Northern Star underground operations struck by earthquake

The Kanowna Belle underground mine. Image: Northern Star Resources

Northern Star Resources’ operations at the Kanowna Belle underground gold mine in Western Australia have been impacted by an earthquake, the state’s mines department has confirmed.

A ground fall was located and all personnel were evacuated from the underground workings.

There were no employees working in the area at the time of the earthquake.

The Western Australian Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) stated that Northern Star had deployed the site’s seismic response action plan.

All affected areas remain isolated pending a geotechnical inspection, according to a DMIRS spokesperson.

“The mine operator will advise the department of the outcome of its investigation,” he said.

The department has continued working with Kanowna Belle’s site operations team and will send safety inspectors to visit the mine this week.

The earthquake had a magnitude of 3.3, with its epicentre within just about 10 kilometres of Kanowna Belle, according to Geoscience Australia.

The Kanowna Belle mine is around 18 kilometres north east of Kalgoorlie. It was acquired from Barrick Gold in 2014.

Northern Star employs around 1230 people across three mining areas at the Kalgoorlie operations, which include Kanowna Belle, South Kalgoorlie operations and the greater Kundana area.

The Kanowna tenement package surrounding the mine spans across 223 square kilometres of tenure.