Man killed in western Tasmania copper mine
A worker has been killed at a copper mine in western Tasmania, the third fatality at the site in less than a month.
Michael George Welsh, of Queenstown, was found dead after a sudden inflow of mud in the lower levels of the Mt Lyell mine on Friday morning.
The 53-year-old was married with children and grandchildren, police say.
Mining contractor Barminco Limited has suspended operations at the mine while his death is being investigated by police and Worksafe Tasmania.
It’s the third death at the site in a month.
Craig Nigel Gleeson, 45, and Alistair Michael Lucas, 25, died after falling 35 metres from a maintenance platform in December.
The Australian Workers’ Union (AWU) says Mr Welsh’s death is deeply distressing for miners and the Queenstown community, which is still struggling after last month’s double fatality.
“His death is a huge tragedy and will be a major blow to a town already experiencing a deep sadness,” AWU Acting National Secretary Scott McDine said in a statement.
AWU Tasmanian branch secretary Ian Wakefield said union representatives were travelling to the mine to offer extra support to workers in the wake of the latest death.
“The community has lost a well-regarded member, our mining community has lost a respected colleague, and a local family has been devastated by having a loved one torn away from them without warning,” he said.
“Words cannot express just how difficult it will be for them to deal with this tragic death.”