A worker has been confirmed dead after a wall collapse at a mine in the Northern Territory, with industry officials warning risks remain at the site.
The 59-year-old was buried under rock and soil while working at the Bootu Creek manganese mine, about 110 kilometres north of Tennant Creek, on Saturday afternoon.
The operators, Singapore-based OM Holdings, confirmed his death on Monday but said the man’s identity would not be released until approval had been obtained from his family.
“To all his family, friends and work colleagues, OM Ltd extends its sincerest condolences,” the company said.
A full investigation is underway into the incident, with the Minerals Council of Australia saying there is an ongoing risk of further slippage in the area of the collapse.
“This incident will not be resolved quickly,” council chief executive Tania Constable said.
“Much planning is needed to ensure that no one else is placed in danger by the delicate and intricate operations required on site.”
OM Holdings said all operations at the mine were halted on Saturday but told the stock exchange on Monday that some had since re-started.
It said all employees were being offered counselling and it was cooperating fully with police workplace safety authorities.
Primary Industry and Resources Minister Paul Kirby described the accident as an “absolute tragedy” and said his thoughts were with all the workers at the site and the families involved.
“Territorians have the right to go to work and return safely to their families,” he said.
Ms Constable said the safety and health of its workforce was the top priority of Australia’s minerals industry.
“Any loss of life in Australian mining is unacceptable,” she said.
“This incident sends a clear message that the minerals industry needs to work harder on leadership, systems, people, culture and behaviour to become free of fatalities, injuries and industrial diseases.”
OM Holdings exported the mine’s first shipment of ore in 2006.
Around 140 workers lost their jobs in December 2015 when the mine was mothballed and placed into the hands of administrators.
It returned to full production in 2018.