch president Stephen Smyth said the union was devastated about the news and sent its condolences to the worker’s family, friends and co-workers.
“It must be a wake-up call to the industry to look closely at the safety culture and practices across our coal mines,” he said. “Every worker should return home safely at the end of their shift.”
The Bowen Basin mine is a 50/50 joint venture between Peabody Energy and Yancoal.
It produces low volatile pulverised coal injection coal and hard coking coal and is closed contact with contracted rail and port capacity through Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal and Abbot Point Port.
It is an open cut mine with full scale operations have commenced in November 2011, with mining activities using conventional truck and shovel techniques.
Production at the site amounts to approximately 4.1 million tonnes per annum from 5.4 million tonnes per annum of run of mine output.