Ballarat mine collapse leaves one man dead

Falling rocks inside an underground gold mine in Ballarat trapped two men, killing one of them and leaving another in a critical condition.
Ballarat mine man dead

One man is dead and another is in a critical condition after a mine collapse in Ballarat.

29 workers took refuge in the mine’s specialised safety pod during the incident before they were evacuated by emergency crews last night.

Authorities are investigating the cause of the collapse.

Mine collapse

The Mount Clear gold mine is located just outside of Ballarat, Victoria, an area famous for its historic gold fields.

Emergency services were called to Mount Clear just before 5pm after reports of a collapse.

Two workers, who were around 500 metres underground and three kilometres deep into the mine, became pinned under fallen rocks.

29 people made it to the mine’s safety pod — a reinforced, insulated chamber with breathable air.

Rescue crews were able to free a 21-year-old man who was airlifted to hospital. He is being treated for “life-threatening” injuries to his lower body.

The Ballarat mine collapse left a 37-year-old man from East Gippsland dead. His body was recovered from the mine this morning.

Union response

Australian Workers Union (AWU) representative Ronnie Hayden alleged the trapped miners were manually drilling under “unsupported ground” before the collapse.

Hayden said they were using a “cheap and easy way to chase gold” with a tool called an “airleg”. He said the Ballarat mine operators should have banned the practice.

Hayden claimed the AWU has previously raised concerns about the potential dangers of “airlegging”, and said the practice should’ve been banned at Mount Clear.

Hayden has also called on the Victorian Government to enforce its industrial manslaughter laws.

These apply when an employer fails to meet its safety obligations to staff, resulting in the death of an employee.

Victoria’s workplace safety regulator is investigating the incident, as police prepare a report on the man’s death.

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