Mine Accidents / Disasters / Potential Disasters in Australia

Despite all that we have learnt, men and women are still killed and injured in our mines today. In 2013/2014 16 mine workers died at work in our mines. A summary of the fatal accidents is below.

The Bulli Mine Disaster of 23 March 1887 involved a gas explosion in the mine that killed 81 men and boys, leaving 50 women widows and 150 children without fathers.

The Mount Kembla Mine Disaster of 31 July 1902 was an explosion resulting in the death of 96 miners, including two engaged in rescue work. It remains the worst mining disaster in Australian history.

An explosion at the Mount Mulligan mine on 19 September 1921 killed 75 workers. Only 11 bodies could be recovered.

Three mining disasters occurred at Moura in a 20-year period. The first of these was in 1975, at the Kianga Mine, where 13 men died in an underground explosion. The mine was sealed without their bodies being retrieved. In 1986 a second disaster occurred, as an underground explosion, which took the lives of 12 miners. The bodies of all those persons were retrieved. In Moura on 7 August 1994 a third major mining accident occurred with an explosion at Moura No. 2 Mine. A second explosion at the mine approximately a day and a half later saw rescue attempts abandoned, and the mine was sealed, with the bodies of the 11 miners unretrieved.

Four miners were killed at an Incident at the Northparkes mine outside the New South Wales town of Parkes in 1999.

Tasmania's Beaconsfield Mine collapse occurred on 25 April 2006. Of the 17 people who were in the mine at the time, 14 escaped immediately following the collapse, one was killed and the remaining two were found alive after five days. The survivors were trapped in a 1.5m x 1.2m cherry picker cage, which had saved them from being crushed by rocks. As it was not safe for rescuers to blast their way through, a special borer was brought in to drill an escape shaft. They were finally released on 9 May after 14 days underground.