Gold mining company fined $140K over worker’s death

A gold mining company has been fined $ 140,000 in the Perth Magistrates Court after a worker died at the company’s Harlequin gold mine in Western Australia in 2014.

The victim, a machine operator was working underground at the mine on 15 February 2014 when he was caught underneath an 18-tonne rockfall. He was found dead by his co-workers.

The tunnel where the victim was working was meant to have ground control in place to prevent rockfall, but the one installed was not sufficient to prevent the rockfall.

The company pleaded guilty in failing to install adequate ground control in the tunnel where the man was working. It also admitted to failing to maintain an adequate geotechnical program at the mine, which would have reduced the likelihood of the rockfall.

“Ensuring adequate ground control to protect workers is absolutely critical to the safe operation of an underground mine,” said Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety Mines Safety Director Andrew Chaplyn.

He said the dangers of rockfall are well known in underground mining and that protection should be in place to protect workers.

“It is a tragic reminder of why mining companies need to ensure the safety and health of workers is the highest priority.”

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