Newmont Mining Corp : Newmont Staff Rescued From Waihi Mine After Fire; Operations Suspended
07/16/2012| 10:21pm US/Eastern
-- All 28 Newmont Mining staff have been rescued
-- Newmont has halted all operations at Waihi mine
-- Newmont expects Martha Mine to begin operations Wednesday
(Adds comments from a company spokesman throughout, and details about Newmont in the 7th-8th paragraphs.)
By Lucy Craymer
WELLINGTON--All the staff trapped underground after a truck fire broke out at Newmont Mining Corp.'s (NEM) Waihi gold mine in New Zealand's central North Island have been rescued, and operations there will likely remain suspended until at least Wednesday, company spokesman Kit Wilson said Tuesday.
The company earlier said 28 staff had taken shelter in refuge chambers inside the Trio underground mine, within the Waihi concern, after a truck fire was reported around 5 a.m. local time (1700 GMT).
Mr. Wilson said rescuers brought the last of the staff members back to the surface a little before midday local time, with just one of the workers apparently suffering from smoke inhalation, though not badly enough to merit a trip to the hospital.
The fire has been extinguished and all operations in the area have been halted.
"Whenever we have an incident we check our safety procedures and our equipment," said Mr. Wilson, adding the company may have to check some of its other vehicles to make sure they are safe.
He added he expects operations at the open cast Martha Mine at the Waihi facility to restart Wednesday, but underground operations won't begin again for at least a few more days.
Newmont produces on average around 100,000 ounces of gold and around 750,000 ounces of silver annually in the Waihi area, where it has an open cast mine, an underground mine and the Trio mine under development.
The Denver, Colo.-headquartered company produced 5.2 million ounces of gold and 206 million pounds of copper in total last year. Aside from New Zealand, the company has operations in the U.S., Australia and Indonesia, as well as other countries.
The company started developing the Trio gold mine in 2010 and expects to complete development work in 2014, according to the company's website.
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