A mine worker was killed this morning following an apparent mudslide at the Mount Lyell copper mine near Queenstown, on Tasmania’s west coast.
The 53 year old loader operator did not respond when found by rescuers after being caught in a ‘mud rush’ in the mine’s lower levels.
It is the third fatality at the mine in less than six weeks, with the Queenstown community still reeling following the deaths of Craig Gleeson, 45 and Alistair Lucas, 25, on December 9 after they fell 35 metres from a maintenance platform in the mine’s main shaft.
It is also the 6th fatality in mining in Australia in the past two months.
In a statement, General Manager Scot Clyde expressed extreme regret about the latest incident.
“Our deepest sympathies are with the family of the worker, his immediate work mates and also our other site employees who will be saddened by this tragic accident,” Mr Clyde said.
AWU Acting National Secretary Scott McDine said,“On behalf of AWU members across Tasmania and the rest of the country, I want to express our deepest condolences to the family, friends and co-workers of this local man as they come to terms with this deeply distressing news,” Mr McDine said.
“His death is a huge tragedy and will be a major blow to a town already experiencing a deep sadness.”
AWU Tasmanian Branch Secretary Ian Wakefield said the union would be travelling to the mine today to offer extra support, with the latest death hitting many workers particularly hard as it came so soon after the tragic deaths of two other colleagues from the mine.
“Queenstown is a close-knit mining community that was already struggling to come to terms with a tragic double-fatality at the Mount Lyell mine last month, so to lose another colleague so soon after has understandably been absolutely devastating,” Mr Wakefield said.
“The community has lost a well-regarded member, our mining community has lost a respected colleague, and a local family has been devastated by having a loved one torn away from them without warning.
“Words cannot express just how difficult it will be for them to deal with this tragic death.”