Gold mine fined
A WA gold miner has been fined $150,000 over death of worker – the mine’s third fatality in a six year period.
Central Norseman Gold Corporation, controlled by mining magnate Kevin Maloney's Tulla Resources Group, has been sentenced in the Kalgoorlie Magistrate's Court over the death of 60-year-old Lindsay Bridges.
Mr Bridges was fatally crushed on July 26, 2016, when a corroded gantry bridge that he was working underneath collapsed on him.
Mr Bridges was working to remove a large pipe known as a rake shaft that hangs from the bridge, but the bridge structure was corroded, leaving it supported entirely by the rake shaft.
The gantry collapsed as Mr Bridges was attempting to remove the pipe, crushing and pinning him against the floor. He died while being transported to hospital.
Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety director Andrew Chaplyn says it could have been prevented.
“Central Norseman Gold Corporation was aware that its processing plant was old and was in generally poor condition,” Mr Chaplyn said.
“If they had implemented, maintained and enforced an appropriate system of work, or a structural integrity review, a thorough condition assessment of the bridge would have been undertaken before Mr Bridges was tasked with removing the rake shaft.
“The condition assessment would have determined that the bridge's bottom truss chords had corroded and fractured, and there was a risk the bridge was in danger of sudden collapse if the rake shaft was removed.
“This tragic consequence of the company's lack of attention to an issue, which should have been identified, highlights the need for vigilance by management in ensuring that safety protocols are strictly observed.”
Mr Bridges’ was the third death at the mine in a six-year span.
It came after 59-year-old Rene Ponce died when he fell 10 metres while working at the company's OK Decline in 2010, which led to a $15,000 fine in 2013 for failing to provide a safe working environment.
Machine operator Wayne Fowlie died at Central Norseman's Harlequin underground mine in 2014, caught underneath an 18-tonne rockfall, which led to Central Norseman being fined $140,000 last year.
Kimberley gold miner Pantoro agreed to acquire 50 per cent of the Central Norseman operations for $111 million in May this year.
Pantoro managing director Paul Cmrlec says mining should restart next year.
“Our focus is to have a second producing mining centre in the shortest sensible time, and I say sensible because it's important that we have a solid mine life in front of us when we commence mining,” Mr Cmrlec told analysts earlier this month.
“We've made the majority of key appointments at Norseman and it's very important to drive the operations forward.”