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Australian miner’s claim for 1994 disaster compensation dismissed

30 October 2014

A man rostered to work the day of a mine disaster in August 1994, when 11 workers lost their lives in an explosion at the Moura No.2 Mine in Central Queensland, has had his compensation claim for psychological damage dismissed, according to a report in Australian Mining.

Stock image
Stock image

Colin Oram, 41, was rostered on to work the day of the incident but swapped his shift because he had consumed an excessive amount of alcohol the day before. The work mate who took his place died in the accident.

Oram said he became reclusive and started to drink more, and in 2010 was admitted to a clinic for treatment of his dependence on alcohol and diagnosed with a “complex psychiatric condition with elements of depression/anxiety”.

Oram was seeking damages for negligence, breach of contract and/or breach of statutory duty. In his statement of claim, Oram pleads that mine operator BHP failed to provide him with “any or any adequate counselling or psychological support, treatment or intervention” and that caused the psychological injury.

In dismissing the claim, Justice Duncan McMeekin said there was not enough evidence to proceed with a claim of damages more than three years after the actual event. He said granting an extension more than 20 years after the event would be prejudicial and he was not satisfied a fair trial could be held.

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