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One presumed dead, 2 rescued following overnight mud rush at mine near Kamloops

A satellite view of the New Afton Mine, which is located along the 4000 block of the Trans-Canada Highway, just west of Kamloops. Zoom Earth

A worker at a mine near Kamloops is presumed dead following a mud rush early Tuesday.

According to Kamloops RCMP and the Ministry of Energy, the mud rush happened around 1:40 a.m., with three workers being trapped.

Two of the workers, both Afton Mine employees, were rescued. The third, a contractor driller, is believed to be dead.

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The New Afton Mine is located along the 4000 block of the Trans-Canada Highway, just west of Kamloops.

A mud rush is described as a sudden inflow of waterlogged material into shallow mine workings.

“I was saddened to hear of the tragic incident at the New Afton mine early this morning,” energy minister Bruce Ralston said in a press release.

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“A contractor was one of three workers at the mine who became trapped by an unexpected underground mudslide. While the other two were rescued and transported to hospital, the third individual is presumed dead.”

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Ralston said “the New Afton Mine and those who work there are familiar to me, being one of the first sites I visited at the start of my tenure as minister.

“I send my sincerest condolences to the individual’s family, friends and colleagues during this difficult time.”

The ministry says work at the mine site has been suspended and the chief inspector of mines has initiated an investigation and is in contact with RCMP and the coroner’s office.

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The mine is a gold-copper mine and is operated by New Gold.

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In a press release, New Gold called the incident a mud rush, adding that the two people who were rescued were New Gold employees.

Sarah Morris with BC Emergency Health Services confirmed seven paramedic crews were called just after 2 a.m., and transferred two patients for further care.

She says both workers were released from hospital.

New Afton is an open pit and underground mine that employs about 500 people and has been producing an average of 85,000 ounces of gold and 75 million pounds of copper annually since it opened in 2012.

– With files from the Canadian Press

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