Tragedy strikes at Ballarat Gold Mine

Yesterday afternoon (13 March 2024), gold explorer Victory Minerals’ Ballarat Gold Mine in Victoria, collapsed, resulting in one death and 2 injuries out of the 30 miners. 

Mining.com.au reached out to WorkSafe Victoria for comment and the state’s regulator and insurer for workplace health and safety emailed a statement from earlier Wednesday afternoon, stating that “WorkSafe is investigating” the matter.

WorkSafe says: “WorkSafe has been notified of an incident at the underground mine in Mount Clear, near Ballarat, and inspectors and a technical specialist are responding.”

Due to an alleged rockfall at Ballarat, a 37-year-old male miner was reportedly pinned underground at the site and died. 

WorkSafe reported in a media statement this afternoon (14 March 2024) that this is the 10th confirmed workplace fatality for 2024, while there were 14 work-related deaths recorded at the same time last year.

Two other men were injured, including a 21-year-old male, who was airlifted by rescue teams around 8.30pm last night to a hospital in Melbourne. The young man has life-threatening injuries to his lower body. 

Australian Workers Union Victorian branch Secretary Ronnie Hayden says that the workers were performing air legging, which is an underground manual style of mining. 

Air legging had not been performed at the Ballarat mine for several years and a lot of mining operations do not perform this technique due to it being unsafe. 

Hayden says: “They’ve actually just introduced this early this year. We’re raised issues several times in the past about workers working under unsupported ground.” 

Minerals Council of Australia Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Tania Constable published a media statement this morning (14 March 2024) extending her sympathies to the family, friends, and workmates of the miner, alongside the Ballarat community who are deeply affected. 

Constable says: “Safety is the most important issue for our industry. This tragic event is a reminder of the need to always prioritise safety above all else. 

The minerals industry will continue to work hard to eliminate fatalities, injuries, and occupational illnesses.”

Victoria Minerals wholly owns and operates the Ballarat Gold Mine which sits 116km west of Melbourne and is a gold producer with 4 goldfields in Central Victoria. 

Write to Aaliyah Rogan at Mining.com.au   

Images: Victory Minerals
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Written By Aaliyah Rogan
Relocated from the East Coast in New Zealand to Queensland Australia, Aaliyah is a fervent journalist who has a passion for storytelling. When Aaliyah isn’t writing stories, she is either spending time with friends and family or down at the beach.