QMEB ยป Mining operation hospitalises 13 workers in a month
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Mining operation hospitalises 13 workers in a month

Ablemarle Kemerton Processing Plant
Ablemarle Kemerton Processing Plant

More than a dozen employees needed emergency medical attention at a resources operation.

Authorities have been notified that at least 13 workers were hospitalised during February 2024 at Ablemarle’s Kemerton processing plant.

“Workers have every right to expect that they will return home safe and sound at the end of the day,” Mining and Energy Union WA secretary Mick Buchan said according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

“Not [to be] in hospital with eyes watering, coughing and throwing up the toxic chemicals that they have been exposed to while working on site.”

The employer recently launched an investigation into the chemical exposure incident that affected 13 individuals who were transported to Bunbury Regional Hospital on February 1.

“Albemarle is close to completing its investigation into what may have caused these symptoms,” a spokesperson said according to the broadcaster.

“The company has put in place interim precautionary measures until the investigation is complete as the health and safety of all personnel is our top priority.”

The incident has already been reported to WorkSafe WA, and occurred around the same time Ablemarle decided to retrench about 294 employees across its Greenbushes mine (80km southeast of Bunbury), Wodgina mine (104km south of Port Hedland) and Kemerton plant (23km northwest of Bunbury).

Spending will also be reduced for contracted services. The measures are hoped to save the business about US$50 million (A$75.6M).

“The actions we are taking allow us to advance near term growth and preserve future opportunities as we navigate the dynamics of our key end-markets,” CEO Kent Masters previously said.

The value of lithium ore plunged 80 per cent to US$95,500 (A$144,594) a tonne in the past year.

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