Newmont Waihi NZ gold miners reported safe and well after fire
An early morning truck fire at the Trio underground mine at Newmont Waihi Gold operations sent 28 miners to await rescue in underground chambers.
Posted: Tuesday , 17 Jul 2012
RENO (MINEWEB) -
All 28 miners at Newmont Waihi Gold were reported safe and well Tuesday afternoon following a truck engine fire at the Trio underground mine at 5 a.m. Tuesday morning.
As a result of the fire, some smoke came out of the mine's vent shaft on Union Hill.
All underground personnel went to three refuge chambers, as is procedure, and reported by phone to the surface. Each refuge chamber has capacity for 20 men and is equipped with water, oxygen and toilets.
Two of those chambers, which held a total of 13 staff members, were evacuated to the surface before 10 a.m. by Newmont Waihi Gold Mines Rescue Teams.
The remaining 15 personnel from the third refuge chamber were back at the surface just before midday Tuesday.
Three Newmont Waihi Gold mine rescue teams carried out the evacuations while police and New Zealand Fire Service personnel were called on to assist if required.
Mining operations are on hold until further notice. An investigation of the incident is now underway by Newmont Waihi Gold and also New Zealand's Department of Labor.
"We constantly practice these scenarios, we have the equipment and we have skilled and trained mines rescue teams," said Newmont Waihi Gold General Manager, Glen Grindlay. "Our mine follows both New Zealand and Australian mining regulations and standards."
"Our systems worked well and everyone is safe," he stressed.
However, New Zealand's Labour Party said Tuesday underground miners will continue to be at risk until the government brings safety regulations up to international standards. Labour spokesman for health and safety, Darien Fenton, said the Waihi incident was a stark reminder that underground mining remains dangerous and the government should improve safety regulations.