Westgold employees return to work following Big Bell accident

Westgold Resources is providing all employees at the Big Bell gold mine in Western Australia, including its Minterra contract workers, with counselling following an accident last week.

Following an initial investigation by the Western Australian Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS), the company has started a gradual return to work plan.

Westgold temporarily suspended its operations following an accident where a mobile plant struck a Minterra worker on site.

The injured employee passed away while the Royal Flying Doctor Service was transporting her to Perth for treatment.

Westgold is engaged with the employee’s family to ensure they are supported at this time.

“In recognition of the distress caused by the incident on our tight-knit workforce at Big Bell, Westgold and Minterra have elected to gradually return to regular operational activities,” Westgold stated.

“This will allow time for all of our employees and contractors at site to receive counselling and feel comfortable returning to work.

“As such, it is expected that operations will progressively return to normal over the coming weeks.

“The company expresses its deepest sympathy to (the victim’s) family, friends and colleagues.”

Westgold is continuing to work with DMIRS on the investigation and stated that the resolution might take some time.

Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) chief executive Tania Constable also expressed her sympathies to the employee’s friends, family members and colleagues.

“The MCA is deeply saddened by the death of a worker at Westgold’s Big Bell mine in Western Australia,” Constable said.

“The Australian mining industry’s core value and commitment is the safety, health and psychological wellbeing of its workforce, where everyone who goes to work returns home safe and healthy.

“The MCA will continue to assist the commitment of its members and that of the broader industry to an industry free of fatalities, injuries and occupational illnesses.

“Our thoughts are with the families, friends and colleagues of the worker.”

Westgold was placed into a trading halt on Tuesday December 15 while the mine, alongside DMIRs and other officials, began an in-depth investigation into the accident.

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