Two mining employees are missing after an incident at an underground zinc mine near Cloncurry, in far northwestern Queensland.
The two contractors are unaccounted for after reportedly falling down a stope, a hole used to excavate ore, at the Dugald River zinc mine operated by MMG Limited on Wednesday morning.
The Dugald River mine is one of the world’s top 10 zinc operations and employees 500 people.
The two men are employed by Barminco, an underground mining services company.
“MMG Ltd advises that two Barminco employees working at MMG’s Dugald River mine in Queensland were this morning involved in an incident and are currently unaccounted for,” the company said in a statement.
“The site’s emergency response team has been activated and is working closely with Barminco and authorities.
“Operations at Dugald River have been halted while the search is underway.”
Barminco is one of the world’s largest hard rock underground mining services companies, with operations in Australia, Africa and North America, its website says.
Local state MP Robbie Katter said there was no further information yet, but the local community was in shock.
“This kind of event is obviously the worst nightmare of any mining group and I know there is a lot of anxiety across the community right now,” he said in a Facebook post.
“We know emergency services are on the ground and we are praying for a good outcome.
“My major concern is the wellbeing of these two employees and the task at hand to get them back safely to their families.”
The mine is 70km northwest of Cloncurry. Staff and contractors are a mix of fly-in, fly-out and local residents.
The Dugald River operation predominantly produces zinc concentrate, with by-products including lead and silver, according to the MMG Ltd website.
It started operations in 2017.
Story Credit: news.com.au