Man killed in Australia mine collapse

Man killed in Australia mine collapse
Man killed in Australia mine collapse

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - SYDNEY — A man has been killed and another critically injured following a gold mine collapse in Australia.

The pair were hit by falling rocks 500m (1,640ft) underground at the site in Ballarat, near Melbourne, on Wednesday afternoon local time.

Another 29 miners took refuge in a nearby "safety pod" and the injured man was evacuated almost four hours later.

A trade union has sharply criticized the incident, which will be investigated by a workplace regulator.

A 37-year-old man's body was recovered at the scene — about 3km from the mine's entrance — early on Thursday morning.

His injured colleague, 21, had been stabilised by paramedics and removed from the mine the night before, authorities said.

The man suffered lower body injuries and remained in hospital on Thursday, according to Victoria Police.

The mine's owner, Victory Minerals, said in a statement it was "with great sadness that we confirm one of our own has passed away".

The Australian Workers Union said the miners had been performing a manual style of extraction known as "air legging".

It said the technique — which involves the use of a handheld drill to bore into rock — had been phased out in some mines due to safety concerns.

"This death could have been avoided," branch secretary Ronnie Hayden told the ABC.

"We certainly would be expecting our workplace manslaughter laws to take effect because of this."

Victorian Premier Jacinta Allen said she was "thinking of every worker and every family" affected by the accident, but said it was "too soon to be drawn on any speculation" about its cause.

Victory Minerals declined to comment when contacted by the BBC.

In 2021, a state regulator put the mine's previous operator on notice, after a tunnel collapse involving 600 tonnes of rock.

And in 2007, the mine made headlines when a rockfall left 27 workers trapped about 700m underground. All were later safely rescued. — BBC

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