Trio Underground Truck Fire Out

Posted by Gold FM on 19/07/2012

newmont mines rescue truck

The fire that halted underground operations inside the Trio gold mine is out.

Newmont boss Glen Grindlay said that they had "been underground, managed to get close to the truck and take some photos". They were able to see that the two front tyres had burst "which is a good thing" Mr Grindlay said.

Department of Labour Inspectors were taken into the Trio mine yesterday and visited two of the refuge chambers miners retreated to when the emergency alert was given.

Glen Grindlay said "the mine will be closed for a matter of days rather than weeks".

When interviewed at the 'crib area' of the Trio mine complex of buildings Newmont worker Steve Sant, who was working on a bogger at time of the fire said he made his way to a refuge chamber which was located away from the flow of the air. He didn't see or smell any smoke and "hitched a ride with a couple of boys who were going past in a vehicle to the chamber about 800 metres away".

The mood in the chamber was very good with lots of laughing and joking Steve said. "There was no fear of not making it out". Someone even managed a nap.

When they were in the chamber and all their names were being checked off that's when he realised it was a bit more than a safety drill exercise.

When asked was he scared he answered, "not at all". He never worried about being trapped as he knew "it would only be a matter of time before they were given the all clear".

A knock on the door of the chamber at around 9 am was their ride in a vehicle back to the surface.

Mr Sant said "the rescue went like clockwork and this incident makes you realise the drills you are doing are worth it".

Mines rescue member Dave Oliver was sleeping when he got a wake up call to head to Trio at around 5 am. He said they train in various disciplines from fire fighting to chemical response alerts. Access to the area of the fire was relatively straight forward. The ventilation fans were still running which was to the mine rescue teams advantage.

Because the fire is out and the front tyres have exploded Glen Grindlay said Newmont was able to get photos of the cab of the truck and once they're confident that the four rear tyres are safe they'll bring a forensic expert in from Auckland to try to find the cause of the fire.

Martha mine is being worked again and it's expected that Trio will reopen on Friday or Saturday.