AMSJ » Axe incident sends mine into lockdown

Axe incident sends mine into lockdown

Groote Eylandt Mine
Groote Eylandt Mine

Deadly weapons forced a multinational mineral producer to declare an emergency shutdown.

A group carrying axes recently caused a lockdown at South32’s Groote Eylandt Mining Company (GEMCO) operation.

Up to five individuals allegedly entered the mine site without permission at about 2am on 30 September 2023. Two were armed with hatchets and spent the next four hours vandalising facilities.

“One worker was threatened with an axe while another was struck in the chest with a blunt object, suffering a laceration to their chest. A third worker suffered an injury to their eye when a window was smashed,” Northern Territory Police said in a public statement.

“Shortly after 6am … serious crime, strike force trident and alyangula general duties arrested two males without incident.”

A 17-year-old was charged with theft, unlawful entry, criminal damage, deprivation of liberty plus both aggravated assault and robbery. He was granted bail and due to face court on November 10.

A 20-year-old was charged with theft, unlawful entry, criminal damage, deprivation of liberty, recklessly endangerment and serious harm as well as aggravated assault and robbery. He was remanded to appear on November 15.

“Investigations remain ongoing and police would like to thank the local community for their assistance in this matter,” detective senior sergeant Karl Day said.

The proponent confirmed production resumed on October 1 but another lockdown occurred two days later for safety reasons. Full operation finally resumed on October 4.

“This was a very serious incident and we are treating it as such. We are continuing to provide support to members of our workforce who have been impacted,” a GEMCO spokesperson said according to News Limited.

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