You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Miner fined $40k over tank rupture in WA

AAP logoAAP 30/12/2016

A nickel mining company has been fined $40,000 in a WA court after a tank rupture at a mine caused a sulphuric acid spill that temporarily trapped three people in a control room and cut power to the site two years ago.

The tank ruptured in December 2014, spilling about two million litres of sulphuric acid slurry at First Quantum Minerals' nickel operations in Ravensthorpe, WA.

It destroyed infrastructure, cut the power supply to the entire site, and three employees working in a control room about 50 metres from the tank were trapped, but eventually escaped without injury.

Holes in tank nine, which was part of an atmospheric leach circuit, had remained unrepaired for more than two months, the Department of Mines and Petroleum said.

The company pleaded guilty earlier this year to failing to provide a safe working environment and was fined in Kalgoorlie Magistrates Court on Friday.

The department's mines safety director and state mining engineer Andrew Chaplyn said the company was aware of the need for regular inspections and repairs of the tanks in its atmospheric leach circuit.

"Its failure to carry out an effective maintenance program led to the catastrophic failure of this tank," he said.

"The event had the potential to seriously injure or kill workers in the vicinity of the tank and was entirely preventable."

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon