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Community covers financial burden of remote worker deaths

Trevor Davis and Dylan Langridge
Trevor Davis and Dylan Langridge

Good samaritans will foot bills immediately arising from two fly-in fly-out employee fatalities in northwest Queensland.

Barminco workers recently fundraised $37,225 out of their original $20,000 target within 24 hours for Dylan Langridge and Trevor Davis, who died at MMG’s Dugald River underground mine – 65km northwest of Cloncurry.

“To show our love and respect, fellow miners from their crew at Dugald River have banded together for this fundraiser to show their support,” organisers Steven Poznik and Buddy Conway said on the Gofundme website.

“100 per cent of the proceeds will be divided and passed on to Trevor’s family and Dylan’s brother to provide support to their loved ones and children, it will also help with the immediate costs involved.”

Poznik and Conway revealed the tragedy impacted on many mine employees in a “small tight-knit” workplace.

“Losing a friend is never easy [and] losing two at the same time is unthinkable … there are simply no words to describe how much harder that hits,” they said.

Langridge, a 33 year-old charge up operator, will be remembered as a “wild man” with a grin that “spoke more than words ever could”.

“You are as tough as they come and yet you had a caring and sweet side that those fortunate enough to be close to you got to enjoy … and a crew mate who will be sorely missed by all,” Poznik and Conway said.

Davis, a 36 year-old charge up operator, was an amusing and humorous character who never took anything “too seriously”.

“Trev, ‘little sexy’, I can still see that full body chuckle, it rolls up past your belly ending in a nod you just cannot seem to shake,” Poznik and Conway said.

“For such a little dude you had such a big presence. You would always put others first and you have left a mark on everyone who had the privilege of working alongside you.”

Langridge and Davis had travelled in a utility vehicle to lay explosive charges 125 metres beneath the surface when the ground collapsed at about 8:55am on 15 February 2023. The vehicle, and a drilling rig following closely behind, plunged 15 metres into a refilled ore stope and were fatally injured.

The rig worker escaped with minor injuries and raised the alarm. Neither of the missing ute occupants responded to radio communication. Since ground stability concerns delayed rescue teams from removing debris they deployed drone technology to help locate the vehicle.

Colleagues eventually extracted Langridge and Davis at about 5pm on February 16. Their bodies will undergo coronial examination before being released to family members.

Operations remained suspended at the time of publication. Mine site police investigations have ended and Resources Safety and Health Queensland (RSHQ) will next investigate the scene then eventually reopen the mine when safe to do so.

Since July 2020 MMG received three safety directives to suspend operations at the same mine.

“None of these directives related to structural problems or safety around stopes,” an RSHQ spokesperson said according to News Limited.

“The mine will be able to recommence operations as soon as RSHQ has been satisfied that risk from operations can be managed to an acceptable level.”

Meanwhile, Barminco’s parent company celebrated winning its “largest ever” $160 million surface contract at Northern Star Resources’ Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines.

Perenti Group promised to still keep supporting families, friends, and colleagues affected by the Dugald River mine tragedy.

“First and foremost, my thoughts are with the families, friends and workmates of Trevor Davis and Dylan Langridge, our colleagues who tragically lost their lives as a result of the incident at the Dugald River underground mine,” managing director and CEO Mark Norwell said in a public statement.

“However, over the weekend Ausdrill executed a material contract and – in line with our disclosure obligations – we are providing the market with an update.”

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