Newcrest coy on Hidden Valley shutdown

Miner refuses to confirm or deny rumours but says operations ‘returning to normal’ after death closes road…

Hidden Valley

Rosalyn Albaniel | Post Courier

AUSTRALIAN Miner Newcrest has confirmed operations at Hidden Valley in Morobe Province, are returning to normal.

This was from the PNG country manager Peter Aitsi, who was responding to reports that had surfaced of a shutdown on site.

While this report was neither confirmed nor denied Mr Aitsi did however confirm that as of December 10 the company had begun using the long haul road, which had been closed.

“I can confirm that as of December 10, we were able to start using the long haul road for Hidden Valley – so essentially the mine is returning to normal operations,” he had stated.

Mr Aitsi had explained that the stoppage in the use of the road had come about as a result of a fatal accident which had occurred along this access road.

“A sub-contrator tow truck involved in recovering a broken down prime mover had lost control and crashed,” he said.

Reports are that the worker had died. He said the Hidden Valley Joint Venture and Mineral Resources Authority inspectors had conducted an investigation in November into the accident and the road access had been closed off to heavy vehicles. This was under the directive of the MRA inspectorate branch.

“We have worked closely with the various sections of MRA to resolve the identified safety improvements and as of December 10, heavy vehicles were once again able to use the road,” Mr Aitsi said.

Meanwhile, Newcrest chief executive officer Sandeep Biswas said in the sustainability report released recently, had reiterated the company’s vision to be the “miner of choice” in leading the way in safe, responsible, efficient and profitable mining.

Mr Biswas had reported fatalities both at its Hidden Valley and Cardia operations adding that this had been a source of profound sadness to the mining firm.

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