10 June 2009
This afternoon a seismic event occurred at Nickel West’s Leinster Operation's Perseverance Underground Mine resulting in a rock fall in one of the underground areas.
All employees and contractors are safe and accounted for. One employee remains underground in a purpose built safety refuge station. The safety refuge chamber is located approximately 100 metres from where the fall occurred.
The employee is safe and has access to provisions of water, clean air, bathroom facilities and a phone to the mine at the surface.
The eight man safety refuge chamber is similar in design to underground crib rooms (similar to underground staff rooms) and the employee can stand and move around easily and has lighting.
Emergency response personnel have been activated and remain in regular contact with the employee as they work to ensure his safe return to the surface. Work is underway to clear and secure the underground access to the safety refuge chamber. This could take some time to ensure the safety of the employee and the mine rescue team.
As a result of the incident, operations at the Perseverance underground mine have been suspended.
Our immediate concern is for the health and safety of the affected employee and that his family has peace of mind and confidence in the mine rescue process. We are working to ensure his return to the surface as quickly as possible with his safety as the primary priority.