QMEB ยป Six FIFO deaths end mining giant’s fatality free streak
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Six FIFO deaths end mining giant’s fatality free streak

Diavik mine
Diavik mine

An accident involving multiple remote workers has set back a major mineral company.

Rio Tinto recently confirmed its five year fatality free streak is over, following a fly-in fly-out plane crash that killed six individuals near Fort Smith (1602km north of Calgary).

Four Rio workers and two Northwestern Air crew members perished, and a seventh colleague was hospitalised with injuries, after the light aircraft made an unplanned descent enroute to the Diavik mine on 23 January 2024.

QMEB understands the pilots lost contact not long after the flight departed. Rangers later discovered the wreck near Slave River and only one injured person survived the impact.

“We have been deeply affected by the loss of four Diavik colleagues and two airline crew members in a plane crash in January. This tragedy has strengthened our resolve to never be complacent about safety,” chief executive Jakob Stausholm said in the company’s latest quarterly production results.

“We are feeling numb with the devastating news that we have lost dear friends and colleagues. As a company we are absolutely devastated by this news and offering our full support to our people, and the community who are grieving,” he earlier added.

The remarks came just weeks after Stausholm celebrated his employer’s fifth consecutive year without fatalities across every managed operation. Only two permanent disabling injuries were reported in 2023.

“We maintain a state of chronic unease as safety incidents continued to occur at our sites,” he said at the time.

The proponent is widely speculated to incorporate police, coroner and Transport Safety Board findings into its so-called safe production system.

Meanwhile, Stausholm revealed Rio is pushing ahead with the $26 billion Simandou mine, 526km southeast of Conakry.

“We remained focused on growth in energy-transition materials, with the ramp-up at Oyu Tolgoi underground, the first full quarter of recycled aluminium production from Matalco and further progress at Simandou, our high grade iron ore project in Guinea,” he said.

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