Nikki Preston is a Herald reporter based in Hamilton.

Waihi mine still closed after fatal accident

Tipiwai Stainton, right, and partner Ana-Lee Hemopo. Photo / via Facebook
Tipiwai Stainton, right, and partner Ana-Lee Hemopo. Photo / via Facebook

The Waihi mine where a worker was killed will remain closed until Wednesday as staff prepare to attend his tangi tomorrow.

Tipiwai Stainton, 29, died on Thursday night when the large front-end loader, also known as a bogger, he was operating fell down a hole he was backfilling with rock in OceanaGold's Correnso mine.

OceanaGold spokesman Kit Wilson confirmed the mine would not re-open until Wednesday morning following a blessing.

Staff have been told to meet at the Waihi Memorial Hall at 7.30am on Wednesday before returning to work.

"You can't get on site. The only thing we've got running is essential services like water treatment. The mill is not turning, we are not producing, staff are not here."

Wilson said the reason for the closure was to both show a mark of respect and allow for Police and WorkSafe New Zealand to complete the extensive investigations.

The first blessings were given on Friday morning to the mine vehicle which removed Stainton's body from the mine and to the entrance of the site so investigations could begin.

Staff including members of the mine rescue team which Stainton was a part of travelled about two hours to the Maraenui Marae near Te Kaha to assist with tangi preparations. It is understood his body was taken to the marae yesterday.

Wilson did not know exact numbers, but said a large number of the company's 300 workers were expected to attend the tangi to farewell their workmate tomorrow.

Stainton was an experienced miner who had worked at the company for eight years and had recently been made a leader of one of the mine rescue teams.

- NZ Herald

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