RENO — Federal mine safety officials have cited an Idaho-based company for inadequate safety controls at a gold mine it operates in northeast Nevada where a worker was killed in an underground collapse in October.
The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration released its final report Monday on the Oct. 25 fatality at Small Mine Development’s Lee Smith Mine near Elko.
“The accident occurred because mine management policies, procedures and controls were inadequate to ensure the establishment and maintenance of safe ground conditions where persons work or travel,” the agency said. “Management engaged in aggravated conduct constituting more than ordinary negligence in that they failed to implement an adequate quality control process.”
Jason Holman, 42, of Goshen, Utah, was loading explosives into drill holes to blast away rocks to access ore when the collapse occurred, burying him in an estimated 67 tons (61 metric tons) of cemented rock fill (CRF) designed to reinforce the underground tunnels about 50 miles (80 kilometers) north of Elko.
Holman had more than eight years of mining experience. Investigators concluded he had been trained properly.