Asbestos contamination at mine sites in Pilbara

The Department of Mines and Petroleum is conducting an investigation over asbestos contamination at Pilbara mine sites.

A mining company confirmed that brown asbestos was found last month at its West Angelas mine site.

ABC News reported today that the fibres were identified in material which was brought in from a quarry in Newman as landfill.

A spokesperson from the mining company said asbestos exposure level was below occupational exposure limit. Employees were immediately informed of the contamination. The quarry has voluntarily halted its operations.

According to CFMEU, tests for asbestos contamination were also conducted at the Jimblebar mine site near Meekatharra. The mining union’s safety officer, Steve McCann said he spent three days investigating the site after receiving information of asbestos contamination from concerned workers.

He said he was concerned that workers at the Jimblebar mine site may be exposed as investigations continue.

“The mine itself has been made aware; their position on the subject until they receive confirmation from further testing, they were going to continue to use this,” said Mr McCann.

“Even the risk of contamination or exposure to the workers on that site, they should at least stop production until such time as they have confirmation that the material they’re using is safe.”

A meeting was called by The Department of Mines and Petroleum together with the union, the quarry, WorkSafe WA, and concerned mining companies to talk on the potential health consequences of the contamination.

An initial report on the contamination at West Angelas will be submitted on Thursday.


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