Nifty Copper Pty Ltd fined $60,000 after worker killed at Pilbara copper mine

Nifty Copper was fined $60,000 in the Perth Magistrates Court on 7 November.
Date: Thursday, 24 November 2016

Nifty Copper (a subsidiary of Aditya Birla Minerals Ltd, formerly known as Birla Nifty) was fined $60,000 in the Perth Magistrates Court on 7 November in relation to an incident that killed an underground worker last year at the company's Nifty Copper Mine in the Pilbara.

Adam Hardaker, who was a load haul dump (bogger) operator at the mine, was struck and killed by a 1000kg rock on 11 May 2015.

The 46-year-old was working underground to clear ore that had been blasted in the stope as a part of mining operations, a process also known as "bogging out".

Mr Hardaker had been using a hose to spray water onto the blasted rocks in order to remove blockages and encourage the flow of rocks for easier removal from the draw point.

This required him to be outside of his vehicle and placed him in an extremely vulnerable position in the event of a rock fall in the stope.

After failing to return to the surface at the end of his shift, Mr Hardaker was found deceased by his co-workers.

Following an investigation by the Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP) the company admitted that its failure to implement a safe system of work, which exposed workers to rock fall hazards in the mine, ultimately led to Mr Hardaker's death.

DMP Mines Safety Director and State Mining Engineer Andrew Chaplyn said Mr Hardaker's death should not have happened.

"The company had a number of easily implementable safety measures which should have been used in the area where Mr Hardaker was working," Mr Chaplyn said.

"This included using one of the company's remote control boggers in the area, the construction of a safety bund and enforcing strict exclusion zones around the area until a safety bund was in place."

"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."

Following Mr Hardaker's death the company updated its procedures to include strict exclusion zones until safety bunds were in place.

The company entered an early guilty plea which was taken into account by the court.

Following careful consideration, the department decided not to appeal the fine given to Nifty Copper Pty Ltd.