Rockfall resulting in one fatality and one critical injury


Victory Minerals


Conducted by WorkSafe Victoria and police

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A catastrophic rockfall at the Ballarat Gold Mine in Victoria resulted in the death of miner Kurt Hourigan and critical injuries to another worker, sparking a series of investigations into the mine’s safety practices.

Incident Overview

During a routine operation, a rockfall occurred, trapping two miners deep underground. Despite a massive rescue effort, 37-year-old Kurt Hourigan was pronounced dead, and a 21-year-old colleague was critically injured. The incident prompted immediate evacuation and safety protocols, affecting nearly 30 other workers.

Union Allegations and Mine Operator’s Response

The Australian Workers’ Union voiced concerns about the mining method known as “airlegging,” suggesting it contributed to the accident. The mine operator, Victory Minerals, responded by emphasizing their commitment to safety and disputing claims regarding staff reductions in safety roles.

Mine Background and Safety History

The Ballarat Gold Mine, with its extensive network of tunnels beneath the city, has a history of safety incidents, including a notable collapse in 2007. Recent changes in ownership and previous safety warnings cast a spotlight on the mine’s operational integrity.

Next Steps and Legal Considerations

Investigations by WorkSafe Victoria and police are underway to determine the cause and potential breaches of safety protocols. The union is advocating for industrial manslaughter charges, highlighting the need for accountability in workplace safety.

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