A worker has been killed at an underground gold mine 345 kilometres east of Kalbarri after being struck by a mining vehicle. Westgold Resources said the woman was struck by the mobile plant vehicle at the company’s Big Bell underground mine on Tuesday and died while being transported to a Perth hospital by Royal Flying Doctor Service.
Westgold executive chairman Peter Cook said the news was devastating and had shaken the company to its core.
“Our hearts go out to the family of our employee as well as her colleagues,” he said.
“The safety and wellbeing of our people is a priority to us, which is why we will ensure that a thorough investigation is conducted into this tragic incident.
“In the meantime, we will be extending all the support required to her family and to her colleagues at this difficult time.”
DMIRS mines safety director Andrew Chaplyn said mines safety inspectors were on their way to Big Bell.
The ASX-listed junior WA gold miner will remain in a trading halt for 48 hours while the investigation is carried out. Operations at Big Bell were also suspended pending the investigation.
Mining and processing activities are continuing at Westgold’s other Cue operations and its Meekathara and Fortnum operations.
The incident takes the total death toll at WA mine sites this year to three after Perth father Michael Johnson was killed in July when his bogger fell down a stope at Saracen’s Dervish mine, near Kalgoorlie, while 64-year-old Howard Prosser was killed in a telehandler accident in January at the Roy Hill iron ore mine in the Pilbara.
The Big Bell mine was abandoned in 2003 and lay dormant and flooded until three years ago, when Westgold began preparing for mining operations to restart.
Mining recommenced at Big Bell in March this year.
Source: WA Today