Robin Chapple calls for a Public Enquiry into BHP’s Perseverance Mine

Robin Chapple calls on Norman Moore, Minister for Mines to instigate a full-scale public enquiry into BHP Billiton’s Perseverance Underground Mine after yet another major mine safety incident yesterday.

On late Sunday morning a seismic event at the Perseverance Underground Mine resulted in a rock fall. All 79 employees were safely evacuated, despite a power outage disrupting the evacuation process.

The Nickel West Leinster Perseverance Underground Mine has been plagued with safety issues over the past four years, and while several attempts have been made by the Government to address the issues the safety record of BHP remains questionable.

When another rock fall occurred yesterday, Robin Chapple, Greens WA spokesperson for the Mining and Pastoral Electorate expressed his disgust at BHP’s alarming mine safety record.

“BHP were only lucky this time that no-one was killed in this alarming incident”, said a livid Chapple.

“One person has already died in this mine in April 2010 and two previous rock falls have occurred. This is on top of BHP’s already dubious safety record. I can detail a number of deaths occurring on BHP’s watch over the past six years. If this government is willing to let yet another incident like this be swept under the carpet it will not be long before another tragedy occurs and next time it could be of greater magnitude. No deaths should be tolerated in this industry. None.”

The WA government had considered closing the mine in 2009 over safety concerns relating to the previous two rock falls. This was prior to the death of 45 year old Wayne Ross in 2010.

“It is patently obvious that BHP Billiton prioritises profits over people, or this unsafe mine would have been closed after the first rock fall occurred, not still operating after the third. Western Australia has one of the most stable economies in the world, and yet we are seemingly unable to regulate our mining industry to prevent deaths. When will mine safety become a priority of this government, or does it value profits over people too?”

For more information please contact Robin Chapple on 0409 379 263 or 9486 8255

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