NT GEMCO mine back to business after horrifying alleged axe siege

NT GEMCO mine back to business after horrifying alleged axe siege
  • PublishedOctober 6, 2023

A teen boy and a young man are in police custody days after the pair allegedly attacked workers at a remote mine site with axes.

In the early hours of September 30, up to five people allegedly accessed the GEMCO manganese ore mine on Groote Eylandt in the Northern Territory.

Workers reportedly barricaded themselves in a rest room when they were confronted with the axe-wielding intruders.

The mine went into lockdown and operations were suspended until Sunday afternoon, GEMCO said in a statement.

Northern Territory Police, speaking after the arrests, said workers were injured in the alleged assault.

“Around 2am, police received reports that up to five offenders unlawfully entered a mine site on Groote Eylandt, some armed with axes,” a police spokesman said.

“The group allegedly caused damage within the facility. One worker was threatened with an axe while another was struck in the chest with a blunt object, suffering a laceration to their chest. A third worker suffered an injury to their eye when a window was smashed.”

About 6am on Wednesday, police arrested two males without incident.

A 17-year-old has been charged with criminal damage, deprivation of liberty, aggravated assault, aggravated robbery, unlawful entry and theft.

He was granted bail and will appear in court again on November 10.

A 20-year-old has been charged with criminal damage, deprivation of liberty, aggravated assault, aggravated robbery, recklessly endanger serious harm, unlawful entry and theft.

He was remanded in custody and will appear in court again on November 15.

It is understood the mine went into lockdown again on Tuesday afternoon after two men, allegedly carrying axes, approached the mine.

A township on Groote Eylandt in the Northern Territory. The island is home to the GEMCO mine, owned by South32 and Anglo American. Picture: Stephanie Flack / AAP

A township on Groote Eylandt in the Northern Territory. The island is home to the GEMCO mine, owned by South32 and Anglo American. Picture: Stephanie Flack / AAP

In a statement from Thursday, GEMCO thanked the police for their efforts.

“The GEMCO mine gradually returned to operation from Sunday afternoon; however, we initiated our lockdown procedure on Tuesday afternoon and operations were suspended Tuesday night to ensure the safety of our people,” the company said.

“Full operations recommenced Wednesday morning.

“This was a very serious incident and we are treating it as such. We are continuing to provide support to members of our workforce who have been impacted.”

ASX-listed South32 owns 60 per cent of GEMCO and global behemoth Anglo American owns the remaining 40 per cent.

The mine is one of the largest manganese ore producers in the world.

SOURCE: NEWS.COM

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