A REPORT into the death of a 28-year-old mine technician at Cadia Valley Operations on September 6 has revealed a rock fall played a pivotal role in the incident.
The Department of Industry’s Mine Safety Investigation Unit reported the father of two was working alone at an extraction level 1100 metres below the surface with a shotcrete machine, which had been converted into a water cannon.
The Ridgeway mine operates by blasting ore and allowing it to cave naturally through stress and gravity into draw points, where the ore is collected and transported for crushing before being taken to the surface.
However, rock had become lodged in a draw point and the worker intended to free it, however the rock fell quickly and hit the water cannon.
When the machine was pushed back, the worker was trapped against the wall of the extraction level.
The report said rapid movement and inundation of material were well-known hazards.
“Where draw points are either choked or hung up, the potential for a sudden movement of material must be considered and an assessment made to ensure appropriate control measures are in place prior to any work being undertaken,” the report said.
“Control measures should include sufficient bunds to prevent movement of material, safe standing and operating zones for mobile machine operators, and safe means of egress.”
The report also recommended systems should be implemented to ensure people working alone were regularly monitored.
A Newcrest spokeswoman declined to comment on the report because full investigations by CVO, the mine safety unit and the coroner had not been completed.
However, she confirmed mining resumed at the Ridgeway mine during the weekend.
“Newcrest is reviewing its safety processes and initiatives and implementing further steps at all operations to improve its safety performance,” she said.