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Miners rescued from Ballarat mine collapse -

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Miners rescued from Ballarat mine collapse

AM - Monday, 19 November , 2007 08:00:00

Reporter: Jane Cowan

TONY EASTLEY: After being trapped almost a kilometre underground, the first of 27 miners have been
brought to the surface at a mine in Ballarat.

They were trapped when part of the mine collapsed early this morning.

AM reporter Jane Cowan is at the mine site and she joins us now.

Jane, good morning. It's been a frantic morning at the mine site, some of the men have been brought
to the surface, how have they managed to do that?

JANE COWAN: Hi Tony. As we speak, actually, a group of fairly grubby but relieved-looking miners
have just been driven out of the mine in a four-wheel drive after being brought up.

They've been bringing them up with a crane and that's suspended a sort of a cylindrical container
from the crane and you can even see the men being brought up in it, standing up and waving to
people who are standing outside the fence of the mine, as they're brought up.

And that was lowered down into the mine about 6.45 this morning and the men are being brought up
about five at a time. The first came out about 7.20 and they hoped to have them all out within
about two hours.

They were actually okay to be brought out because of the safety chambers that they managed to get
themselves to when the part of the wall did collapse. That's a reinforced area underground where
there's water, food and about 30 hours of oxygen on top.

TONY EASTLEY: Jane, when did this drama begin and do we know what caused it?

JANE COWAN: It began just before 4am this morning when a rock collapsed in one the shafts happened.
The operators knew fairly quickly that all the miners were accounted for and that there were no
injuries because one miner on the upper levels of the mine was actually able to make contact on a
mobile phone.

As for the cause, we don't know, there will have to be an investigation.

TONY EASTLEY: What do we know about this gold mine at Ballarat?

JANE COWAN: It's run by a company called Ballarat Goldfields Lihir Gold Limited, and the Mayor of
Ballarat has described the company this morning as good corporate citizens with an impeccable
safety record.

The mine itself is in Mount Clear, which is a suburb in east Ballarat and it actually goes under
houses. It's a vertical mine and the miners actually would have driven down to work last night,
they were on the overnight shift, so they actually drive down in a car on a slow incline, on a road
that's about 1.5 km, and the end up about 700m under the ground.

TONY EASTLEY: So there's some good news from Ballarat this morning. Jane Cowan, our reporter there.