Canadian miner Barrick Gold has been ordered to pay nearly $1.4 million compensation to the son and de facto partner of an employee who died at the Kanowna Belle mine in August 2009.
Daniel Owen Williams was survived by his partner, Carlie Marie Wiggins, and their two-year-old son after falling 25m to his death while working underground.
Williams, who had recently begun training as a bogger operator at the time of his death, was described by colleagues as a "real go-getter who always went that extra step" and "loved getting his hands into the work".
A long civil claim by Ms Wiggins came to a conclusion in the Perth District Court last week when Judge Mark Herron awarded her damages of $969,531 and a fur- ther $417,780 to the couple's son.
Barrick had already been fined $140,000 in December 2011 for failing to maintain a safe working environment at the time of Williams' death.
The mining giant had admitted liability for Williams' death and Ms Wiggins' right to recover damages.
The only question left for Judge Herron was the extent of her compensation.
Barrick tendered as evidence a letter sent to Williams in January 2009, informing him of a decision to contract out lateral development work at Kanowna Belle.
The letter advised Williams he had been assigned to an alternative position as a truck driver due to the operational changes, with the effective date being March 13, 2009.
Barrick's counsel submitted the letter was evidence of "some risk" attached to Williams' position and it proved there was some uncertainty surrounding employment in the gold mining indus- try.
However, Judge Herron rejected these submissions and noted Barrick had "clearly not acted on the advice in the letter", instead choosing to keep Williams on as a leading hand.
For the purposes of calculating the total amount awarded to Williams' family, Judge Herron found the deceased man would have gone on to become a bogger operator and received the according salary.
An extensive analysis on the loss of income, loss of dependency, loss of superannuation and future dependency was undertaken to determine the total amount to be awarded to Ms Wiggins and her son.Judge Herron rejected a further claim of nearly $6000 in legal costs from Ms Wiggins.