Mining truck driver killed in freak accident on coal site

A 53-year-old mine worker has been killed after a truck accident at a coal mine in the state's north.

The truck driver was removing mud and grime from his truck on Tuesday before leaving the Rix's Creek Mine, an open cut mining operation located 5kms northwest of Singleton, when the tailgate on the truck swung down, striking him in the head.

The man was stabilised at the scene before the Westpac Rescue chopper arrived to transport him to John Hunter Hospital where he underwent surgery.

Early this morning the Minister for Industry, Resources and Energy Anthony Roberts said he was informed the haulage driver had died as a result of his injuries.

"It is with deep regret that I heard this morning of the passing of a 53-year-old contract haulage driver following an incident at Rix's Creek Mine on Tuesday," Mr Roberts said.

"This is devastating news and my deepest condolences and sympathies are with his family at this terrible time."

According to statistics on the Safe Work Australia website this latest death is the seventh mining related casualty this year.

The Bloomfield Group, which owns and operates the mine, also extended its deepest sympathies and respects to the family.

"Bloomfield has offered support to the man's family, and has also offered support to workers who may be affected by the tragedy."

The Department of Industry launched an investigation into the incident as soon as the accident was reported with a report to be prepared for the coroner.

"Bloomfield is cooperating as investigations progress, with a view to ascertaining the facts of the incident.It would be inappropriate to provide speculative commentary at this time," a Bloomfield spokesman said.

The Hunter Valley-based mine employs more than 500 people and has been in operation since 1937 with the group currently operating two coal mines in the Hunter at Rix's Creek and Bloomfield Mine at Ashtonfield in East Maitland

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