Miner death details released as more inspectors deployed

A TYRE fitter who was killed in a horrific workplace tragedy at a Blackwater mine was fatally injured while changing a tyre and rim, early findings have revealed.

It comes as the State Government announced a tenth mines inspector would soon be based in the Mackay region.

An early report on Donald Rabbitt's death at Curragh mine last Sunday, sighted by the Daily Mercury, was sent to mine site senior executives by the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy on January 14.

The report stated the 33 year old was changing the tyre and rim on a rear axle expanding low loader at the open cut coal mine.

"The tyre fitter was found trapped underneath a wheel assembly," it read.

"The investigations are ongoing and further information may be published as it becomes available."

The Queensland Mines Inspectorate had not publicly released any early findings on Mr Rabbitt's death in almost a week since the incident.

Donald Rabbitt, 33.
Donald Rabbitt, 33.

All tyre and wheel rim fitting activities have been suspended at Curragh mine at the request of the inspectorate, mine site owner Coronado Global Resources stated in an investor update on Thursday.

The company said unaffected areas of the Curragh complex would gradually resume operations from January 17 at the earliest.

It is conducting its own investigation into the incident and is also assisting third parties with their reviews.

Donald Rabbitt was killed while working at Blackwater's Curragh coal mine.
Donald Rabbitt was killed while working at Blackwater's Curragh coal mine.

In the wake of the tragedy, the State Government yesterday revealed an extra mines inspector would be allocated to the Mackay region.

Mackay MP Julieanne Gilbert said the inspector was just one of four new recruits to boost the ranks of the state's coal and metalliferous mine and quarry inspectors to 46.

"Two out of three of our inspectors are in regional Queensland because that's where most of the mines are," Mrs Gilbert said.

BOOST: An extra mines inspector will be allocated to Mackay
BOOST: An extra mines inspector will be allocated to Mackay

"This gives workers and the industry more efficient access to our inspectors and more inspectors to help keep our mine and quarry works safe."

The new Mackay inspector, who will start work in the region later this month, joins nine other Mackay-based inspectors.

Two new inspectors will also be based in Rockhampton and a new minerals and quarries inspector starts in Mount Isa next month.

Acting Mines Minister Mark Ryan said the four new inspectors would bring a combined 122 years of mining experience.

"These new recruits join a team of mines inspectors that service mines and quarries from Cape York in Far North Queensland to the southeast corner and west to the Northern Territory border," he said.


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