18/09/2009 - 14:42

CITIC, unions meet over Sino concerns

18/09/2009 - 14:42

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CITIC Pacific says it is meeting with unions over claims that workers at its $5.2 billion Sino iron ore project near Karratha have been exposed to unsafe levels of asbestos.

CITIC Pacific says it is meeting with unions over claims that workers at its $5.2 billion Sino iron ore project near Karratha have been exposed to unsafe levels of asbestos.

The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union today said it had obtained information that asbestos ridden dirt may have been used as landfill at the mine site and around the camp area.

It added that union officials from all unions on the project site have tried to raise the concerns with CITIC, which was refusing unions access to talk to the workers and investigate the safety issues, AMWU claims.

In an emailed statement to WA Business News, a CITIC spokesperson said the company had denied unions entry as they did not meet right of entry provisions.

The spokesperson added that CITIC was taking the asbestos matter seriously.

"Most WA iron ore mining operations contend with the issue of fibrous materials and the Sino Iron project takes its responsibility in this area very seriously," the CITIC spokesperson said.

"This includes the use of personal protective equipment, static and personal monitoring, use of specialised filters to all site mobile equipment, dust suppression and wet drilling methods.

"Representatives of the Sino Iron project are meeting with unions today to further understand their concerns."

The AMWU has claimed it has contacted Worksafe about the matter, however an inspector will not be available in the north-west of the state for the next month.

"The Minister for Mines needs to get Worksafe to halt work at the mine and order an immediate investigation to ensure the lives of workers are not put at further risk by exposure to deadly asbestos material," AMWA state secretary Steve McCartney said.

 

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