Investigations Underway At Waihi Gold Mine

Posted by Gold FM on 18/07/2012

glen grindlay sefton darby

The media spotlight is on Waihi again today as staff field request for interviews and talk to the reporters who arrived enmasse yesterday when information about the incident in the Trio underground gold mine surfaced.

Investigations into yesterday's truck engine fire in the Trio mine are underway by Newmont Waihi Gold and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment's High Hazard Unit.

Newmont Waihi Gold Operations Manager Glen Grindlay said today "the investigation is in an early stage and we need to let it run it's course to find out what happened". This is the first time Waihi has experienced an incident in their underground workings like yesterdays fire and Mr Grindlay said "our people, our systems, our equipment and our training all worked as they should have worked".

"The safe extraction of 28 miners following a truck engine fire in the Trio underground gold mine in Waihi yesterday was a testament to Newmont Waihi Gold's mine safety standards and training. Our priority now is to investigate yesterday's incident, and staff underground at the time will be interviewed as part of that process, but this was a textbook rescue. It's a scenario we train for regularly. Everyone knew what to do, and the guys underground knew they were safe and help was on its way".

"As a gold mine, there was no danger of an explosion. But we still had to make sure our response was safe, and by the book."

"The men were in refuge chambers that were a considerable distance away from the fire. The chambers can each accomodate 20 people safely for at least 36 hours. The men had water, lighting and a chemical toilet. They knew they were safe and while obviously keen to get to the surface, they knew help was on the way".

Mr Grindlay said "We fully appreciated the offers of help from the wider New Zealand mining industry"

The underground mine is likely to reopen in a matter of days, when investigations have been completed.

The Martha mine is not affected by the investigations because it is not connected to the Trio underground tunnels and work in the open pit will be back to normal today.

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