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WA copper miner fined over worker's death

AAP logoAAP 24/11/2016

An Indian copper mining company has been fined $60,000 over the death of a worker at its underground project in WA's Pilbara region last year.

Adam Hardaker, a 46-year-old load haul dump operator at Aditya Birla Minerals' Nifty mine, was struck and killed by a one-tonne rock on May 11 when he was clearing blasted ore, a process known as "bogging out".

Mr Hardaker had been using a hose to spray water onto the blasted rocks to remove blockages and encourage them to flow for easier removal.

Being outside of his vehicle, he was in an extremely vulnerable position when the rock fell.

The company admitted in the Perth Magistrates Court that its failure to implement a safe system of work had exposed employees to rock fall hazards.

The Department of Mines and Petroleum wanted a larger penalty but said after carefully considering whether to appeal over the fine it decided against it.

Andrew Chaplyn, state mining engineer for the department, said the company could easily have implemented safety measures such as using a remote control bogger.

"The company's failure to implement safe systems of work directly led to Mr Hardaker being exposed to serious, known safety risks and resulted in his death," Mr Chaplyn said on Thursday.

After Mr Hardaker's death, chief executive Neel Patnaik said he was deeply saddened by the fatality, and the company updated its procedures to include strict exclusion zones until safety bunds were in place.

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