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Kurt Hourigan dies after gold mine collapses in Ballarat

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Kurt Hourigan dies after gold mine collapses in Ballarat



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A miner who died in an underground collapse at a Ballarat mine where a union says its members raised safety concerns has been identified.

Kurt Hourigan, 37, was pinned underground after a collapse at the Ballarat gold mine on Wednesday night.

His body was recovered from the mine around 6am on Thursday.

Sir. Hourigan’s death has sparked an outpouring of grief shared by loved ones, friends and colleagues.

Kurt Hourigan dies after gold mine collapses in Ballarat

‘I still can’t believe you’re gone. I’ve always looked up to you,’ his brother Reece wrote on Thursday.

‘Thank you for all the good and bad memories we have shared together. I love you so much brother.’

Australian Workers Union Victoria state secretary Ronnie Hayden said it was devastating that another worker had lost his life after some workers had previously raised concerns about the mine.

“It seems to have fallen on deaf ears,” he said.

The two workers were doing a manual type of mining called air legging, which involved drilling into a rock to create a tunnel, Mr Hayden said.

“They were working on unsupported ground, trapped both miners and killed one,” he said.

Sir. Hayden said air clothing was not appropriate for the setting.

“This type of air laying should not be used to do this type of work,” he said.

‘This was a quick, cheap and easy way to hunt for gold.’

Premier Jacinta Allan described the collapse as a terrible accident.

“If advice comes where the laws can be strengthened, we stand ready to do that work and support workers across all industries who deserve the right to come home from work every single day safely to their families and loved ones,” said she to journalists. .

Federal Resources Minister Madeleine King also said it was too early to have a solid idea of ​​what caused the incident.

Mining operations have ceased as police work with the workplace inspectorate to investigate the incident and prepare a report for the coroner, Acting Inspector Lisa MacDougall said.

The mine’s owner Victory Minerals said its emergency response team was working closely with Victoria Police and was focused on supporting affected workers.

“Our absolute priority is to support the welfare of our team members and their families and loved ones as we all come to terms with this tragic news,” it said in a statement.

The company assumed operational control of the Ballarat gold mine in December 2023.

Minerals Council of Australia chief executive Tania Constable said safety was the most important issue for the industry.

“This tragic event is a reminder of the need to always prioritize safety above all else,” she said.

The mine’s website states that it has an extensive network of tunnels and operates deep beneath buildings, streets and homes.

Ballarat Mayor Des Hudson said the miner’s death was devastating news.

“We are a very resilient community,” he said.

‘There will be great community concern and support from the local community for those involved.’

In 2007, 27 miners were trapped underground at the mine for several hours before being pulled to safety.

The suburb of Mount Clear was also the focus of the search for mother-of-three Samantha Murphy, who police allege was murdered by 22-year-old Patrick Orren Stephenson.

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