Mine operator fined $487,500 over 2019 Bootu Creek fatality

October 23, 2023

The Darwin local court has convicted and fined OM (Manganese) Ltd $487,500 (after discount for an early guilty plea) over the 2019 workplace death of a 59-year-old Mine Superintendent at Bootu Creek Mine.

In August 2019, the Mine Superintendent entered the open cut pit to conduct an assessment after four workers reported seeing sediment slipping from the wall earlier that day. Tragically, a section of the wall gave way, burying the worker as he was inspecting the wall.

The mine operator pleaded guilty to consolidated charges under Section 32 of the Work Health and Safety (National Uniform Legislation) Act 2011 for failing to ensure the health and safety of its workers under Section 19(1)(a) of the Act.

The Northern Territory’s Work Health and Safety Regulator, Ms Peggy Cheong said this tragic incident could have been avoided if the mine operator had implemented all the recommendations made by a number of specialist consultants they engaged for the safe operation of the mine: “Mining is a high risk industry and it is imperative that any recommendations made for the safe operation of the mine are not set aside for operational efficiencies.”

“In the days leading up to the tragic event, OM (Manganese) Ltd was aware of instability in sections of the pit. Had they implemented previous recommendations, the pit should have been closed and no workers allowed to enter until additional monitoring had determined the extent of the movement of the wall that collapsed.

“I call on current and prospective mine operators in the Territory to learn from this tragic incident and ensure that all recommendations made by consultants they engage for the safe operation of the mine are implemented. Do not put operational efficacies before the safety of your workers.”

OM (Manganese) Ltd was also required to pay a victim’s levy of $1,000 and pay NT WorkSafe costs of $193,000.

The initial Section 31 and Section 33 charges were withdrawn, as where the charges initially laid against mine’s Chief Operating Officer, Mr Trevor Cook.

This is valid as of 23rd October 2023.

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