08 October 2009
Investigations have begun into the cause of a breakdown of one of the two haulage systems at BHP Billiton's Olympic Dam underground copper/gold and uranium mine in South Australia.
The fully-automated Clark Shaft, which supplies ore from underground to the surface for processing, failed during operations on Tuesday night. There were no injuries.
The company is working with inspectors from SafeWork SA and has also assembled its own investigation team which is expected to begin arriving at Olympic Dam across the weekend.
In the meantime underground mining is continuing with ore being hoisted to the surface via the secondary Whenan Shaft.
Olympic Dam's mine planning team is currently examining what impact the temporary closure of the Clark Shaft will have on mine production, planning schedules and budget.
This work is expected to be completed in the course of the next two weeks and will run in parallel with both the government and company investigations into the incident.