By Rachel Seeley
A miner trapped 300m underground at Newcrest Mining’s Gosowong gold mine in Indonesia has been freed, eight nights after a “geotechnical event” caused damage to the site.
Pak Mursalim Sahman was rescued via a 38m bore hole drilled from an existing tunnel above where he was trapped. He was taken to the Gosowong medical centre and would be reunited with his wife and children.
Newcrest managing director and chief executive Sandeep Biswas said the company was tremendously relived by the outcome.
“I offer my heartfelt thanks to the onsite rescue teams who have worked tirelessly 24 hours a day since the geotechnical event on 8 February 2016 that blocked the development drive behind where Pak Mursalim was drilling blast holes,” Mr Biswas said.
“Pak Mursalim showed great courage in the face of extreme adversity. He stayed positive and contributed invaluable information about his immediate environment that assisted with the rescue effort.”
Two small ‘life support’ drill holes allowed rescuers to supply Mr Sahman with water and food, as well as providing a communication link credited with keeping him in “good spirits” throughout the incident.
“The rescue effort was a truly collaborative undertaking supported by numerous internal and external stakeholders including specialist advisors, other mining companies with experience in similar situations, transport operators, the Indonesian and Australian Governments and many others,” Mr Biswas said.
“I thank them all for pulling together to bring Pak Mursalim to safety.”
All mining and processing operations at the site remained suspended, with Newcrest undertaking a “full and thorough internal investigation” into the cause of the incident.