Manganese stockpiles from Bootu Creek at East Arm port Picture: Rodney Laredo i
Manganese stockpiles from Bootu Creek at East Arm port Picture: Rodney Laredo i

‘Sadly, due to the nature of (it) the likelihood of survival is low’

A man is still trapped underground after a wall collapsed at a Territory mine site while Resources Minister Paul Kirby has instructed the operators to cease work more than 26 hours after it happened.

Police said the 59-year-old was trapped at the mine about 130km north of Tennant Creek.

The worker has been engulfed under soil and rock at the Bootu Creek Mine site following the horrific industrial accident on Saturday afternoon.

An aerial shot of Bootu Creek Mine camp back in 2005. Picture: SUPPLIED
An aerial shot of Bootu Creek Mine camp back in 2005. Picture: SUPPLIED

 

NT Police Superintendent Christopher Board said investigators were still looking into how the incident happened.

"Sadly, due to the nature of the collapse the likelihood of survival is low," he said.

"The instability of the site remains very real which has delayed any excavation at this time.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family, the workers, and the emergency services responding."

Sup Board said it was a volatile and unsafe situation.

"We're making all efforts to be able to get in and commence investigations."

In an official statement, NT Police said the incident happened about 2.40pm Saturday. Is said there was a "substantial wall failure" on the Western Limb located at the Bootu Creek Mine site.

Overnight Saturday, extensive efforts were underway to locate the missing employee, with additional crews flown in to assist.

Investigations into the circumstances surrounding the accident have begun.

The mine is owned by Singapore-based OM Holdings.

A NT Worksafe spokesman confirmed OM Holdings informed it about the incident yesterday.

"An investigation team is currently being organised to attend the mine site," he said.

OM Holdings has been contacted for comment.

Earlier in the afternoon Mr Kirby said he's instructed OM Holdings to cease work more than 26 hours after an employee was buried under rock and soil.

Mr Kirby offered his thoughts to all the workers at the site and the families involved.

"Territorians have the right to go to work and return safely to their families," he said.

"I directed that an Instruction be issued by the department to OM (Manganese) Ltd, requiring them to cease in-pit operations immediately. The Instruction has been issued.

NT Worksafe has not reached the mine by 4.30pm on Sunday.



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