19 Jul 2012

Burnt truck still too hot to get out of mine

7:42 pm on 19 July 2012

The company that owns the Waihi goldmine where a truck caught fire, causing 28 miners to be evacuated, says the wreckage is still too hot to remove.

Smoke from the vehicle, which caught fire below the surface, was sucked into the mine's ventilation system, forcing the men to take refuge in safety chambers early on Tuesday morning.

Newmont Mining says it does not expect the mine to be back in operation until at least this weekend, or even early next week.

External affairs co-ordinator Kit Wilson says the company's biggest priority right now is making sure its staff are safe in future.

He says getting back to work is the least of the company's concerns, but he estimates the cost of the mine being closed to be in the low millions of dollars.

Investigations into what caused the fire continued on Thursday.

They included thermal imaging of the burnt-out truck, examining its maintenance records and interviewing workers.