Haul truck driver killed at Cortez Mine

CRESCENT VALLEY – An Elko miner was killed Monday at Barrick Gold Corp.’s Cortez Hills Mine in Lander County.

Douglas P. Hicks, 42, was driving a haul truck at the time of the accident and died as a result of a collision with another haul truck in the open pit, according to the company.

“An operator of a Caterpillar 795 haul truck lost control, sliding backwards and striking the cab of a parked Caterpillar 795 haul truck on the driver’s side,” according to a Mine Safety and Health Administration preliminary report.

The haul trucks at Cortez are some of the biggest on the planet. The haul truck drivers operate 350-ton Caterpillars and 400-ton Liebherrs.

The collision occurred at 2:30 p.m., according to MSHA. No other injuries were reported.

“State and federal authorities are at the site and are conducting a full investigation into the cause of the accident,” Barrick stated.

“It’s pretty rare to have a death from a collision,” said Barrick spokesman Lou Schack.

Hicks was hired by Barrick in 2012 as an equipment operator at the Goldstrike Mine and transferred to Cortez in 2013. He leaves behind a 13-year-old daughter.

“Our hearts are with the Hicks family at this sad time. We deeply regret the tragic loss they are feeling. The entire Barrick family shares their grief and we offer them our full support,” said Barrick President Kelvin Dushnisky. “We will devote all available resources to determining the causes of this incident so that we can work to prevent such a tragedy from occurring again.”

The mine is located 24 miles south of Beowawe in Lander and Eureka counties. Cortez Hills has about 1,250 employees on the surface and underground, not including the ranches and exploration. The property also has more than 350 contractors.

This is the fourth fatality at a Nevada mine this year.

Brian Lee Holmes, 53, was killed Jan. 11 while riding on a work platform on top of a skip in the Newmont Mining Corp.’s Leeville Mine’s No. 1 Vent Shaft. Holmes was working for Cementation USA Inc. at the time.

An Allied Nevada Gold Corp. employee, David D. Martinez, 61, was killed May 28 at the company’s Hycroft Mine when a water truck ran into the “porta-john” he was occupying.

Jason Potter, 26, of Lava Hot Springs, Idaho, was killed Aug. 3 at the SSX Mine in Elko County when he was struck by mobile equipment. He was working for Small Mine Development in the underground mine owned by Jerritt Canyon Gold LLC.



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