Mine contractor Barminco had a lucrative contract worth tens of millions of dollars with Agnew Gold Mine hanging in the balance when it sacked workers for performing the Harlem Shake dance.
The workers were sacked on February 27 after a short internal investigation and The West Australian understands the contract was due for renewal the next day.
Barminco declined to respond yesterday to speculation that the dismissals were part of a bid to shore up its chances of renewing the contract.
One sacked worker said the 15 men believed the contract issue played a role in the decision to fire them from their six-figure-salary jobs.
The worker, who would not be named, said Barminco repeatedly told anxious staff in recent months that the company would find out the fate of the contract on February 28.
A spokesman for Agnew Gold Mine revealed yesterday that it did re-sign its contract with Barminco last week.
He said the dance routine was not a factor in its decision.
The spokesman would not reveal the date the contract was re-signed, but said Agnew did so before it was informed of the dismissals.
Safety has previously been an issue at the underground mine, with three men treated in hospital for injuries in January last year when a sheet of construction metal fell on them.
Since 2010, the Department of Mines and Petroleum has issued Agnew Gold Mine, near Leinster, with five improvement notices and one prohibition notice.
Improvement notices are issued when improvements can be made, despite measures being in place to ensure there is no immediate danger.
A prohibition notice is issued when there is evidence of imminent danger and leads to a shutdown of operations or equipment.
It is uncertain whether the prohibition notice related to the incident involving the metal sheet.
A department spokeswoman said it was not investigating the Harlem Shake dance because it appeared to be a technical breach of an internal policy or procedure.
However, the department was seeking information so it could consider whether it should launch an investigation.The story has spread around the world, with more than 300 websites following it.
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