2 men killed in mine accident in Nevada near Utah line | NevadaAppeal.com

2 men killed in mine accident in Nevada near Utah line

Associated Press

ELY – Two men were killed in an accident Sunday at an open-pit copper mine near Ely about 300 miles east of Reno.

The victims were performing maintenance on the shovel of a large excavator at the Robinson Mine when the shovel’s lid fell and crushed them, company officials said. No further details were released.

“It’s a real tragedy for everybody, not only for the families but for the community and responders,” said Martin Sorenson, chief of the Ruth Volunteer Fire Department. “This is a close-knit community and something like this takes the heart out of everybody.”

The victims, whose names were not released, worked for Boise, Idaho-based Washington Group International, which was contracted to work the mine along U.S. 50 about seven miles west of Ely.

The mine is owned by Robinson Nevada Mining Co., a subsidiary of Quadra Mining Ltd. based in Vancouver, British Columbia. The company bought the mine earlier this year.

The 7:05 a.m. accident is under investigation by the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration.

“(The companies) extend sincerest condolences to the families and will support and work closely with them as the investigation continues,” Quadra and Washington Group said in a joint statement. “Further details will be released as information becomes available.”

Washington Group spokesman Rod Hunt said his company is among the nation’s leaders in workplace safety, with about 26,000 employees around the world.

“Our safety record is excellent but that doesn’t matter now,” Hunt said. “What matters now is we want to see how this happened and how we can prevent it from happening again.”

Earlier this year, Washington Group was awarded a five-year contract to mine about 67 million tons of ore and waste annually at the Robinson Mine. The contract runs through mid-2009 and has an estimated value of $228 million.