A sustainable mineral producer conceded it could have done more to avoid a major workplace incident.
Sandfire Resources recently pleaded guilty for failing to shield workers from hazards at the DeGrussa underground mine.
An explosives operator was widely expected to die after rocks above fell, pinned and trapped him in an elevated basket attached to a mobile charging unit back in May 2020.
“Co-workers thought the explosives operator had been killed as they could not hear him respond to their calls. The men worked for nearly 20 minutes to free him,” the Western Australian Department of Energy, Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety said in a public statement.
“During the rescue the workers were unsure of the integrity of the ground above them, and feared they might be killed by a further rock fall.”
The victim was “lucky to survive” with only scratches, lacerations and broken ribs.
“Underground workers had raised concerns about the integrity of the ground with Sandfire Resources in the days prior to the rock fall,” WorkSafe chief inspector of mines Christina Folley said in a public statement.
“While the company implemented remedial measures they were inadequate as their actions were based on inaccurate information and did not take into account significant geological features in the area.”
Perth Magistrates Court fined the proponent $551,250 and ordered it to pay $4670 in costs on 15 November 2023.
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