Union renews calls for better mine safety
Tue, 17 Jul 2012 2:32p.m.
A union representing miners has renewed its call for better safety measures after a fire trapped 28 miners under the ground at a Waihi gold mine.
The miners sought refuge in three safety chambers at Newmont Waihi Gold's Trio mine after a truck engine caught fire about 5am this morning and sounded an alarm.
Thirteen miners from two of the chambers were rescued first and brought to the surface by the company's mines rescue team by mid-morning, with the remaining 15 miners rescued before lunch.
The Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union (EPMU) says the incident is just the latest in a series since the Pike River Coal mine disaster in November 2010, when 29 miners died in a series of blasts.
EPMU assistant national secretary Ged O'Connell says New Zealand needs to urgently strengthen its mine safety regime with regulations based on Queensland's model, which is considered international best practice.
"We understand the Government is waiting on the Pike River Royal Commission report, but it's increasingly clear that unless our mine safety standards are brought up to international standards New Zealand's miners will continue to be put at risk."
Energy and Resources Minister Phil Heatley told media that after the mine had stabilised, the Department of Labour review would review the incident.
He said the mines inspectorate recently visited the Waihi mine and had no particular concerns about its operations.
All operations at the mine have stopped until an investigation is done.
A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment said two inspectors from the High Hazards Unit, set up following the Pike River mine disaster, were on their way to the mine.
Newmont's website says the mine has its own 18-strong mine rescue team.
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19/07/2012 4:24:04 p.m.
Ged will only be happy if miners lost thier lives and he can wave the bloody Shirt type of thing.Saftey measures were in place, they worked. What more can be asked for? No doubt they will review the accident, but they would also review a drill exercise as well.So far the union has made one recommnedation - a union appointee, with no requirements on the appointees skill or qualification, and no speficiaction of what they would be doing. Thats pathetic! If have an issue, address, it, but none of this make work shit to cost businesses just because the union feels like it.We have hundreds die each year in the home from falls. Shall we all move out our homes since they are such death traps? We need to put everything in perspective, and Ged only cares about headlines, and the union dues that they can squeeze out of workers. Unions dont care about workers given unions in NZ have done their best to make union members unemployed through excessive industrial action instead of working together with business.
17/07/2012 6:11:36 p.m.
It seems to me that the emergency systems all worked and everybody got out OK. This is hardly a disaster or a shambles. Something went wrong and it got dealt with.
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