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13m Sinkhole Forms At WA Minesite, Swallows Mining Vehicles

Details have emerged of how mining vehicles were swallowed up after a sinkhole developed at a WA minesite.

A report published by the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety, revealed the incident occurred in October last year.

Drill and blasting had been going on in the vicinity where “a working pit floor subsided into a backfilled stope, forming a 13-metre deep sinkhole,” the report said.

An explosives truck and an integrated tool carrier vehicle, which were parked on the blast pattern were swallowed up.

A number of blast holes, which were charged, were also lost.

No one was in the vehicles (which can be seen at the bottom of the sinkhole) at the time, but four people were working close by.

Investigation findings

A risk assessment in December 2017 declared the ground a hazard and that it should be treated as a ‘void’, however management didn’t follow void protocol as it was assumed the stope was tightly filled.

It was then later decided to move to normal operational practices, despite the ground’s “unknown stability”.

You can read the incident report here

WAtoday reported the minesite was understood to be near Geraldton.

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