Mine death leads to 38 charges and $37.1m in possible penalties


Monday, 06 September, 2021

Mine death leads to 38 charges and $37.1m in possible penalties

Mine operator OM (Manganese) Ltd and its Chief Operating Officer, Trevor Cook, are facing a total of 38 charges over the 2019 workplace death of a 59-year-old mine superintendent at Bootu Creek Mine. OM (Manganese) is facing 24 charges; of those, seven charges relate to reckless conduct under section 31 of the Work Health and Safety (National Uniform Legislation) Act 2011 (the Act) for failing to ensure the health and safety of its workers under section 19(1)(a) of the Act. The mine operator is also facing 16 charges under section 32 of the Act for failing to ensure the health and safety of its workers under section 19(1)(a) of the Act; and one charge under section 33 of the Act.

Trevor Cook is facing a total of 14 charges, including seven charges of reckless conduct under section 31 of the Act for failing his duties as a worker to take reasonable care that his acts or omissions did not adversely affect the health and safety of others persons under section 28(b) of the Act, and seven charges under section 32 of the Act for failing to take reasonable care that his acts or omissions did not adversely affect the health and safety of other persons under section 28(b) of the Act.

The charges relate to an August 2019 incident at Bootu Creek Mine. On the day of the incident, the mine superintendent entered the open cut pit, known as Tourag Pit, after four workers who had entered the pit reported seeing sediment slipping from the wall earlier. Throughout the course of the day, nine workers entered the pit to carry out their duties. A section of the wall gave way, burying the mine superintendent as he was inspecting the wall. At the time of the incident, two workers were nearby in the pit and escaped without injury.

If found guilty of all charges, OM (Manganese) faces a combined maximum penalty of $35,000,000. Cook faces a combined maximum penalty of $2,100,000 or five years in prison or both. The matter will be addressed in the Darwin Local Court on 12 October 2021.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/Michael Evans

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