An underground miner died Nov. 11 at the Newmont Mining Corp.’s Pete Bajo mine when a loader rolled over the victim, according to a Nov. 13 preliminary statement from the Mine Safety and Health Administration’s Washington, D.C. office.
The preliminary information states that the miner exited his load-haul-dump loader and failed to set the parking brake.
MSHA issued an order to secure the scene and have started an investigation into the fatality.
“Our primary focus at this time is on supporting the employee’s family, and we are providing them all possible assistance as we grieve his tragic loss of life,” Newmont said in an email Nov. 12.
As of Nov. 20, Newmont had not yet released the name of the miner.
Pete Bajo is one of four underground mines in Newmont’s Carlin operations west of Elko on the Carlin Trend.
Pete Bajo operations have been suspended until further notice. Authorities have been notified, and an investigation has begun. Newmont did not respond to requests for an update on operations as of Nov. 20.
“We are fully committed to understanding the circumstances that led to this tragic event so we can take all necessary steps to prevent this from happening in the future,” Newmont said in a statement.
Newmont is also providing grief counseling and other support to the employees of the Carlin operations.
This is the second underground mining fatality in northeastern Nevada’s gold mines in less than a month. The last fatality occurred at the Lee Smith mine, operated by Small Mine Development, in the Jerritt Canyon complex Oct. 25 in a roof collapse. Lee Smith mine operations continue to be suspended.
Before that, it had been almost a year since anyone perished in Nevada’s mining industry. Two died at SSR Mining Inc’s Marigold Mine near Valmy on Oct. 31, 2017.
Nationwide, the fatality at Newmont is the 16th in the metal/nonmetal industry, according to MSHA.
The Carlin operations, which began production in 1983, also encompass three open pits.
In late September, the Pete Bajo mine experience a water surge through an exploration hole, but operations resumed after a brief pause in production.
In early October, a slide occurred on the southwest wall of Newmont’s Gold Quarry open pit. Mining continues to be on hold at Gold Quarry and the underlying Chukar underground mine, and the company decreased its production guidance for the fourth quarter.
Newmont also operates the Phoenix open pit mine near Battle Mountain, the Twin Creeks mine and Turquoise Ridge Joint Venture northeast of Winnemucca, and Long Canyon open pit mine outside of Wells.
Newmont is a leading gold and copper producer with operations primarily in the United States — including Nevada and Colorado — Australia, Ghana, Peru and Suriname. The company has been publicly traded since 1925.
This article will be updated as more information becomes available.
This is the second underground mining fatality in northeastern Nevada’s gold mines in less than a month.