'Devastating loss': Gold miner buried alive 700m underground is identified

Brooke Rolfe
News Reporter

A Tasmanian miner presumed killed in an underground collapse has been named as the recovery mission for his body continues.

Cameron John Goss was a 44-year-old local Queenstown man and experienced miner, police said on Saturday.

"His loss is devastating to the family, friends and the local community, together with the wider mining industry across Australia," police said.

Efforts to find Mr Goss at Henty Gold Mine on the state's west coast took a turn for the worse on Friday, with the rescue mission becoming a recovery operation.

It could take weeks before the area is safe enough for his body to be located.

Cameron John Goss is presumed dead following a collapse at Henty Gold Mine. Source: Tasmania Police

Mr Goss had been operating a loader 700 metres underground when workmates lost contact with him about 4am on Thursday.

Three-dimensional imagery taken on Thursday night revealed many rocks had fallen on the loader and completely covered its cabin.

Thermal imaging has been unable to detect any signs of life.

"The amount of debris that has fallen into that scene, we now think it's highly unlikely that our missing miner has survived," Tasmania Police Inspector Shane Lefevre told reporters.

"Our thoughts immediately have gone out to the family and friends."

Rock has continued to fall near the loader, making the area too dangerous for search crews to reach.

Henty Gold Mine where the 44-year-old mine worker was killed. Source: AAP

Counselling services have been offered to staff at the gold mine, north of Queenstown.

The tiny town was shaken seven years ago when three workers died at the Mt Lyell mine in two separate accidents within months of each other.

‘Never came home’

"They're a tough mining town and they've been through incidents in the past ... but everyone goes to work and expects to come home safely," Australian Workers' Union representative Daniel Walton said.

"Unfortunately ... a gold miner went to work and never come home."

Production at the mine has ceased indefinitely.

"The whole team is devastated," said Brendan Rouse, chief executive of mining services contractor PYBAR.

Mr Rouse said there was no indication of a seismic event around when the rock collapsed.

Tasmania Premier Peter Gutwein has passed on his deepest sympathies to all involved.

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