A pit wall collapse at Bootu Creek mine. This is not the Collapse that killed Craig Butler. Picture: Supplied
A pit wall collapse at Bootu Creek mine. This is not the Collapse that killed Craig Butler. Picture: Supplied

'It is the most dangerous mine site I have worked'

A mining insider said Bootu Creek - the mine where a man was buried alive on Saturday - was the "most dangerous mine site" he had ever worked at.

Craig Butler, 59, was engulfed under about 48,000 cubic meters of soil and rock at the mine, about 130km north of Tennant Creek, following the horrific industrial accident which happened about 2.40pm Saturday.

NT WorkSafe did not make it to the scene until Monday.

The whistleblowing worker, who asked not to be named, claimed safety concerns had been raised with management - and ignored - multiple times.

OM Holdings have told the NT News they would not comment about the previous two alleged safety problems. The NT News has put the miner's other allegations to the company and will add any response when it comes.

Craig Butler was killed at the Bootu Creek mine.
Craig Butler was killed at the Bootu Creek mine.

"I have worked in the mining industry a long time and in this day and age it is the most dangerous mine site I have worked at," he said.

"The walls are way too steep and staff have raised issues at safety meetings and have been completely ignored."

"Anything to do with safety was shitcanned."

"Management needs to be accountable for that and I can tell you right now I am not the only one that feels that way."

At a press conference on Tuesday morning, Primary Industry and Resources Minister Paul Kirby said he had heard of at least two separated alleged incidents in the same mine pit Mr Butler was trapped in.

However, he remained tight-lipped about further details.

"We are aware of incidents in the past at this mine site," Mr Kirby said.

"We won't comment on the specifics."

Travis Wurst Assistant Commissioner speaks to the media about the mine tragedy flanked by Resources Minister Paul Kirby. Picture Katrina Bridgeford
Travis Wurst Assistant Commissioner speaks to the media about the mine tragedy flanked by Resources Minister Paul Kirby. Picture Katrina Bridgeford


The mining insider said operations at the mine were only stopped on Monday.

"They canned it for the day when the incident happened," he said.

"Then made everyone go back to work on Sunday

"If that's not disrespect and f**king disgusting, I don't know what is."

"All they're concerned about is getting their ore out of the ground and making money."

The man said it was a dangerous work environment.

"It wouldn't have happened if they listened to management - there's normal walls, they call them batters which are 37 degrees. This wall was nearly 80 degrees," he said.

"You don't need to be an Einstein - just look at what the wet season does every year water and dirt, shit's going to happen."

The CFMEU labelled the NT Resources Minister's response to the Bootu Creek mine tragedy "weak" and said the mine should be shut down while it is investigated.

It could take several days for the Mr Butler's body to be recovered.

Mr Kirby also said he had yet to travel down to the mine site, and as yet had no plans to.

He said communications were better in Darwin and being in the NT capital allowed him to make better decisions.

"Our heartfelt thoughts go out to the family," Mr Kirby added.

"Any accident, any incident at work is something that we will work hard to try and prevent."