Western Areas trains workers for underground accidents

Western Areas has prepared its workforce for potential underground mine accidents through mock emergency audits at the Forrestania nickel operations in Western Australia.

The company ran mock audits at its Flying Fox and Spotted Quoll operations in Forrestania, training workers to handle potential catastrophes such as accidents involving explosive materials.

It has also continued to prepare for the impending bushfire season during the quarter, something the company has prioritised since a bushfire occurred near the Forrestania mine in 2018.

It was later faced with the threats of two additional major bushfires in December 2019 and February 2020, which each burned over 300,000 hectares of bushland surrounding the Forrestania mine.

However, due to company preparations, all workers and infrastructure assets were protected from the blazes.

To continue this proactive approach, Western Areas completed a hazard reduction burn next to Forrestania’s mining village, putting fire breaks in place in case of another bushfire event.

Safety has continued to be a key priority for Western Areas during the 2020 and 2021 financial years, having decreased its lost time injury frequency rate (LTIFR) to 1.35 in the December quarter, down from 2.09 in the September period.

Western Areas managing director Dan Lougher also credited the safe delivery of equipment from South Africa for Western Areas’ Odysseus project in Western Australia, stating that it would further de-risk the installation of the shaft haulage system.

“Great progress has been achieved on the shaft civil works with the winder house construction progressing at full speed,” he said.

Once complete, the shaft haulage system will enable the winding system to be safely moved up and down through the underground mine shaft.

This will allow the Odysseus underground mine to secure Western Areas’ future as a nickel miner in Western Australia, giving it an additional asset to its Forrestania operations.

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