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Employer ramps up safety after multiple Qld fatalities

Dugald River underground mine
Dugald River underground mine

A mining services group will establish a dedicated team to reduce workplace deaths and injuries.

Perenti Group recently started setting up a new safety transformation taskforce to improve work conditions at MMG’s Dugald River underground mine (65km northwest of Cloncurry).

The taskforce will be supported through safety focused working groups within Perenti’s contract mining and mining services divisions. Findings and outcomes are promised to be shared with the broader industry for “positive” safety and critical control improvements.

“Establishment of the safety transformation taskforce is to support our divisions [to] deliver further improvement to our safety performance. The safety of our people is an absolute priority and we are committed to doing everything we can to ensure our people are safe in the workplace,” group managing director and CEO Mark Norwell said in a public statement.

The remarks came after Dylan Langridge and Trevor Davis were fatally injured when their light vehicle plunged 15 metres into a refilled ore stope on 15 February 2023.

The pair had travelled in a utility vehicle to lay explosive charges 125 metres beneath the surface when the ground collapsed at about 8:55am. The vehicle, and a drilling rig following closely behind, fell down the stope.

The rig worker escaped with minor injuries and raised the alarm. Neither of the missing ute occupants responded to radio communication. Since ground stability concerns delayed rescue teams from removing debris they deployed drone technology to help locate the vehicle.

“Our people have focused on providing support to the families of our Barminco employees, Trevor Davis and Dylan Langridge, caring for each other and investigating the incident,” Norwell said.

“I visited Dugald River where I listened to the team as they continue to deal with the loss of their workmates. Whilst the mood was understandably sombre the care and support everyone showed for each other was heartfelt and moving, demonstrating how great our people are.”

Non-executive director Tim Longstaff has been appointed to chair the taskforce. Other members include Noetic Group principal Peter Wilkinson and Griffith University safety science innovation lab director Sidney Dekker.

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