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OceanaGold lobbies while on notice for serious law breaches

August 1, 2013

OceanaGold lobbies against safety laws while on notice for serious breaches

Claims from OceanaGold that stronger mine safety laws should not apply to them have been exposed after news today that MBIE has had to shut down part of the company’s operations due to safety concerns.

MBIE placed the prohibition notice on tipping operations at OceanaGold’s Reefton mine yesterday morning after it found the company’s safety failures meant waste tipping trucks were at serious risk of falling down a 50 metre vertical cliff.

The inspectors found the barrier to stop trucks going over the cliff was too low, there were no communication protocols between spotters and drivers over where to stop the truck, and the tipping area sloped downwards, creating a risk that trucks could roll off the edge.

EPMU director of organising Alan Clarence says the prohibition notice shows OceanaGold’s hypocrisy in opposing stronger regulations and greater health and safety powers for workers.

“OceanaGold’s general manager Bernie O’Leary sat in select committee today and told MPs his company was squeaky clean, all the time knowing perfectly well that MBIE had shut down part of his operations due to serious safety breaches.

“This latest prohibition notice shows gold mining is a high hazard industry with serious risk of workplace death and injury. That this news should emerge on the same day OceanaGold pleaded special treatment to the select committee speaks volumes.”

Mr Clarence says it is no surprise the mining industry is attempting to frustrate stronger regulations and greater powers for workers.

“It took 29 deaths at Pike River for the coal mining industry to stop its lobbying against mine safety improvements. We shouldn’t have to wait for another tragedy before the gold mining industry does the same.”

The EPMU will make its oral submission to the select committee on Thursday next week.

ENDS

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