Two miners trapped 160 metres underground for more than eight hours at Tahmoor have been rescued.
Mine operator SIMEC Mining confirmed the Tahmoor Coking Coal employees – who were unable to get out of a mine shaft due to a mechanical breakdown – had been brought back to the surface.
“Thanks to the excellent teamwork of SIMEC Mining employees and the emergency services crews, the employees reached the surface safe and well close to midnight, passing medical checks before being reunited with their families,” the company said in a statement.
The miners, men aged 54 and 37, were not injured.
The employees had been in the mine shaft since just after 3pm on Wednesday, when the lift carrying them stopped more than 150 metres from the surface.
The company said the lift came to a halt after its “protection systems engaged”.
“The lift was immediately isolated both electrically and mechanically and two‐way communications were established between the lift and the surface as rescue plans were put in place,” it said.
The rescue involved using a crane to lower a second lift into the shaft and retrieve the men, one at a time.
An investigation into the incident is under way.
EARLIER: Emergency services are at the Tahmoor coal mine, where two miners are trapped underground.
A spokeswoman for NSW Police said rescuers were called to the site just before 5pm Wednesday.
She said the two men are not injured, and rescue efforts were underway to retrieve them, as at 6.30pm.
The Mercury understands the emergency centres around a broken lift. The cage-style lift operates via a winding mechanism.
We’re getting out kit out there, working with the mine people and doing our risk assessment and making sure everything’s right before we go ahead with the rescue,
Fire and Rescue NSW Superintendant Graham Jarrett said the men were trapped about 160 metres underground.
“They’re OK, there’s plenty of ventilation for them,” he said.
The trapped men have been able to communicate with their rescuers by radio, the Mercury understands.
Four fire rescue crews are on site, including specialist rescue and technical rescue units from Liverpool and Picton.
“We’re getting out kit out there, working with the mine people and doing our risk assessment and making sure everything’s right before we go ahead with the rescue,” Supt Jarrett said.
“At this point, they’re setting up a secondary crane system to assist in the removal of the cart.”
The mine has been evacuated as a precaution, police say.
In a statement just issued, a spokesman for SIMEC Mining said the emergency was the result of a mechanical breakdown.
“SIMEC Mining is working to ensure the safety of two of its employees who have been unable to exit a mine shaft due to a mechanical breakdown.
“The employees are uninjured, and their families have been contacted and are being regularly updated on their status and the progress of the response.
“As always, the safety of our employees is of utmost importance, and we are working in conjunction with external emergency services to develop plans to bring the two employees safely to the surface.
The spokesman said the lift came to a halt at 3pm as it was carrying the men from the bottom of the pit to the surface.
“The lift … came to rest more than 150 metres from the surface when its protection systems engaged,” he said.
“The lift has been isolated both electrically and mechanically and has been stabilised. Two‐way communications are in place between the lift and the surface, and the two mine employees are assisting with the response.
“Investigation of the cause of the incident will follow once the mine employees are safely brought to the surface.”