Mining has been suspended indefinitely at the Mount Lyell copper mine on Tasmania’s west coast while authorities investigate this week’s double fatality.
Craig Gleeson, 45 and Alistair Lucas, 25, died after falling 35 metres from a maintenance platform in the mine’s main shaft.
Copper Mines of Tasmania has spoken for the first time about the deaths of it workers, expressing its deepest sympathies to the men’s families.
He says both men were long-standing employees and had young families.
“First and foremost, our thoughts and heartfelt sympathies really go to the families,” he said.
“This is truly devastating for them.
“As you can imagine it’s extremely tough…I think devastated doesn’t begin to describe it.
“Both the men were members of a fairly tight-knit maintenance team up on site and obviously well known and involved in the local town and community.”
Mr Clyde says the company is doing what it can to support the families and staff who have been traumatised by the incident.
“This has been is a shocking event for the people on site…they are obviously greatly saddened.”
He says the company is working with the authorities to determine the cause and he would not comment on how the men fell, or whether safety harnesses were an issue.
“I really can’t comment on that, we do use those. I really can’t comment on the circumstances of that,” he told reporters at Queenstown.
“We are trying to establish some of the detail of what led up to this tragic incident, that is likely to take some time yet.
“It is literally in its initial stages.”
Mr Clyde says the men were on level 18 when they fell about 30 metres down to the bottom of the shaft.
“It’s a very long distance to fall,” he said.
It is unknown when mining will resume.