10 February 2006
BHP Billiton advises that underground operations at Leinster Nickel Operations, Western Australia, have resumed following the fatality that occurred on Friday 3 February.
Preliminary investigations into the fatality have been completed. Mr Mark Quinn, aged 32, an employee of the contractor Macmahon, was a Senior Charge-Up Operator at Leinster. It appears that he was setting up a cannon, which is a mining tool used to fire charges to clear ore passes. During the set up of the cannon there was an explosion. The explosion resulted in Mr Quinn receiving fatal injuries. There were no direct witnesses to the event, but several other people working in adjacent areas heard the explosion. No other persons were injured as a result of the explosion. At the time of the incident, Mr Quinn was working approximately 900 meters underground.
No other details of the incident are known at this stage. Further investigations will now take place into the incident in conjunction with Officers from the Department of Consumer and Employment Protection, Resources Safety Division. The course of these investigations may take some time to complete.
Counseling and other assistance for employees at site and for the family of Mr Quinn will continue to be provided.