Dust control, Dust management, Hazardous materials, News, Work health and safety

Newmont flags early-stage silicosis cases

Newmont silicosis

Newmont has flagged two cases of early-stage silicosis at its Cadia gold mine with the New South Wales resources regulator.

The major gold miner told the ABC today that the cases had come up years ago during a health surveillance check but have now progressed.

The NSW resources regulator conducted “targeted intervention” at Cadia but found “no outstanding issues were identified during the site inspection”.

A Newmont spokesperson said in a statement the early detection of the workers’ condition will “significantly reduce any harmful impacts from the disease” and that “multiple controls have been implemented” at the site.

Another recent case of silicosis in Western Australia has shed light on the persistent issue of silica dust exposure within the mining industry.

According to WorkSafe, on-site dust problems, largely stemming from the crushing of silica-containing rock by grinders during the gold extraction process, have been a recurring concern since 2020.

Newmont said it is practising “mechanical ventilation dust extraction, suppression (and) containment” in a bid to reduce the risk of future cases.

Silicosis is estimated to currently affect around 100,000 people in Australia. Left untreated there is very real risk of those affected developing incurable lung diseases.

Dust control measures such as constant monitoring, proper ventilation and the use of effective personal protective equipment like dust-specific face masks are essential.

As for the Newmont cases, the NSW regulator will continue to monitor conditions at the site.

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