By Alison Bevege
SYDNEY (Reuters) – Emergency services are searching for a man buried alive when a wall collapsed in a manganese mine in Australia’s Northern Territory, police said on Sunday.
A wall at the open-cut Bootu Creek manganese mine failed on Saturday afternoon, engulfing the 59-year-old worker in a large volume of soil and rock, police said in a statement.
Northern Territory Police Superintendent Christopher Board told reporters in Darwin it was unlikely the man survived.
Excavations to find the man were delayed due to safety concerns about the stability of the site.
Workers at the Bootu Creek operation said they were unable to comment when contacted by Reuters via telephone on Sunday.
The mine, just north of the remote town of Tennant Creek in the centre of Australia’s Northern Territory, is owned by Singapore-based OM Holdings <OMH.AX>.
The integrated manganese producer mines, trades and smelts ores in Australia, China, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, and South Africa, it says on its website.
The Bootu Creek mine was placed in administration in January 2016 before resuming operations in early 2017.
The mine produced 814,040 tonnes of manganese ore in 2018, helping the company to double its yearly net profit to A$184.7 million ($124.75 million) in 2018, according to OM Holdings’ annual report published in April.
(Reporting by Alison Bevege; Editing by Paul Tait)