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Metal producer cops fine for dead worker

Nifty Copper

A metal exploration company will have to pay a fine worth tens of thousands of dollars after one of its staff died in Western Australia’s Pilbara region.

The Perth Magistrates Court recently fined Nifty Copper $60,000 over the death of an underground mine worker at the company’s Nifty Copper Mine in the Western Australian Pilbara.

A rock weighing a tonne struck load haul dump operator Adam Hardaker while he was bogging-out a freshly blasted stope back in May 2015. The 46-year-old was killed within seconds.

Bogging involves spraying blasted rocks with water to remove loosen rocks for removal, leaving the worker exposed if there is a rock fall. Coworkers only realised Hardaker was missing at the end of the shift when he failed to return to the surface, and only then did they find his body.

The Western Australian Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP) investigated the incident, promptng Nifty to confess that it failed to maintain a safe workplace. DMP did not exercise its option to appeal the fine handed to the company, which is owned by Aditya Birla Minerals.

DMP mines safety inspector and state mining engineer Andrew Chaplyn criticised the avoidable death, saying Nifty had “easily implementable safety measures” that should have been adopted.

The safety measures included using one of Nifty’s remote control boggers, building a safety bund and enforcing strict exclusion zones around the area until a safety bund was in place.

Nifty has responded to this by installing safety bunds.

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