One presumed dead, two injured in accident at B.C. gold mine – by Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – February 2, 2021)

One person is presumed dead and another two were injured after an accident at a gold mine in interior British Columbia.

New Gold Inc. said in a release that a mud rush occurred at its New Afton underground gold mine west of Kamloops early Tuesday morning and that a contract driller had likely died. Two other individuals suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

The Vancouver-based miner has suspended production at the site while an investigation into the accident is being conducted by the RCMP, B.C.’s Ministry of Mines and the company’s internal team.

Mud rushes are caused by a sudden and uncontrolled deluge of water and debris breaking through cracks in an underground mine. They are more common outside of Canada because they tend to occur in “block cave” mines, which are a rarity in this country.

Unlike a typical underground mining operation in Canada, which usually involves mining relatively small amounts of rock from targeted stopes, block caving entails moving much larger amounts of rock over wide areas.

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